The Art of Becoming Indispensable
While many Associates join AlphaSights directly after graduating college, I was fortunate enough to have a bit of work experience before joining the team here in New York. In my previous role, I was helping both high-growth and established companies better position themselves to attract and recruit some of the nation’s brightest students. From the research we gathered, I was surprised to learn that the number one factor influencing whether or not interns of first-year employees are satisfied with their jobs is the feeling of being missed when they are gone, or more simply: the feeling of being indispensable.
I grew up playing soccer and was fortunate enough to play for four years at Duke as well. As a college athlete, you quickly learn the difference between playing as a kid and playing in college. Growing up, you are the star and the one your teammates and coaches rely on. You are the main driver of your team’s successes and failures, and you get immense satisfaction from having such a strong influence. However, in college, the sand has been sifted enough times so that only stars remain. I still remember the first practice session as a freshman and how overwhelmed I was with the level of play. No longer was I the guy who would score game-winning goals or make the game-saving tackle; instead, I had to find different ways to impact the team positively and make a difference. If I could go back in time, I would think about this even more consciously, because it does not matter whether you are a college athlete, an Associate at AlphaSights, or the President of the United States. You will never be as motivated, driven, passionate, or satisfied about something if you do not feel like what you are doing matters. And when you are doing something that matters, those around you will count on you and depend on you. And when people count and depend on you, you become indispensable.
When I joined AlphaSights, I experienced a similar uphill climb. There was a steep learning curve from day one, and I found myself surrounded by extremely smart, talented, and driven individuals who made things look easy. The people I have seen who enjoy this role and company the most, and the ones who have been most successful, are the ones who feel as if the company lives and dies by their success. Whether or not that is even true, it’s how they feel and it’s reflected in their actions daily. These individuals are counted on by their teammates and trusted by their superiors to get things done. Unlike many other firms, AlphaSights allows you to earn this feeling. Although we are now a high-growth, mid-size global firm, sitting on one floor and knowing everyone’s names still gives us a small, intimate feeling. You are encouraged to get involved in other aspects of the business and get to know individuals across all functions of the firm. Most importantly, AlphaSights is still growing like crazy and pushing the barriers of success. It’s a place where you have the opportunity to individually push those boundaries and create a new benchmark to strive towards every single day. And in the process, you can become a star, just like you were as a nine-year-old on the soccer field.
No matter where you currently are in life, I challenge you to find a job where your impact becomes necessary to the success of the company. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels.
Alex joined AlphaSights in December of 2014 and served as an Associate on our Private Equity team.