Chill out? Here's the career advice of Goldman Sachs' chief executive Lloyd Blankfein

 
Lynsey Barber
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Lloyd Blankfein was still planning his career in his twenties (Source: Getty)

Handily timed as millions of teenagers open their A-Level results and set out on the next stage of their lives, the Goldman Sachs' chief executive has come out with some sage advice about embarking on the rest of your life - or indeed, for anyone who feels like they are idling away in their career and yet to come up with a plan.

In the wisdom of Lloyd Blankfein, top boss at the investment bank for the last decade: just chill out.

Admittedly, he would find it hard to follow that mantra if he were telling it to his 20-year-old self, he told an audience of interns working at the firm.

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"It's funny looking back - it's the reality and the curse that you don't have the benefit of going forward and looking back, you have to live through it. So, I'll give you advice that's impossible to follow... which is chill out," he said in a video of the careers event.

But I wouldn't have been chilled. If I had to do it over again... there's not a sport or an activity in life where if you have a really hard grip you actually are better, whether it's baseball, or golf or if you're kicking a ball or something like that - the looser you are, the further the thing goes.

I'm speaking metaphorically - if you're tight you're not necessarily better - but that's advice that if I came back and visited my younger self, I wouldn't have been able to follow it.

Blankfein also acknowledged the different pressures on the latest generation of young people. And for anyone who thinks advice from someone who's achieved such success couldn't possibly understand the situation of mere mortals, think again. Blankfein was well into his 20s and still wondering what his life plan was.

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"Did I have everything nailed down about what I wanted to do and was I following some real plan? No," he said.

In fact, by the time I was in my mid-20s, or even late 20s, and I was still at a law firm, I really was starting to get a little nervous that I didn't know what I was going to do. What ever I decided I wanted to do, I wanted to be good at it. In order to be good at it you have to start - and I hadn't started.

Now people feel like that when they're 16, which is think is one of the oppressive features of this generation.

What strikes me about people today is that [they] get a little bit nervous if they're not .. you know, people start marketing themselves versus their friends and the people they read about when they're about 18. And they think that if they haven't dropped out of college and started something by 19 they're over the hill.

He also said he was hardly a front-runner for leading a global company from birth.

"I know people who have been pegged for greatness since they were in kindergarten. All the kids when they were finger painting, looked up to him or her and knew that was a leader," he joked.

"But I wasn't that guy."

There's hope for us all yet, then.

This story was originally published 18 August 2016

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