Look, I get it. I may not have entered the real world just yet, but I pay attention enough to know that not all paychecks are created equal. I know that some people make more money than others do, and that sometimes it’s not based on skill in the profession as much as the profession itself. As long as everyone has an equal-ish opportunity to reach that tax bracket, as long as it’s based on choice, I don’t mind that things work this way. I know that I’m not going to make as much money in education as I would practicing law, but other factors are in play for me, my career was my own decision.
Still, I can’t stop thinking about the stock ticker in the lobby of the School of Management.
I have tremendous respect for good, decent businesspeople. My dad worked for a small business for my entire childhood, and I understood how much work he had to put into everything that he did. Even without formal training, it has become pretty obvious to me that good management has everything to do with people. Without others working for you, without others respecting you and buying into your philosophy, you will have a pretty low ceiling for success. Team morale is crucial.
That’s why I think I have such a low tolerance for excess. There’s a line between spending to make yourself happy and buying things to show others how good you have it. If you can afford it, I will not fault you for buying a Maserati or a yacht. But I’ll lose some respect for someone who buys an expensive car for every day of the week. There’s a point at which you’re just showing off.
There was a piece by Ashley Hansberry in The Quad a couple years ago about how the School of Education building needs some help. I can confirm the writer’s reports about it raining inside, right on most of the building’s technology. Not a lot has changed since then. Ceiling tiles are still falling in the lobby, and several more are threatening to come down.
Next door, there’s a stock ticker on the wall.
I believe that, in general, the School of Management deserves a lot of nice things. Its graduates might be featured on the front pages of major newspapers in a few years. Hey, its graduates might own those newspapers someday. But I keep asking myself something. Why, in a world where smartphones and tablets and laptops are everywhere, does it need a stock ticker in the lobby?
Look, I get it. I know how the world works. Sometimes, though, I can’t buy into such big displays.