Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's a rich man's world

Every year I take an intern over the summer, sometimes two. As part of our client relationship building effort this is always a child or other relative of one of our biggest clients. This gives me a rare insight into what children with huge amounts of money are really like and, on the whole, it has been a lovely experience. E, my first intern, had a very strict allowance from her parents and despite being at Uni in the US didn't have a car because she couldn't afford one. Her parents wanted her to get real work experience and she would do anything we gave her. She even came back for more, and the following year I found her a place at the Boys company. So lovely was she that the Christmas after her internship she came along with lots of my colleagues for a big meal on Christmas Eve at our place.

My other interns have all also been lovely. Humble, willing to do anything, and grateful for the opportunity to work in a real environment. Most will go to work in the family business and so this will be the only entry-level job they ever do and it is a valuable experience (as much as anything else they learn the critical lesson that if you want to get anything done then you are super nice to the secretaries).

My intern this year, J, has been very different. Whenever he has wanted to do anything in life his Daddy's money has paid for it. He learnt to tango in Argentina, he has done taster courses in Philosophy and Psychology at the best schools (he is doing his proper degree at one of the UK's best universities). He is widely read.

However, while he happily throws out concepts and labels, he has little or no idea of what practically they mean because he has never lived in the real world. Anything he has wanted has come to him very easily.

Which resulted, when I took him through his projects for the next 4 weeks in him turning his nose up at one as "not sufficiently stimulating". This was like a red rag to a bull to Yummy Mummy and did not start things off on a good foot. I asked him whether he wanted to do a real job, that contributed to the business or just get a name on his CV. He rather sheepishly said the former.

The sad thing is that he is a nice guy. He is funny, is open to interesting debates, and happy to be challenged. He is very clever and is genuinely interested in new ideas and theories he has not heard of. I am happily pointing out the reality of a working environment, making him do things, challenging his assumptions and generally treating him like I would a new graduate. However, he can't get over the bullshit that comes from everyone in his life pandering to him since he was born.

As one of my colleagues said after a lunch with him, I am glad I am not rich if that is what happens to your children.


LottieP said...

Can I get my teeth into him? Can I?

Mummy said...
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Mummy said...

Please do. If you want to take him for the remainder of his 4 week placement, I will not be shedding any tears.