Public Values

Public Service, anyone?

After a crisis, rediscover do-gooding.

Author Stewart Friedmanby Stewart Friedman

October 6, 2008 — In the wake of the financial sector's fundamental restructuring, the labor market for everyone in this field (from new entrants to near retirees) is turning inside out and upside down, causing all kinds of unexpected, stomach-churning jolts to the lives of thousands.

What, you might ask, are business school students thinking? Here's a small sampling, taken from my local work environment (The Wharton School):

"No worries, I'll just go into consulting."

"The world will always need bankers, especially from the top tier schools."

"I might have to change my geographic preferences." (Read: New York is out.)

"I'm so glad to be in school now, so I don't have to deal with this mess!"

How these viewpoints evolve in the days to come remains to be seen. But I suspect we'll see more and more people — at all career stages, driven not only by necessity but also by the recent exhortations of our governmental leaders — choosing to serve the public good.

For many people, a public service career offers an opportunity to align their actions with their core values. Indeed, an alumna who works for a non-profit wrote to me the other day saying that in the past couple of weeks she's gotten emails from friends who are now looking to find greater meaning in their work. . .

Stewart D Friedman is the author of numerous books and articles on work/life integration and the dynamics of change.

Links and sources
  Public Service, Anyone? After a Crisis, Rediscover Do-Gooding, by Stewart Friedman, posted on Harvard Business Publishing October 6, 2008

Posted: October 09, 2008

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