Advice: Boe Hartman, Engineering Division, New York

23 MAY 2018

Boe Hartman, a managing director in our Engineering Division in New York, is head of Consumer & Commercial Banking Technology. Here he shares five pieces of advice that he would give his younger self:

1. Stay curious. Yes, “curiosity killed the cat,” but satisfaction brought her back. If there is one thing you need to remember AND never forget, it’s that curiosity is a superpower.  Some organizations celebrate curiosity, others want to contain it. Regardless of where you are in your career, never lose it. Getting caught up in the excitement of discovery and attempting something never done before propels us, and the groups we are a part of, forward.  Once you learn how to harness your curiosity, you can lend it to others so they in turn grow and accomplish new things . . . which will be the satisfaction that brings our cat back.

2. Ideas come from everywhere and at any time.  We will see the world, trust me on this one -- our passport will be filled many times over. You will see how others do things, and observing their approach to problems and implementing solutions will leave a mark on you. Use those insights. Also, buy a journal. You are going to have a lot of jet lag and time alone.  Write your ideas down -- most are horrible, but a few are pure gold (and some will become part of this thing called Marcus by Goldman Sachs).

3. Don’t rush through the plateaus in your career; you are building a launching pad for later. We are going to have peaks and valleys in our career. Don’t spend much time in either place, they are both temporary. Focus on the plateaus, they’re the “steady state” place where we can experiment, learn, lose, win, but most of all, hone our skill-sets.  It is the time we spend on the plateaus building our knowledge and experience that create the solid foundation that will become the building blocks for some of the better things in the future. Trust me on this one, it is time well spent.

4. The next version of you will be the best version of you. Graduating from a plateau is just the entry fee to becoming a beginner once more. The current version of you will be excellent at bringing yesterday’s experience to solve today’s challenges. But work toward creating the upgraded version of you that will be able to address tomorrow’s challenges. Easier said than done: you will have to challenge your way of thinking and learn that what got you here will not necessarily get you out of here.

5. And finally, what you think is the most scary, impossible, career ending thing . . . well isn’t.  Fear is that voice in your head that says you aren’t smart enough, you aren’t good enough.  Fear is also a wall that tries to stop you from being curious, turning you into an idea collector. Fear is funny, it will attempt to convince us that it is here to protect us.  But it can’t protect us, it can only stop us from bringing our “art” to the world. Understand that fear doesn’t mean harm, it is just scared for you. Acknowledge it for what it is, and then cross the threshold.  And once you do that a few times, we will be able to meet and I can’t wait!