Warren Buffett Has 1 Key Piece Of Career Advice: Look For A Job You Would Choose If You Had No Need For Money
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, has some advice for college students who want a fulfilling career: don’t think about the money.
In his most recent annual letter to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway’s nonagenarian chairman and CEO discussed his continued enjoyment for his work. He referred to his regular talks with university students.
“I have urged that they seek employment in (1) the field and (2) with the kind of people they would select, if they had no need for money,” Buffett wrote.
Although he concedes that “economic realities may interfere with this kind of search”, he urges students “to never give up on the quest.”
“When they find that sort of job, they will no longer be ‘working’,” Buffett added.
Buffet, 91, took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965. Together with his long-term business partner and confidant Charlie Munger, he’s grown what was a struggling textile mill into a holding company with a market capitalization of more than $700 billion.
It holds shares in firms including Apple, the Coca-cola Company, and General Motors.
“At Berkshire, we found what we love to do,” Buffet writes but said the pair had a few “stumbles” earlier in their career.
Both started work at a grocery store owned by Buffett’s grandfather — work for which they were paid little and asked to complete boring tasks, Buffett said.
Job satisfaction “continued to elude” the pair after Munger moved into law and Buffett into selling securities, he wrote.
“With very few exceptions, we have now “worked” for many decades with people whom we like and trust.”
Teaching helps Buffett to ‘clarify his thoughts’
Buffett has offered similar advice in the past.
In a 2020 address to graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his alma mater, he told students about the importance of finding a fulfilling career.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have one like that and I can tell you there’s just nothing like that. It isn’t work anymore, it’s actually something you look forward to every day. You won’t necessarily find it the day you get out, but it is out there,” he said.
Students should also polish their communication skills and read lots, he advised.
Buffett started his first investing class 70 years ago and continued to work with students of all ages until 2018, he said in his letter.
“Teaching, like writing, has helped me develop and clarify my own thoughts,” Buffet wrote, adding that this was a phenomenon Munger called the orangutan effect.
“If you sit down with an orangutan and carefully explain to it one of your cherished ideas, you may leave behind a puzzled primate, but will yourself exit thinking more clearly.”