What things when younger did you think were more important than they turned out to be?

Golf. I thought I’d have to be a good golfer to win over clients, close deals, woo my boss, and get promoted. I did learn to golf but I’m bad at it and I loathe it. (Calling golf a good walk ruined is setting too low a bar for walks). I think in my 20 year career, I’ve been invited to play golf two or three times and I don’t think they cared when I said no. Clients are happy enough to get good service and the occasional nice dinner.

This reminds me of many films we saw about how not to fall through thin ice (which I guess is the Canadian version of quicksand). Lay flat, spread your weight out, slowly work your way to shore/thicker ice.

I’ve never once had to actually do any of that in real life.

I have been within in a few hundred feet of a tornado three times in my life. Widen that radius to about three miles and your once a decade prediction would be underestimating it.

According to my father, I must never be barefoot because every carpet was a haven for athlete’s foot, and every patch of grass was loaded with parasites.

When I was promoted from Financial Analyst to Finance Manager of a Sales office, the Sales Director (my dotted line boss) told me I needed to learn to play golf if I was going to be spending time with customers.

So he took me to a golf club (one that allowed the public in) and bought me a decent set of clubs, set me up with some golf lessons and bought me a package of greens fees (I think 12 weekday rounds). Over $1500 which was real money 30 years ago, to me at least.

In the next four years, I never once observed him playing golf with any customer we would actually need to spend four or five hours with. The golf was just a way for him and favored salespeople to hang out on a golf course with clients and prospects who were happy to golf for free.

The biggest customers weren’t interested in golf. They were too busy.

When I was getting ready to graduate from college, several classmates insisted that you had to be a golfer to succeed in a professional job. I never bothered to learn, and it didn’t make any difference in my career. I put it in the same category as “dressing for success”: no one actually successful gives a damn about either practice.

Your father probably remembered the fight against hookworm.

I was interviewing for a position in, well, many ad agencies. As I progressed up the food chain I was amused to see that as an executive got more and more power/responsibility, they’d dress more casually. By the time I got to the Creative Directors, CEOs and owners, they were wearing faded polo shirts, sweats, whatever they wanted.

My final interview was with a guy in ratty jeans and a Keith Haring “Eat The Rich” t-shirt.

I’m sure it’s not useful for ALL professional jobs, but for people in Commercial Sales I think it used to be. But by the 1990s this was already changing. People are just busier and less able or willing to spend four to five hours on a “sales call”. Fathers want to get home to their wives and kids. Working mothers (and women generally) aren’t into golf as much, and more of them are salespeople and buyers.

It’s a relic of a bygone era.

I remember we had a workshop in business school (late 1980s) about dress, grooming and etiquette, which even at that time seemed right out of the 1960s. Custom made suits, pocket squares, shoe care, every one assumed to be a fair complexioned, clean shaven male. At the end of every section there might be a couple of paragraphs and a picture or two about women. Who were 30-40% of the class.

When I was a Creative Director, that’s exactly how I dressed. Often, gym shorts instead of sweats.

And in my entire career, nobody ever asked to see my high school or college diploma or my permanent record.

My mother’s family played Schaf’s Kopf (sheep’s head), a bridge-like German card game, and I was often commandeered to be a fourth, as a child, even though I really never could remember what cards had been played. That’s the only period of time when I played it. My own family was more into Hearts and Casino.

The actual diploma, no. But I’ve applied for a number of jobs that wanted copies of my college and/or grad school transcripts.

For a moment, I misread that as GRADE school transcripts.

I once thought this was important. Apparently no longer…

Oh, and the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Does anyone care about that?

Doing my homework and studying hard. Not once have I applied for a job and been told, “We were going to hire you, Mr. Homer, but then we noticed that you got a C- on your 9th-grade science midterm. We’re very sorry…”

From a lot of time sleeping on the bottom bunk…
What would happen if I took the tag off of a mattress?

Actually read a thread on reddit (askhistorians) recently and found out questions of that sort were asked on the New York State Regents Examinations at one time.

If I had actualldy belived my PE teachers, I would have been suprised how I never have the need to roll properly when jumping off something or to climb a rope. (Also, I rarely find a pressing need to bounce a ball around in an antique parachute with 20 other people.)

And likewise, in the six years before she passed away, DesertWife and I were never asked for our non-existent marriage license, from a hotel, hospital or the IRS.

It happened to us once in China. My wife is Chinese, I’m a white dude. Despite showing our USA passports which showed we have the same last name, they still insisted on a copy of our marriage license. We had it with us because my wife knew it might be an issue. Apparently white dude + local woman checking into hotel = prostitution in their minds.

They thought you were importing a US prostitute. “What, our local girls aren’t good enough for you?” :slightly_smiling_face: