Obama, Hoffman, and art history in business
I winced when I heard President Obama recently dissed art history majors. Yeah, last month while speaking to some factory workers, he quipped, “You folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.” He immediately tried to backtrack, saying “nothing wrong with an art-history degree. I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch e-mails from everybody.” Too late. He got some, and issued a hand written apology to one professor who had written to him. She argued that art history teaches people “how to think, read and write critically.”
In his will, Phillip Seymour Hoffman requested that his son live in Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco. According to the New York Times, the Hoffman reasoned, “The purpose of this request is so that my son will be exposed to the culture, art and architecture that such cities offer.”
Art changes us, and I believe for the better. If you want to take some art history yourself, check out what the Khan Academy offers. One of my friends, and one of the smartest, most effective executives at Kronos is an art history major. Yeah, one of our retired VP’s had the vision to see her potential. She has a beautiful mind, and I’m certain her art history background is a significant contributor. She changed me. For the better. I guess my point is to open your mind (art helps) when recruiting. Explore beyond the resume marketing slick, and find out if your candidates can “think, read and write critically.” Those are the people you want serving your customers. You and your organization will be better for it.
Speaking of jobs, we have over 150 open positions, and we’re a top place to work. We have art history majors…