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An SNL skit nails the worst habits of earnest young people seeking career advice

An empty coffee cup
Unsplash/Ian Keefe
  • Lila MacLellan
By Lila MacLellan

Quartz at Work senior reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What’s a recent grad supposed to do? How do you get started?

Maybe you’ve been advised to get a coffee with someone already working in the field you aspire to join, or a related business.

Sure, that sounds like a small enough ask of someone who’s older and wiser, but here’s a fact: Most people dread informal coffee meetings with a young stranger—a friend’s niece, a cousin’s neighbor’s son—especially one whose idea of picking your brain means trumpeting their own “fresh” insights in person, then following up in email or by text with a zillion questions.

A recent Saturday Night Live skit perfectly captures the agony of such an encounter, from the would-be mentor’s perspective. It stars Seth Meyers, the comedian, talk show host, and former SNL writer and cast member, who recounts a horror story for his friends as they sit around a campfire.

“I have a story, only thing is, it’s not a story. It’s real,” he begins. “It happened to me about two years ago when I was still at the ad agency…I got a call from my dad….He asked me if I could get a coffee with his friend’s son.”

“That’s no big deal, right?” one friend, already rattled, asks.

“A 22-year-old recent college grad,” Meyers continues, thickening the tension. And then the real horror: “An aspiring filmmaker.”

You can practically see the young, earnest hand reaching out from the shadows…

Watch Meyers tell the rest of the story below.

Don’t be a horror show. If you’re seeking mentorship, there are other, better ways to find it.

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