I recently read this article here and I think it deserves some comment. I’ve seen a lot of bitching about Generation U, I guess it’s called, the 20 somethings of the world. Apparently they’re horrible, they’re lazy, etc. I’m sure their music sucks too, right? Every generation thinks their kids are going to hell and their parents were fucking saints and it’s all a line of horse shit. Here’s some responses to points in the article which I think are off point.
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level.
Welcome to the real world. Most people don’t have a next level because they don’t live to work, they work to live. Welcome to the rest of the population. If you’re an entrepreneur and one of those guys who can’t rest until you’ve got a few billion in th ebank, more power to you. People like you are critical for the world. But, if you were to say start your own Galt’s Gulch, my guess is it would fall into ruin rather quickly as all the high and mighty entrepreneurs were so busy amazing themselves with their brilliance because they forgot to import a few people who just wanted to clean the toilets, empty the garbage, and then go home for a beer and play with their kids. What’s more, every time I’ve seen someone use the phrase ‘a sense of urgency’ it’s always been an excuse for them not acting. For example, you tell them fory-seven fucking times that task A needed to get done, and then when a deadline passes and you point out that you told them forty-seven times, they fall back on, “Well, where was the sense of urgency?” ‘A sense of urgency’ is an excuse for assholes to not do their jobs in my view.
Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person. It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.
I would say: read your fucking email. If communication is important, then all modes of communication matter and should be used. And once more, the phone is an excuse in my experience. “I didn’t get a call,” is the exccuse I often get from one of my plant managers because he wasn’t aware of something. Of course, he doesn’t read his email, he has disconnected his voicemail, and redirects his office to his cell, which he rarely answers. The phone is one means of communication among many, people shouldn’t be afriad of it, but neither should people think it’s the only one that counts. Quality communication is what matters, not the means by which it is achieved. And unfortunately in this world, often times communication needs to be documented. Often people who are hooked on the phone have never dealt with back stabbing fellow employees who use the lack of record to their advantage. I have, many times, and I always get everything in an email now even if it is just to recap a phone call. People suck, you need to cover you ass, the phone doesn’t do that as effectively as email.
It’s also worth noting that this is the Hollywood bias. Ever see movies and how they portray jobs in Hollywood? Everyone has a big account or a meeting or a pitch coming up, because that’s how they work in Hollywood. The author assumes ‘doing business’ means a lot of human contact. For him no doubt it does. Has he ever seen an order entry department though? Do those people not exist? Most people don’t ‘do business’ in the sense he’s getting at. Most people have jobs, they show up, they do them for a while, and then they leave. They often require minimal interaction. Approaching every job like the CEO or a salesman is a good way to either severely fuck up or drive yourself nuts.
Be the First In & Last to Leave – I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.
I say produce the most and get paid for what you produce (see point below). If I can produce the deliverable you want for me at the price you’re willing to pay, why do you give a shit if I’m in the office 4 hours vs 10? What matters to you as a manager, results or appearances? I know plenty of people who work long hours who don’t accomplish shit. But this is the classic dicotomy of the incompetent manager. If you produce what they need in less time, you look bad and good. And if you produce more than the guy down the line, hey that’s great! Of course, you’re still getting paid the same as he is, so you’re busting your ass to make your manager look good on the hope that it might pay off for you, which it often doesn’t.
You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.
While I agree jobs should not be easy, there’s a difference between a demanding boss and an asshole. I have worked for both, and deal with both types currently. One is demanding, fair, and I’ve learned a shitload from him. The other is simply a rotten sadistic fuck who gets his jollies by screaming at people and demeaning them. He doesn’t demand perfection, he demands the impossible, tells you specifically to do things, and then screams at you for doing them. He’s a demented old fuck. This point sounds to me like these assholes justifying their existence. Some tough bosses are just that, others are just pieces of shit who get their dicks hard by lording it over people whose income depends on theme. So critical to this author’s point is to learn the difference and get the fuck out when you’re dealing with an asshole.
Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.
Frugality is not bad advice, but adults whose incole has spiralled to the point that they don’t feel the day to day pressures of inflation of food, housing, medical, and other costs of living, often lose touch with what’s achievable at a certain income level. Two incomes are necessary to maintain a standard of living now which was achievable with just one not a few decades ago. Our currency is being debased and despite increases in productivity, labor is less valued than in the past. It’s easy to look at people starting out in their careers now and not realize that the shitty apartment you had when you were young actually costs 50% more now.
It’s also horribly convenient for a guy at the top to explain to people at the bottom why they really need to lower their expectations with regards to salary. How about this, Guy At The Top: pay people commensurate with what they’re producing. I’m sick of hearing rich people bitch and moan about the horrid possibility of actually being in a position of being forced to pay people what they’re actually worth. Well, that’s where we’re going. Information flows these days, and Peter who is a PM for company A knows that Paul makes more as a PM for company B. Company A will either be fucked or will have to deal with higher turnover until they accept the fact that they either pay people a market wage, or they deal with lower quality workers.
Saving is one thing. Telling people they not only have to lower their standards of living exponentially thanks to inflation, but also that they need to put 25%+ of their money in savings where some rich fuck will probably find a way to squander it anyway, and then get his lily white ass bailed out by the government while the people who really get screwed just have to take it, is more than a little much. Once I see rich people face the consequences of their mistakes I’ll have more of an ear for their advice. It’s kind of easy to give hard financial advice when you get to privatize your profits and socialize your losses, though. Most of us don’t get to do that, and we often get our profits sucks up by the tax man and the over privileged telling us that we don’t actually deserve the value of our work product in return for the actual work product.