Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that I am more than certain I scare a number of people on this board. When I chime in on a serious topic, I swear I scare people. I scare a lot of people here from those who don't know how to respond to someone like me for whatever reason to those who don't know how to interpret my views. That's a fair position to take. I've been debating this for a while, and to be honest, I don't give a fuck what people think about me as long as they respond and questions. As future business leaders, blind faith, acceptance and a reliance on others to advise you will do no good. I encourage everyone to respond and question every serious post you find here, whether you want someone to explain something or you are curious as to what the rational is.
I am young, only 25 years old, but I am jaded beyond my years. I drink Scotch like a 50 year old man. I listen carefully, and weigh the facts before I opine, much like King Solomon did. I do my own research instead of relying on others, but I still question and ask when I don't know. This is something I encourage all you young monkeys to do. With a wealth of knowledge at your disposal, both in what's posted and the easy access to people on this board, question everything you can. Growth is not about your successes. Far from it. Growth, both personally and professionally, is cultivated from both inquisition into what you know, what you don't know, and how well you can study your mistakes, fuck ups and failures in order fix them for the future.
The reason I started this with the above preface and poem is because I thought it would be important to discuss the mentality we have in how we approach thing. We are always wandering down a path, and we will always come to the roads diverging in the woods, but our mentality is how we chose which path to take.
Among the things on my mind, I cannot help but dwell on a conversation my father and I had last night after dinner. My parents live about 30 minutes away from where I live, so I swing by every so often for dinner, and that was the case Monday night. He and I were talking, and we were discussing how kids my age view the world, as my parents ran into the parents of kids I wen to high school at a local community event (I was shocked that they decided to attend in the first place).
Our conversation was about kids whom I graduated with, covering topics such as which kids ended up working where, who was driving what cars, who was in grad school and who was set for life. As we discussed some of the kids in my grade who were driving cars well beyond the reasonable price range (If someone can explain to me why a 25 year old is driving a fully pimped out, top of the line Mercedes Benz being paid for by their parents instead of them with their supposed salary is beyond me), as their parents like to brag that they are Investment Bankers at places like, CS and , Successful traders on the desks and major banks or that they work for Hedge Funds, yet the kids aren't paying a dime into the car payments, or rent or other expenses, it really got me wondering about the mentality people have.
I'm a firm believer in the Blue Collar way of life. Hard work, no matter what you do or who you are, is paramount to success. Nothing can't be fixed with a little grease and cleaned without a little spit shine. I'm also a believer in less is more. I personally find no love lost in a car that does more than I need it to, as I find simplicity a much more important measure of usefulness than I do the technical wizardry and luxury they possess. I'm not saying I don't appreciate nice cars, I just don't see the usefulness in them. I find that my pursuits, intellectual, physical and spiritual are all for simplistic things and my two expensive hobbies, gaming and being a true fan of cinema, can be controlled accordingly.
My belief in this ethic spilled over into my college life too. It definitely influenced where I chose to get my college education. I went to a college, where my D-I FBS football coach embodied what the true Blue Collar Work Ethic is, and still does, to this very day. I've had the pleasure of meeting the man with a head coaching record of 400-132-3 and to this very day, I consider him to be a true role model for what patience, hard work, time and effort can do. I met him on numerous occasions, but one stands out, in which he and the entire starting lineup of our football team, at 4 in the morning, addressed a crowd of about 1500 people. He said that what we were doing was an amazing thing, and that we were doing something that celebrated the hard work, dedication, desire and drive that he sought to instill in his athletes, but we were doing it for a cause greater than a birth in the BCS. It's something I live with to this day in how I chose to live my life. It's something that, when I look back at my involvement in Greek Life, definitely dictated how I spent 2 years dedicated to completely rebuilding a fraternity from the ground up, both fiscally and from a membership perspective.
My mentality still is with me. It governs how I handle tasks, analyze things and take care of what needs to be done. I have tried repeatedly to understand this entitlement issue, this supposed white collar mentality that kids my age who come from wealth believe, but I can't. I just don't get it. I look at the politics of the US and of New Jersey. I look at our banking institutions, ranging from The Fed to our regional banks, the lobbyists, the special interest groups and the unions, and I can't help but wonder what a true hard working belief would do to change their minds. I look at the entitlement, both within the social class and the generational gaps and it both shames and scares me.
So, I pose three questions to you all and I want a honest, free form discussion about this, beyond the bullshit of T&A,
1) How do you view yourself and what kind of mentality do you have?
2) How do you view the world around you and reconcile it with your views?
3) This is more of a thought provoking question, but if and when you have kids, how do you plan to raise them? What values do you plan to instill in them and will you let them have free time to develop on their own and become their own person instead of what you want to become?
I know this is unusual, but it's meant to be thought provoking.
Go ahead and take your time, dwell and craft something thought out and meaningful. Contribute and look beyond what you normally ask. Most of all, challenge and question my ideas.
Comments are expected and welcome
Mod Note (Andy): the following quote was supposed to go up top but wasn't showing properly so I've placed it here
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Mod Note: Best of WSO, this was originally posted November 2010