Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Open Letter to All College Students and Recent Grads Contemplating Their First Real Office-Job Experience

When you are first hired, no matter where you went to school or what your grades and internships were like, you will have to do grunt work. Grunt work is how employers weed the bad employees out from the good employees. If you do the grunt work correctly, you will be given more interesting work. If you do not do the grunt work correctly, you will have proven that you are not as smart as you think you are because you cannot even do grunt work correctly.

You should also listen to people when they introduce themselves, and not call the HR director by the wrong name even after you are corrected. This is especially crucial in a small business where you really are expected to learn each person's name.

If you are hired at a 5-week, 4-hour-a-day job to do filing, you will probably file the entire time. This should not be a surprise to you. If you do it well at a small business, you will earn a good references. References and contacts are amazing currency in the adult world.

If you decide that you cannot be bothered to do this low-key, 4-hour-a-day job with free beverages, snacks and unlimited breaks after less than two weeks on the job, you should have the balls to walk into HR and quit. Chances are if you have this sort of attitude problem they will not be overly unhappy to see you go (since it is unlikely that you will have done any of your work correctly--trust me on this one), so it will be an almost pain-free experience, and you will have acted *sort of* like a grown-up by quitting in person. You should *not* quit by email, addressed to the entire business but misspelling the HR director's email address because you still haven't gotten the name right.

Finally, if you do wimp out and act like a child and quit by email, you should try to avoid sounding like a complete jackass when you do so, especially when copying the partners in the business who have far-reaching contacts throughout your chosen field.*

*For example:

Hello [name of business]ans,

Just writing to let you all know that today was my last day in the office.
No need to be reaching for the tissues, all's well.

I originally came aboard just to help get the office caught up on some filing. Not that filing can ever be completely conquered, but I think we're close to being up to date now.

More important to me is the need to make positive contributions to the lives of others when and where I can. Filing is not where I should be. I know it sounds like a load of naive college-aged ideals, but I am fortunate enough to be allowed to live them out. I need to take advantage of the time that I have and focus my energies on what I hold to be important.

Please don't take this as a denigration of [name of business], but rather as a recognition of a hasty decision on my part. It was an interesting and informative experience, albeit a brief one, and I wish you all the best.

Here's to fulfillment, however you choose to find it,

[name of complete jackass who will never get very far in life and who, for all of his "college-aged ideals," is really just a spoiled child who can't be bothered to do anything that might be inconvenient or boring, including making any "positive contributions to the lives of others," and who mostly "focuses his energies" on hiking with his friends and not showering]**

**My personal favorite line: "Filing is not where I should be." Because, you know, for other people filing is a *vocation*. Also, there were 3 weeks of four-hour days left on this job, with one day that he had already taken off. That's 56 hours of boring but easy work and a non-bridge-burning departure. How spoiled is this kid?***

***Also: "I need to take advantage of the time that I have and focus my energies on what I hold to be important." Is he dying of cancer? This kid is, tops, 22.


Grendel said...

Don't worry. This sort of attitude will just make the inevitable selling of their soul all the more painful. Maybe they'll cry, and there's nothing better in martinis than the tears of disappointed college gradutates.

Kate said...

The thing is, if he had just quit with no explanation or told me that he didn't want to file for the rest of the summer, that would have been fine; he wasn't very good, anyway. He had to make it sound like he was quitting to do charity work or save the world from hunger and violence. I am looking forward to the day when Mommy and Daddy aren't supporting him any more and he has to do work that is boring or unpleasant to be able to pay his bills.

Grendel said...

Not very good at filing? You know, just because you're filing doesn't make you worthless, but if you can't file. . .

Bad sign.

Duchess said...

Dude I file for like 90% of my job. I would like to kick his ass. He will never make it anywhere. I may file mostly but I also am one of about 6 people from my office (about 150) that gets invited to the owner's house for parties (killer raging parties). People notice when you work hard...even if it is grunt work.

Kate said...


I can't believe I am going to quote this source, but this says it all:

"Sometimes in life you’re asked to do things that you don’t want to do, and ignoring those demands doesn’t mean you have more integrity. It means that you can’t get the job done." I would add that doing such a job poorly because you can't be bothered with the details doesn't show that you are smart; it shows that you are too stupid to realize what really matters.

From the TWoP forums on Project Runway (http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?showtopic=3144146&st=150)

Grendel said...

You know you're right. I can't believe you quoted that source either. :)

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