If you’re just finishing high school and are about to enter the adult workforce, your brain is probably full lofty ideas about what to expect. You were likely raised to believe if you work hard, then all your dreams will come true. You were told your future employers are looking for bright, creative problem solvers who are energetically looking to change the world. You may have also had it beat into your head that all humans were created equal and everyone has the right to life, liberty, dignity and the pursuit of happiness. Well, let me save you a few years of slow, painful, confused disillusionment and just pop your bubble right now. All of those promises were lies.
The economy isn’t designed to help each and every individual achieve their full potential. It’s designed to make business owners and investors as rich as possible at all costs. Bear that in mind when you apply to work at a business. Their bottom line isn’t their workers’ lives. It’s profit.
The managers who will be interviewing you understand this. They don’t care about your happiness, potential or fulfillment. They don’t even care about improving the company. Those kinds of big decisions are made by people who do business on golf courses and never get their hands dirty. Your managers’ job is to be your slave driver. They take orders from above and make sure everyone below them keeps their noses to the grindstone. So the last thing in the world they want to hear an interviewee say is, “I’m a genius who wants to change the world and a creative problem solver who can help you improve your business.”
If you say something like that to a prospective employer, all they’ll hear is, “I’m going to question your instructions at every turn and be a huge pain in your ass. Plus, I’ll probably end up quitting when I realize I’m nothing but a disposable cog in a machine that will be worn down, broken and replaced at your convenience.”
If you want to win the interview game, don’t tell your boss how bright and creative you are. Instead, stress how eager you are to serve and how good you are at following orders. You don’t want to come across like you can’t think for yourself, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution. It’s better to come across as an obedient dog than a self-respecting human being.
When you do finally begin your life of thankless toil, remember to live up to the promises you made in your interview. Never tell your boss any good ideas you have for the business. It’s not that they’ll see your potential and realize that you would be better at their job than them and thus feel threatened by you. There’s no chance of you taking their job. Business doesn’t work that way. They’ll just peg you for an insolent brat who doesn’t know your place. So act like your boss, and don’t ask questions. Just take your orders and complete them.
Also, remember to address your superiors the way a slave would address their master: by calling them “sir” or “ma’am” gratuitously. And always smile and pretend like the greatest thing to ever happen to you was being granted the esteemed privilege of sacrificing your life to make your employer richer. They’ll appreciate that, not enough to pay you a fair share of the profits your work generates for the company, but enough not to fire you and replace you with the next poor person willing to trade their dignity for a paycheck.
If this kind of life doesn’t sound appealing to you then start your own business, and do the future generation a favor: Don’t run it the way your parent’s generation ran theirs. Give your employees a fair share of the profits, and treat them like they’re more important than your next car.
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