After writing a post called, “Taking The Chairman’s Flight To Career Suicide” on Get Rich Slowly, what ensued in the comment section turned out to be quite a surprise. My post was written in a way to share how I was beat up during my first couple years on Wall Street and how I dreamed of taking Chairman’s Flights to meetings because I was sick and tired of taking a red-eye across the country for a 8:30am meeting the next day.
There is no mention of hatred, class warfare, and anything of the kind in my post. Just good old fashion career advice I wish I read when I was in my 20s. However, one commenter named Charles, who supposedly has a history of negative commentary on GRS, decided to rip a supporter of mine named Marcella after she responded to his initial hateful comment that has since been deleted by the editors (cuss words).
I always love a good rip, because as you know, I love a good Comment Commentary post. All of this got me to thinking if some people will be unhappy and struggle incessantly because they’re their own worst enemy. Read through the dialog below and let me know what you think.
Here’s Marcella’s pretty innocuous comment to Charles’ original spiteful comment towards me:
That situation sounds hard, and I know that I don’t have all the details and it probably does seem like you’re in a hopeless position. But to play devil’s advocate here, your post comes across as though you have a chronic case of ‘external locus control.’ 90% of your comment is about how external factors are causing your problems.
Why not let go all of the anger and frustration about stuff you can’t control (your bosses, their hiring policies) and focus **only** on what you control and what you can change in this situation.
Charles’ comment to Marcella is below, which is most certainly also directed at me.
Your comments are abhorrent. You blame the poor for being poor. It is their fault for not taking control of their lives.
I am sick of this BS coming from the 1%. This is their justification for hoarding wealth, they claim they deserve it because they worked hard for it. Well I work hard and I take control of my life. And I know what I have control over, and I know who controls the economic factors that I can’t control. You obviously don’t.
My situation is all too common. Let me tell you about one of my coworkers. He was a PhD biochemist. He had to take this temp job because his research position was cut due to the Federal Budget sequester. Was that his fault? He took control of his situation the best he could, just like I did, taking this low paying temp job, while he searched desperately for a new research position. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of other suddenly unemployed PhD biochemists searching for scarce research jobs.
This is just a small example of the most massive squandering of human capital in history. One day he just got locked out of his office and his years of research went unfinished. Maybe this guy had a cure for cancer or AIDS or something, and now people will die without his research. He will never be able to make up for this lost time. This is a loss for us all.
And I can’t make up for lost time either. I have commercially valuable skills, and no place to use them profitably. I speak Japanese fluently, I can do calculus in my head, I am a published author, I have extraordinary executive abilities and I’ve invented computer technologies that have made billions of dollars.. for other people. In my current job, I work harder than any two of my coworkers combined. I work hard because there is honor in doing even a menial job well, even when your coworkers are sabotaging you because you’re making them look lazy. And yet, due to the economy, permanent jobs in my industry are impossible to find. I have tried every entrepreneurial adventure I could think of and so far, and have had no success. Nobody has any money to buy my services.
There was a time when I took the time to write hundreds of words like I have written to you, it would have gone to an editor and been fixed up and published, I would have made maybe $500. I have sacrificed my evening writing you a message that I hoped was educational. I thought perhaps I could balance out the condescending messages from rich swindlers who are out of touch with society, with a dose of reality. I could have spent tonight working on my perennial job hunt. But I have sacrificed that on your behalf. And in return I get an outrageously snobby message that I am poor because I haven’t taken control of my life. By writing you this message, I AM taking control of my life. I am making choices right now. Maybe you should be paying me for this.
Charles sounds like an extremely accomplished individual and I do understand his sentiments IF Marcella’s comment was attacking and snobby, but it wasn’t. I wonder what is preventing him from not earning a higher wage? Here’s my response to Charles:
I guess we’ll just have to disagree on which world is the real world then. Your $10 an hour is still $4.75 an hour more than I made at McDonald’s.
Given you say “I speak Japanese fluently, can do calculus in my head, I am a published author, I have extraordinary executive abilities and I’ve invented computer technologies that have made billions of dollars,” why not:
* Start a Japanese tutoring business? You can charge way more than $10 an hour.
* Start a blog to help sell your book and share your frustration?
* Work in tech since you invented computer technologies. Have you looked at angel.co/jobs? Every single job there pays $60,000 – $200,000 a year.
* Start an executive training business since you have extraordinary executive abilities.
* Heck, maybe you can even apply to be a staff writer at GRS like I did. They pay more than $10 an hour based on the speed in which you write your comments. You just can’t call anybody names in your post.
Or, you can do none of that and call me names as to why you are suffering. But if you do not do anything, then at least don’t hurl insults. Nobody will care or want to help you if you berate them.
My goal isn’t to piss Charles off. Even though he called me names and blames me for the housing crash and his existing salary in other comments, I’m sincerely trying to help him make more than $10 an hour.
I’m confident he can make more than $10 an hour because I know how much Japanese tutors make, how much bloggers can make, how much tech employees can make, and how much freelance writers on Get Rich Slowly and other sites can make because I’ve done them all before. Hopeful that Charles would take some of my advice to heart, here’s his response below:
Let them eat cake.
Apparently you don’t understand that this is the impression you are making. You are drifting farther from reality. Do you really think I haven’t tried all these things? Let’s run through them.
1. Nobody hires American tutors, you have to be a native speaker. There are hundreds of native speaker tutors on the internet, and dozens in my town. I’ve done translation work but the bottom dropped out of that market due to computerized translation.
2. I have a blog. It got me a writing gig, it paid pretty well too. I lost that gig about 4 years ago due to staff cutbacks. I have not found other gigs, despite a persistent search.
3. You’re not listening to me. I’m over 50 years old so I’m greylisted. People think I only know obsolete crap like COBOL. I work hard keeping up with the latest technologies in my field. But I have been turned down for jobs that use technologies I invented. The jobs on the website you cited are a scam. The $200k tech jobs do not exist. At best. they are a formality due to HR regulations that require an open job search before they declare everyone unqualified and hire the guy they wanted to hire all along.
You know I’ve been doing this for decades, right? Oh no of course you don’t, you can’t possibly put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
4. There is a glut of middle managers who were laid off in the recession. Executive services are the first part of the budget that gets cut. It will be the last part of the economy to recover. There is no money there.
5. I once talked to JD about writing for one of his other blogs. But he said it was unpaid. And obviously I have nothing in common with the so-called reality that this blog has come to represent. You have pretty much convinced me to stop reading it.
I have tried all these things, and many many other entrepreneurial ideas. I keep trying, despite my lack of capital to develop my businesses, and despite everyone else’s lack of capital to purchase those products and services. Where the hell did all that capital go? Securities swindlers and unscrupulous usurers fleeced the middle class and are hoarding it all for themselves.
You are from the financial industry, people like you make no products, you produce no useful arts or sciences, you provide no real services, you merely skim money off the movement of capital. Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you spent more than 5 minutes with someone who was not in the same economic class as you, someone who earns far less than you? I don’t mean the service workers you tolerate for 5 minutes. I mean, do you actually have any friends who aren’t part of your upper class, the top 1% wealthiest people? It doesn’t seem like you have any concept of how the 99% live. Let them eat cake.
Now of course I’m slightly insulted that he has completely disregarded all my advice and calls everybody in finance “swindlers”. It’s a common populist sentiment, which is largely misunderstood since there are many different departments at a particular bank.
But even still, I give it one more attempt to help him. I tried to respond in a way that would position myself in a slightly more difficult situation to be more empathetic.
For two years between 2012-2013 I was unemployed. And during this period of unemployment I hung out regularly with a dozen unemployed or under-employed people, as we were part of the Golden Gate Park (public) tennis team. We ate together, talked about life together, and tried to win together as a team.
It didn’t matter how wealthy or poor we were, or where we came from, we were a team. And we’re still a team in 2014 who hang out. I am part of the 99%. Are you saying your part of the 99% is better than my part of the 99%? Your comment reminded me of a series of posts I wrote about unemployment (Why Are The Employed So Smug About The Unemployed) when I was unemployed or about to be.
I’d like to check out your blog and give you some tips (if you want them) on how to grow, how to engage an audience, how to structure your posts, and how to do SEO for free. Four years is a long time of trying to find freelance work and not succeeding, and I’m sure I can help.
Your perspective is just as important and interesting as my perspective. Different perspectives is what makes a blog interesting. In fact, you can take my monthly-to-twice-a-month spot on GRS as a freelance gig if you’d like? Prepare a couple writing samples and I’ll talk to the editors. Just please refrain from name calling other people.
Let me know if you want blog help or staff writing help.
IS IT ALL MENTAL?
So there you have it. I’ve offered up my services for free to help him build his blog and get a job as a freelance writer (mine on GRS). Now all he has to respond with his blog URL so I and the dozens of other people following the comments section can critique his blog. Will he respond with his blog’s URL? Will his blog show a consistent frequency of posts for the past four years since he’s been trying to get freelance writing work? I hope so, because that will allow me to easily refer him to several freelance writing opportunities I know of right now.
Unfortunately, what I found was a barren blog that hadn’t been updated for a year when he sent me the URL. He said, “My blog is busted. Hackers have penetrated it deeply and I can’t keep them out. I spent years on MovableType and they basically stopped development, leaving me with an insecure site that I will have to port to WordPress.” And for some reason, he also declined my freelance spot on GRS even though he said he needs the money. I don’t get it.
I tell every aspiring blogger or writer that if they can wake up every morning by 6am, write for a couple hours before work, and publish 2-4 posts a week for three years they’ll make a livable income stream. It costs very little to start a site. All it takes is unwavering tenacity to stick things through until good things start happening.
Readers, how can I help people like Charles get ahead? Or does Charles need to first believe in himself before anybody can help him? How much of making more money or getting ahead is mental?
If hard work takes no skill, why don’t more people work harder? Do you know anybody who gives you every excuse in the book no matter how hard you try to help? Will Charles ever respond with his blog’s URL for the world to see?
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debt debs says
I remember seeing that post and comments and thought, there’s something else going on there with Charles. When someone is that defensive trying to justify why they are right and everyone else is wrong, they have a big chip on their shoulder. Then when they continue to have excuses, this just solidifies the perception more. I actually felt sorry for him because he was in a bad way, but I think you handled it fairly and honorably, Sam. It’s unfortunate when someone can’t seize an opportunity when it’s staring them in the face.
Financial Samurai says
I did my best. I’m not sure what else I could do to help him but give him my GRS freelance writing paycheck.
I know it sounds perverse, but some people get an emotional payoff from being victims. Charles needs to give up the adrenaline boost that comes from being a self-righteous victim before he can make any progress. He keeps telling himself it’s impossible to be successful and it becomes an assault to his ego if he’s wrong. A lot of people would rather starve than swallow their pride than take constructive feedback from others.
Financial Samurai says
It sure seems that way… I don’t understand how all my ideas could be summarily rejected, even offering him my job!
Nik @ Midlife Finance says
I think Charles need to first believe in himself before anybody can help him. With that kind of attitude, reaching or achieving something for yourself is really hard to do or in other word… impossible.