“Work smart, not hard.” How many times has that been drilled in to the Millenial generations’ heads? Finding a way to be successful while skirting real work is almost ubiquitous with the word “Millenial”. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with it- who wouldn’t want to be wildly successful with minimal effort? However, in a Popular Science article published August 2013, Dirty Jobs host (and classically trained opera singer!) Mike Rowe outlines the importance of hard work.
Rowe details his own journey to success, which results in a change to that ubiquitous “work smart not hard” counselor’s office poster. It struck me as so simple; I don’t understand how it isn’t the norm. “Work smart AND hard.” Simple right? So why does it seem so hard to my generation?
I’m all about following your dream and doing what you love. But let’s be honest- a lot of the time, that doesn’t pay the bills. Or feed the family. Or allow you to go on vacations. I would love to spend all day blogging and reading comics, and I hope one day all of the hard work we do here at Pure Geekery will pay off. But until then, I’ll continue to search for and work my day job. I’ll earn a paycheck and make the best of every day, hoping that I somehow make a difference through small everyday actions.
Because you know what? We aren’t owed anything in life. If you want a nice house, designer clothes, and nice vacations, you have to work for it. I love my master’s degree. I worked my ass off for it. And now I will work my ass off finding a job, whatever it is. Too often I’ve heard my generation saying they’re too good to wait tables, or work landscaping or take anything less than a corner office and a six-figure payout. Too often I’ve heard of people being forced in to college when maybe they’re better suited or desire to go in to a trade job. There is nothing wrong with working your ass off in a trade job. The men and women who keep our world running deserve out absolute respect. And let me be honest, they’re a heck of a lot more intelligent than at least half of the highly educated people I’ve come across in my life. Don’t get me wrong- education is important. But an education doesn’t always come from school. I wouldn’t trade my master’s degree for anything; it was the right choice for me. But the most important lessons I’ve learned aren’t in the classroom- they’ve been out in the big wide world. They’ve been about the importance of hard work, and taking life day-by-day and truly loving and appreciating what I have. And the best advice I ever heard in the classroom wasn’t about how to get a career, or climb the corporate ladder, or increase my bank account. It was about hard work and hope. “You can do anything for a little while, as long as you know it’s not forever.” By working through the rough patches and taking the crappy jobs, we can show the world Millennials aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. We can help raise the next generation to work hard as well. And little by little, we can change the world.
So get out there and kick ass. Work hard and don’t be afraid to get a little bit dirty. Let’s make Mike proud.