Sunday, January 22, 2012


I've posted very little, lately, but this article shook me out of my torpor. Surprisingly, it does not deal with law.

The article, How Much You Study In College Determines What You'll Get Paid For The Rest Of Your Life, cites a 2008 study alleging a strong correlation between studying time and future earnings. It ends with the advice, "It's proof that hard work, not IQ, is what really makes people successful." When you stop laughing, read on.

Speaking as someone who spent every spring break in the library, so as to knock off papers and free time for exams, I call BS. I also learned first-hand about group dynamics: In an eight-member group, three people will do all the work.

After graduating magna cum laude, including good grades in my major, business administration, I then scrambled for permanent, full-time work, finally finding some in July. Following a couple of shit jobs — if you ever work for a small company and see fifteen different initials in the files, it's a shit job — I departed for law school. My college GPA helped smooth the way. College so soured me on the payback for hard work that I didn't focus on my law school grades. Guess how that turned out?

Back in the mid-1990s, I briefly had a small web site for which I wrote an essay called Don't Work for Clowns. It's printed out somewhere and I'll post it when I find it. In the interim, here's some advice that is worth every penny you've paid for it.

  1. Don't work for clowns
  2. Work smart, not hard. Learned this from my high school gym teacher, who was otherwise an asshole, and, in retrospect, it's the best advice I've ever gotten. A memorable ad (WSJ?) expressed it more eloquently: "If you keep your nose to the grindstone, all you'll get is a flat nose"
  3. Who you know is more important than what you know. A corollary for you corporate types is that who you drink with, matters
  4. Network. This doesn't mean cold-calling alumni, though you can try that. It means getting involved and making contacts. In short, you should be constantly, unintentionally networking. It's essential to business and influence but doesn't come naturally to most people
  5. Have wealthy, well-connected parents. You don't? Me, neither. Sucks to be us
  6. Your reward for doing good work is more work
  7. Again, for you corporate types, I was once given the advice to be nice to everyone because you never know who your next boss will be. This came to pass one day, fortunately, with me becoming the boss

I'm writing this from work on a Sunday. FML.


  1. I would add a number eight: if every day you do a little more than is expected of you, every day a little more will be expected from you.

  2. PresTTTige,

    You know the score. The bastards and hags keep telling us that "hard work" will set us apart. Guess what? Legions are working their ass to the bone, only to see their jobs eliminated, outsourced, offshored, replaced by IT and software programs, etc.

    Apparently, the pigs who direct us to "work hard" - as if this thought never occurred to any of us - have never worked a day of honest labor, in their lives. If they had, then they would know that many hard-working souls have worked themselves out of a job. Examples include construction crews who have completed the project before schedule, and doc review monkeys who have done their tasks too quickly.

    In the end, connections and personal/family wealth go a HELL of a lot farther than hard work. Look at the lazy rich bastards in college, who manage to walk straight into a management position. Most of these people slept through class, never studied on weekends, hardly studied, spent most evenings drunk, etc.

    Juxtapose this with the poor, unconnected kids who bust their ass, work hard, study all the time. Many from this group find that their reward for graduating with a 3.9 GPA, is to work at a call center.

    Hard work is one factor, and it CERTAINLY is not the most important one.