Thursday, June 17, 2010

TMR's Message To Millennials (Part II)

TMR's Message To Millennials (Part I) can be found here:

Well, it looks like my death struggle with Glenn Reynolds might be over - good - because I think the man is important and, considering I read him about a billion times a day, I want to think the best of him.

I won't belabor the point, but I don't think disagreements between colleagues - through the limited medium of the internet - is worthy of disliking, or punishing, each other,...

Unless they're Andrew Sullivan or Charles Johnson.

Thanks, Glenn! You do blogging proud.

O.K., here's the main criticism of my last millennial post:

"'Take jobs from your parents or your parent's friends. Do manual labor. Mow lawns. Offer to paint houses cheap. Spruce up people's surroundings. Take jobs away from the illegals.'

This advice is virtually useless to the millions of unemployed college graduates with non-dischargable, recently-nationalized student loan debt.

That kind of work doesn't leave enough money to live off of after the government garnishes their cut of your gross income, and it'll only get worse as the various new healthcare costs kick in. Those of us trying to start our own businesses run up against the brick wall of banks being paid to not lend us money (thanks, Fed!) - if our post student-loan credit even allows us to ask in the first place."
Dude, I told you this shit wasn't going to be obvious at first, and that you've got to 1) band together, and 2) use those educations you're paying so dearly to acquire - the question is, how?

Well, you've got to get your hustle on - make a little money on something and, then, turn it over into more money.

It's 24/7, baby - what? Did you think it was going to be easy?

Banding together - and yea, that's me, above:

I've been performing music, professionally, for 20+ years - without knowing how to play an instrument - because I always focused on good song writing (it has always been obvious to me that I'll never be as good as the best instrumentalists).

My gift is in having "golden ears" and a natural understanding of theory.

What this means, though, is that I can't see my best work without a band.

Sure, I can do some decent work by mixing and programming shit, but, to get that transcendent feeling that one can only achieve LIVE!, I've got to rely on the willing participation of others.

Here's the problem:

Unless I have total control over the project, there's always, say, a guitar player (it's almost always a guitar player) who thinks shit that's working should go another way, because he wants to "express his vision" - which usually involves these douchebags being allowed to perform extended lead guitar solos - whether the songs call for them or not.

Look - here's a great song - centered on a great rhythm guitar performance (which most guitarists, even today, think is below them) but no lead guitar solo:

That "guitar hero" attitude is always a recipe for conflict - and, many times, a guarantee that a winning project will never get off the ground.

When I say millennials have to find a good idea and band together, it has to work the same way - find the person with the winning project and use your individual skill set to make it happen - fuck wanting to be in charge.

The point is doing something that'll get you paid. (I'm not above singing back-up for a good band.)

Struggling by yourself, to get your own individual business off the ground, is useless if it's not built around something unique and if you lack the resources to make it happen.

And as far as doing manual labor is concerned:

I will do anything to get the money for making an important project happen.

I don't care what it is, or how long it takes (because, I know, current debts do have to be paid).

But bringing that winning idea to fruition is the goal.

Lose sight of that and you're right - nothing is ever going to happen.

But five, ten, twenty or more people doing shit work (or even buying stuff cheap online and selling it for a profit) and pooling the rewards to get somewhere, can't fail.

(O.K., sure it can, but if you're determined, it's not likely.)

Some of the ways young people fuck it up for themselves is through trying to listen to every idea - even those proposed by dumbshits - when the good one is already out there.

They do a lot of that in France.

Another is buying into the NewAge/Buddhist bullshit:

That the person with the good idea should have to be all humble - or else you're not going to go along.

(Be humble yourself, asshole: you didn't have the idea that's going to solve your problems.)

And, of course, the worst is deciding to go into something illegal, thinking they'll make some "quick money", without considering the ugly let's-stop-everything-in-it's-tracks downside - like going to jail or prison - or the risks of dealing with criminals, and by that I mean death.

There really are no shortcuts.

Not to mention, even if by some small chance you do succeed by going that route, the reward isn't going to be as sweet - because you know you cheated - and cheating ignites a culture that allows others (including those you might be working with) to begin cheating on you, which is self-defeating.

What if you guys have another brilliant project waiting in the wings?

Can you trust the others now, to honestly work together on that, when you shorted each other on the first one?

It's a slippery slope.

What you want to be - and what all Americans want you to be - is winners.

But to do that, you've got to have a winning mentality, because that's what pulls others to your side, and inspires them to give you a hand.

There's nothing corny, or old fashioned, about it - it's how this country, and capitalism, work.

And getting this country back to work - not Obama's worthless government handouts or disgusting Chicago thuggery - are what we need now.

You've got to learn to fish, guys.

We've got to, once again, teach each other to fish.

By doing that - and giving each other a hand at it - we'll finally get our mojo back, and redeem the honor, and the bounty, our predecessors have left to us.

We're Americans - the greatest fucking people on earth.

I'm sure Glenn Reynolds knows this.

Because he - and the irrepressible Ann Althouse - are surely, by example, trying to bring out the best in all of us.

Did you like this? Then go to today's post.


  1. 18 June 2010


    Great commentary, both parts. Will ensure my post-millennial teenage gurlz read.

    Regarding McKean Evans and his group of millennials, hard solid advice: they should try to join the military (if the military will have them). In addition to serving their country they might gain a bit of maturity, and they certainly will not be living in their parent's basement.

    If we think the millennials are the next "greatest generation" then the best of that group are serving in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in a hundred places around the world.

    They are NOT in their parent's basements.

    Those who joined out of high school and who now are returning to the States are finding employment, or they are going to college (courtesy of the GI Bill), a bit older, a bit more mature, and battle hardened. The are not whining.

    It is all about life choices. When I was coming up, my depression-era parents knew that the choices you made effected your future possibilities.

    Otherwise stated, you make the bed you sleep in.

    It is not too late for McKean Evans and others. But it is time for them to man up.

    Take good care,

  2. I enjoyed both parts as well. I have to second, third and fourth what you say about wanting to be in charge. People thirty-five and under have to do their own thing if they want to get anywhere. The top level is not going anywhere and will probably stay there as long as Ted Kennedy did in his job.

  3. I don't buy into the idea that the military will make a man of you. My experience is that those who are men going in are men going out.

    I don't buy into the idea that wisdom comes with age. The older wise people are drawn from the pool of younger wise people. They stand out because many of the unwise young have been culled out.

  4. Word to the wise - if you're not making enough money, you can stall off the student loan people until you are making enough. Ask about forbearance, because the banks aren't going to volunteer the information. That having been said - great pair of posts.

  5. 1: Get out of bed early.
    2: Go to work.
    3: Work.

    Oh yeah - and dress, groom, and carry yourself like you are actually serious about what you are doing and are trustworthy. Because employers remember the guy that comes in a bit early to get himself set, looks like he knows what he is doing, and then actually does what they hired him for.

    I know that is such a surprising, square, thing, but...

    -Mikey NTH

  6. Yoo Hoo, Millennials! Your situation is NOT unique.

    I was your age during the Great Recession of the early 80s, in the Rust Belt, where unemployment reached 20% in some places.

    Yeah, it sucked not to work in my profession after I graduated. But it sucked less to be working at all. Besides, I learned a few things and kept my head above water and made my student loan payments every month.

    It took me four years to find a job in my field. Those four years didn't kill me. It was discouraging, sure, but life is sometimes discouraging. Or maybe your mommy forgot to tell you that.

    There are Millennials who are out there kicking butt and taking names, and I applaud them. Those who are expecting to be handed a job in their field just because they went to college are behaving like spoiled brats and need a reality check.

  7. Good advice!

    Though one might add something to the effect that blamin' and complainin' have limited value and after a round or two actually hold one back.

    The millenials have their work cut out for them. They are still the largest demographic, after blacks and Jews, backing Obama whose policies will hurt millenials the most. They are also starting from a work ethic that is widely known to be slack.

    Yes, one can complain about us Boomers for many reasons, but when we finally realized that we weren't going to live in Woodstock Nation, we showed up for work and worked hard.

  8. "Yeah, it sucked not to work in my profession after I graduated. But it sucked less to be working at all. Besides, I learned a few things and kept my head above water and made my student loan payments every month."

    Herein lies the problem. Assuming I can find employment at minimum wage (not assured), I need to be paying at least $400 a month on my loans or I'm in default. And my rate & debt isn't that bad. And I'm making ~$1400 a month, before taxes.

    Do you see the problem? That $400 is my interest alone. I need to be paying $6-700. God forbid O owe 6 digits like some, my engineering and grad schools were cheap.

    Forbearance simply means interest compounds against me.

    And it turns out the military doesn't take everybody who applies, no questions asked. Supply and demand applies there, too.

  9. At what point does "need more money" become "don't need money if it's not enough?"

    Just asking.

    Something that working for "not enough" does is it keeps you working and sends a huge "this person is willing to work, this person is not a prima dona" message to prospective employers.

    You're going to be competing for jobs, if you're not jumping in there making jobs for yourself, with other people just like yourself who have a track record of not being afraid to work.

    I was helping a friend move a few weeks ago and my daughter called some of her friends to help. Everyone was helpful, but one young man *worked*, and every single adult person there, if they had a business would have hired him on the spot, even if they didn't *need* another employee because there was simply no way that he would not have earned his keep and no sane business person could have afforded to lose the chance to hire him.

    (I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that he's already employed.)

    I also hit young adulthood in the early 80s when unemployment was higher than it is now, and as always for young people it was double that, and in our depressed geographical region double that again.

    But young people never think that grown-ups know what they're talking about because they always think that they are unprecedented.

  10. With respect to the military "making a man of you": The military seems to accelerate the maturation process (certainly a whole lot more than living in the parents' basement). People are put in the position of having greater responsibilities and greater duties than normally experienced in civilian life at the same age. The military also tends to show people that they can do more than they thought they could.

  11. I don't know if I'd call John Butler (the guy who has his hands together) French or a Buddhist, but he's known as "The Millionaire Hippie" in Western Australia.

  12. "Those of us trying to start our own businesses run up against the brick wall of banks being paid to not lend us money (thanks, Fed!)"

    That bit of comment is true to a point - and that is it's not new news. I started a business in 1980 to manufacture and market unique industrial products.

    One of the earliest discouraging lessons I learned is banks don't loan money to start up a business.

    You could borrow $1.00 for every $1.35 you put up for collateral if you looked like on paper that you could make the payment, but they don't care to, or even have the capacity to evaluate a venture that doesn't exist yet.

    I went ahead without help from banks or the government, even though I had about zero capital and was so broke I could only afford to eat Crisco sandwiches.

    It was very hard but I found dozens of ways around the capital shortage and they worked. The business grew beyond my wildest dreams, and I have never given any bank any of my business other then checking accounts.

    I could write a couple of thousand pages on this but I'll sum it up with this:

    1. If you really intend to start a business and work hard, you'll do it without complaining and without the "institutions" of banks and the government. These people wear diapers and you really don't need them on your back.

    2. If you're going to collapse every time you hit an obstacle, you really shouldn't be starting or running a business. Bank loan or not, you're toast.