Vote or Don’t Friggin’ Complain! Seriously… ever.

May 26, 2009

Young people make me sad sometimes. We’re a substantial portion of the voting population, yet politicians running for public office hardly listen to the things we have to say about the issues we care about. And I don’t fault them for that one bit. The fact of the matter is that, by in large, we don’t vote. Maybe we vote a little more in presidential elections – especially when there’s a charismatic black guy running for office – but honestly, we’re pathetic. And I hear people complain SO MUCH about the state of the government and our country, but does the average 20something vote in every (especially local) election? Methinks not, friends.

Excuse me if this is something of a rant, but it just bugs and disheartens me that our youth (myself included, of course) are so short-sighted and self-righteous at the same time. I voted by mail in today’s election (Editor’s note: This was originally written on May 19th, the day of a California state special election), and even though I knew it was a very important (that’s why they call it a “special”) election I still had to really push myself to get my ballot out there.

According to the L.A. Times, some 2.4 million Californians cast ballots by mail for the latest state election compared to back in November, when 13.7 million voters put in their presidential tallies. An 82.5% drop-off from six months ago? In the midst of the biggest economic crisis since your grandparents were graduating from high school? Really!?

OK, fine. I can accept that 20somethings don’t quite comprehend how important these elections are, or what long-lasting effects they’ll have. I can take that because no one is quite sure how these propositions will affect California’s economic outlook (as goes with all elections, really). But understand that if you don’t regularly vote in elections, both state and local, although local ones probably have more immediate impact on your life, you have no right to complain about your government. Ever.


Paying Your Dues

May 26, 2009

Yahoo! via The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about age discrimination. Against us! From everything I’ve seen and heard from colleagues, present and past, I have to say there seems to be some credibility to this argument. To what degree is questionable, but I’ve definitely heard of older employees with more to lose not getting the axe whilst better performing, younger, employees are thrown by the wayside.

The most important part of the article to me, though, comes at the end where author Dana Mattioli asserts that now is an important time to put in extra work and to make sure everyone knows you’re paying your dues, hard. I have to say that volunteering for extra grunt work (as a stepping stone to asking for more real work) is always a practical idea, but I agree that maybe now is a more important time than usual to do it.

Is your company giving fewer, if any, pay raises? Are they actually handing out salary cuts? This advice doesn’t really just go for 20somethings, but I imagine the older generation who still have jobs already know how to play the game. Remember, office politics is all about relativity. When your performance and salary review comes can you tell your boss with a straight face that you worked that much harder than your peers? How much work did you take on? (Note: at the end of the day, ALL work has to get done, so grunt work may seem like a chore to you, but it is still valuable to the company. Just make sure your boss recognizes that!)

Upon reflection, I think I feel compelled to write about this because of a related section of that story that quotes author Bruce Tulgan as saying, “Twentysomething professionals tend to demand flexibility, responsibility and high pay.” What employer would want that kind of worker these days? But it’s true! Even though I’ve seen a multitude of hard working twentysomething, I’ve seen just as many new grads and young professionals walk around with a sense of entitlement thinking that being offered any position short of manager status is a personal affront. No dues paid, no long hours worked. “I have a college degree, damn it!”

Welcome to the real world, kids.