Paying Your Dues

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.



2 Responses to Paying Your Dues

  1. Cathy says:

    Saw a Utube last week of an undergrad class and the prof asking who in the class had worked a summer job at minimum wage- McDonald’s, delivering newspapers, whatever…nobody raised their hands…sad.

  2. RT says:

    That is sad. Although to be fair, I didn’t get my first minimum wage job (or very close to it, anyway) until I was in college because my parents basically forbade me to work when I was supposed to be studying in high school. And then I went on sort of a rampage of menial jobs. Then again, that doesn’t count the work I did for my parents in their small business when I was growing up.

    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see if this trend reverses itself after this latest economic meltdown, and teenagers start looking for low-wage work again. Maybe everyone has learned the value of a dollar a little more? I’d like to think so.

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