The Trophy Kids Grow Up

A few weeks ago I finished a book written by Ron Alsop titled The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workforce. The reason I decided to read the book is typically when I get together with my older friends no matter what their occupation they have some pretty interesting stories about young adults currently entering the workplace.

As this article points out college students opinions of themselves and their employers opinions of them differ vastly. Students believe they are excellent, enthusiastic and energetic and their employers view them as entitled with outlandish expectations. Most of the book gives examples which were pretty outrageous. One story was about a college student who had just started with the company and balked at the fact that he wasn’t allowed to meet directly with the CEO of the company to discuss his ideas.

Other stories pointed to the parents of this generation who seem to be highly involved in the lives of their children. Some brought their parents to job interviews with them. Some parents would call to complain that their child didn’t get a big enough salary increase and wanted to know why.

I would not only recommend this entertaining book to an older person, but to young people as well just starting out on their career path so both can get the other side’s prospective and help bridge the generation gap at work. It did seem like the author spent a lot of time covering generation Y’s negative traits and not quite enough time on their positive ones.

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A Candidate for Everyone ?

I just finished reading a book written by Hugh Hewitt who is a talk show host on the East Coast and he makes a compelling case as to why Mitt Romney would make an excellent president. The reason I decided to read the book is because I have had friends on both sides of the political spectrum that say they would consider voting for him if he becomes the Republican nominee.

Romney’s business qualifications are impressive especially the work he did while employed at Bain and Company and the amazing work he did building a consensus and basically saving the Salt Lake City Olympics. In fact Hewitt asks Romney if the Bain Way (assembling all diverse view points, pouring over massive amounts of data and sustained argument and counter argument) could be applied to our bloated Federal Government. Mitt’s answer was yes, but said there has to be a common interest in achieving success and it will not work against mindless obstructionism.

So based on business success one would expect Romney to be higher in the polls then he currently is, but the problem as the book points out and makes an effort to refute lies in his stance on cultural issues which are dear to the hearts of most Republicans. If Romney becomes the nominee of the Republican party the You Tube video below will most likely be played over and over again prior to November 2012.

I found this book interesting and definitely worth reading and I would very much consider voting for Romney if he becomes the nominee, the only problem is which Romney will I get on the social issues if I do vote for him ? A portion of the book does dig into his Mormon faith which I found quite hard to grasp, however Mitt’s religious beliefs would not keep me from voting for him if I decide not to vote for the president.

Occupy Wall Street

I keep reading about the antics of these “Occupiers” of Wall Street in an effort to figure out what it is they want. The best I can come up with in a nutshell is: something for nothing. Forgiveness of loans, redistribution of wealth, better jobs, jobs in “my chosen field.” These “demands” seem akin to what the Greeks are rioting about. The Greeks seem to be saying that, notwithstanding that their country is broke because of the policies of the country providing government supported income, health care, housing etc., they are unwilling for the government to cue back on these programs upon which the Greek population (or some of them) have become dependent – for everything. I wonder why the Occupiers don’t see that the policies of Greece and, perhaps, some of the other European countries, are what like what they seek and that they have failed, proving that more government largess is not an answer.

The Occupiers say they represent 99% of the population that makes less than the 1% who for whom Wall Street is a metaphor. I wonder how many of the Occupiers are in the 1% between 98% and 99% or in the 9% between 90% and 99% of wage earners. I doubt that the upper ten percent of wage earners are standing around in a park somewhere complaining that they don’t have a job in their chosen field.

Yesterday the Occupiers shut down the second largest port in the country. Not surprisingly, it took place in Oakland, California. And, to what end? As a surprise to no one, some of the protesters got out of control, started some fires and got arrested. The “organizers” or leaders blamed “anarchists”. (Does the Haymarket Riots come to mind?) How can this anarchy help their cause, whatever it is? And, you know what? I bet that none of the top 10% of wage earners were among the Oakland marchers or are spending any time in a park carrying a sign that says “give me.”

Is our government in collaboration with big business? Of course. It always has been. Certainly it has been so in my lifetime. President Obama willingly accepts money form the Wall Street tycoons for his election and re-election campaigns as do the Republican candidates seeking the presidential nomination of that party. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were 1%-ers of their day. Eisenhower named Charles Wilson, the head of General Motors, the major defense contractor of the time, as his Defense Secretary and Wilson was (mis)quoted as saying “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.”

Does the fact that government and business have been in bed together in the past mean we shouldn’t seek change? Of course not. But one can make a pretty decent argument that what drives capitalism is good for the country and that protesting against another person’s success while asking for something for nothing isn’t likely to provide change or even useful guide lines for change.

There is no free beer.

Seeing Seger, 35 Long Years Later

Tomorrow night Kish and I and a bunch of our friends are going to see Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at Nationwide Arena.

The show is supposed to be good, at least according to this review of Seger’s Ypsilanti, Michigan concert published in the Morning Sun newspaper.   It’s going to be kind of weird to see the concert, however, because I went to see Bob Seger when he came to Columbus in, I’m guessing, 1976.  He played either Vets’ Memorial or Mershon Auditorium.  As I recall, it was a good show — which is not surprising.  This is a guy who has been playing rock ‘n’ roll for years.  Songs like Katmandu and Night Moves and Old Time Rock ‘N’ Roll are classics.  And, I also have to like any Midwestern musical artist named Bob, even if he was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

What’s weird is when I think of how much I have changed since that concert in 1976.  If my current self were somehow able to meet my 1976 self, I would probably think I was a real jerk.  Given how much I’ve changed in the 35 (!) intervening years, how can Bob Seger possibly be performing, with the same fervor, the same songs he wrote so long ago?  You have to hand it to him.

The Occupy Protests Turn Weird

We seem to have reached a kind of turning point with the “Occupy” protests.  Last night’s violence in Oakland, among other incidents, raises more general questions about the “Occupy” protests.  Who are these folks, really, and what do they want?

Some mayors have lost patience with protests that disrupt neighborhoods and interfere with commerce.  In other areas the “Occupy” protests appear to have attracted the attention of criminal elements who sense the presence of trusting souls who are ripe for the picking. In still other places the protesters look to be lashing out indiscriminately, and doing curious things like deciding to occupy random buildings

The protests seems to be searching for a common theme — and I predict that the lack of a common theme ultimately will be fatal.  This isn’t like the ’60s, when protesters of all stripes — from the Weathermen to the Black Panthers to guys who just didn’t want to fight in some faraway country for some ill-defined cause — were unified in their opposition to the Vietnam War.  Economic issues, in contrast, are much more diffuse.   It’s one thing to say, in effect:  “The economy sucks!”  Most people would agree with that sentiment.  But after you get past the general, and start to focus on the specific, the fractures appear.  For every “Occupy” protester who wants to tear down our current capitalistic system and replace it with a New World Order, how many of the protesters would be perfectly happy to just have a job in the field that they studied in college?

A Happily Hirsute Face

I’ve had a beard for much of my adult life.  I first grew one in college and kept it until I started a job after graduation.  I grew it back when I was in law school, then shaved it off when I began working at the firm,  About 13 years ago, when I was feeling lazy on a longer-than-normal family vacation to Florida, I didn’t shave — and I’ve been a bearded soul ever since.

I like having a beard.  Why?  Because it somewhat hides my chins.  When you reach your 50s, every bit of skin just seems to sag, and it’s not pretty.  Any form of cover — even if it is coarse, increasingly gray and even white hairs — is preferable to those ever-trembling wattles.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that I wish my facial hair were even more extensive than it is.  The werewolf, although cursed, had the right idea in this regard.  If my beard covered my forehead, it would help to mask the receding hairline and cover that weird, vertical crease that magically appears above my left eye when I wake up every morning.  If the hair grew right up to the area around my eyelids, the unfortunate world wouldn’t be exposed to the spidery crow’s feet that are spreading across my face like the cracks in a broken windshield.

Facial hair covers a lot of mileage.