Does Anyone Want To Earn Anything Anymore?
I got a comment the other day from someone saying something to the effect of “what are new writers supposed to do if all of the good publications won’t let them in?” Um…and you think that Internet Writer isn’t suffering from overwhelming entitlement?
When you are new, you start at the bottom. When you decide you want to be a journalist, you don’t call up the New York Times and say, “Hi. I will be there for my new job tomorrow at 7 a.m.” When you decide you want to be a doctor, you actually have to go to med school and do a residency. And even when you do, it doesn’t mean you can work at the best hospital in your state. You have to work to get there.
The thing is, the people who are thinking like this are looking for a short cut, a life hack, a quicker way to get what they want without any regard for the standards in place to prevent that. Excuse me, but who are you to think you can bypass the training and learning portion of life?
Tell me what real-life industry exists where you can be a complete novice in a certain arena, walk into a situation, and just get accepted at a higher level inside of that same arena because you asked. Asking isn’t doing. Does anyone want to earn anything anymore?
Maybe it’s the Internet of Things or the technological advancements of the modern world that make everyone think that earning doesn’t involve learning or more so, just involves clicking quickly through a 17-step course to get a PDF printout of a badge for completing something not certified by any actual entity that even exists, but whatever it is, it’s really a bit scary.
We used to think it was Millennials, but I am here to tell you it absolutely is not Millennials — it’s people. Lazy people. Entitled people. Self-absorbed people. They are the problem with this culture that thinks that just because they are, they deserve.
Is anyone willing to put in the work and see where it goes anymore? Are you willing to publish ten stories that no one even reads until the day that someone does, without you following everyone just to make them pay attention to you? Are you willing to take an unpaid internship and prove yourself until you earn a job at the company of your dreams?
The Head Coach of the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, started as a summer intern with the team doing video coordinating in 1995. He’s now been with the Heat for 25 years. He proved himself and it paid off.
There are people selling courses on how to sell a course. People emailing you about how to write the best emails. People writing, behind the paywall, about how to make money writing. Do you see the circular approval matrix we’ve now approved? This is basically human centipede.
And it’s not their fault. They are smart because they know we will pay for these things. We are so desperate to hack our way to the top that we forget that we actually have to get really good at what we do first. We don’t want to earn anything, we just want it handed to us along with a warm glass of milk. We are the problem.
You know what, I want to be an astronaut. I am going to email NASA tomorrow to ask if I can join so I guess, by next week, I should be in training. But maybe I can just do an online training course, on 2x speed, and just show up ready for launch next week. Seems reasonable.
If you are thinking, well, writing isn’t traveling to space, that’s part of the problem and why writing is the new participation trophy. It doesn’t matter what industry it is, why do people these days refuse to understand that to get to the top you have to earn it (the current President, of course, excluded as a catastrophic anomaly)?
If you are new here or new anywhere, why don’t you take the time to earn some respect instead of following a bunch of people to get a fake version of it?
“I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.” — J. D. Salinger
Maybe really read what people write instead of just browsing and randomly highlighting so that they may do the same in return. Maybe stop tagging people as a way to get them to notice you and start connecting by putting in the work to build a relationship.
If you want to know how to get better at something, it’s going to involve doing it over and over again. You are going to fail. People are going to tell you that you aren’t any good at whatever it is you want to do. But one day, you will know you are good enough and then it won’t matter who says yes or no because there will be people who are asking you for your work instead of you asking them to feature it.
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