This CEO says you don't get to choose. I disagree.
It’s February 15, 2023. My son took my remote control and restarted my Netflix account somehow. So, if you read the previous newsletter, all of my complaining was for naught — at least for one more month.
Here’s the rundown:
A hot take from Mr. Wonderful
This CEO says you don’t get to choose. I disagree.
Numbers and links
A hot take from Mr. Wonderful
Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame weighs in on what’s important.
A few days ago, Kevin O’Leary — also known as “Mr. Wonderful,” and one of the numerous “sharks” from the TV show “Shark Tank” — sent out the above tweet.
It's an interesting take, to be sure.
You can lose your family and your dog, but it’s okay because your family and your dog don’t matter.
What matters is that you achieve success and become free. What does that mean? Who knows, but after you do it, you can do whatever you like.
It’s a strange thing to read, but if you take this sort of thinking and look at some workaholics in your life, or maybe some of the people in the Elon Musk strata of the world, there are probably a lot of people who subscribe to this mindset. Not Musk, specifically, but there are people who forgo everything for “success” — or, at least, what other people might deem as success.
What if “success” to you is having a wife and a dog? What if those things matter? Who is Mr. O’Leary talking to, exactly?
Obviously, Mr. O’Leary can say whatever he likes. But I do think this can be dangerous to some people. I’ve met people who think that earning a college degree is stupid because Bill Gates and Zuckerberg dropped out.
I think some of those same people could probably read a tweet like this and think “yeah, this guy is on to something.” I don’t know, maybe you do want to lose everything to become “free” or “successful,” or something. I just don’t think you should destroy your life to try and do it.
For the record, I’ve spoken with Mr. Leary before. I interviewed him a couple of times for stories, and both times, I came away thinking he was nice, thoughtful, and had a good sense of humor. He even gave me a deep dive into the intricacies of Rolex collecting — something I knew nothing about.
So, I do think that tweet was a joke. Even if it is, there are some less sophisticated among us who won’t be able to tell, and who may act on it. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that people will believe what they want to believe — and act on it.
Accordingly, it pains me to need to say it, but here it goes: Don’t destroy your family and get rid of your dog because the TV man told you to. You can become free and successful with Fido and your wife or whoever alongside you!
One does not simply choose…anything
Morgan Stanley’s CEO doesn’t think workers should have many options.
This caught my eye last month.
The CEO of Morgan Stanley, James Gorman, is evidently fired up about employees hoping to work remotely. During an interview at Davos last month (from this Fortune story), he said that it’s “not the employee’s choice.” He was referring to working remotely, but, he wasn’t done:
“They don’t get to choose their compensation, they don’t get to choose their promotion, they don’t get to be home five days a week.”
Here’s the full exchange:
Again, the primary target of his ire was remote work. He doesn’t like it. He wants people in his buildings, pretending to look at spreadsheets and bouncing from meeting to meeting, submitting tickets in Jira, and waxing philosophical about Scrum.
(Seriously, modern corporate America is a nightmare that I don’t think even H.P. Lovecraft could’ve even imagined)
Whatever — that’s fine. Remote work isn’t for everyone, and it’s not for every business. But what about the rest of his comments? People don’t get to choose their compensation, promotion (job title, I suppose?), or where they work? That may be the type of thing that gets a standing ovation from the lunch crowd at Capital Grille, but let’s get real: Workers get to choose all of it.
You absolutely do get to choose your compensation. While you may not get paid what you want, presumably, you agreed to take a job with what you’ve deemed to be an acceptable level of pay. If it’s not, you can quit and find another job. Right?
You get to choose your “promotion,” too — which I’m assuming stands for job title, or position, in this case. As with your compensation, you can take whatever position you want, or negotiate for the title you think you deserve. It doesn’t mean that you’ll get it, but again, all things being equal, you’ve probably taken a job with a title that you’re okay with.
Working remotely? That’s another element here, but again, you do get a say in that, too.
If you don’t like your pay, role, or work environment, you can make different choices. You can take other jobs. You can create your own job. That’s not to say that any of that is easy, of course, but you can do it.
You always have a choice.
Of course, there are times and circumstances in which you just take what you can get. We’ve all been there. But it’s usually transitory. That’s another thing to remember, especially as it relates to your career.
Jobs come and go. Everything is transitory.
The main thing I wanted to bring up in response to Mr. Gorman’s comments is to reiterate that you have choices. It’s a free market (ish) in the United States. Use it to your advantage. Always be applying for jobs, even if you’re happy. You don’t owe anyone anything — go out and get a better offer, and leverage it to get a raise. Or simply ask for one, if you feel you’ve earned it. Maybe you haven’t? That will be made abundantly clear to you.
Bug again: You have choices.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like that’s not the case. Keep bobbing and weaving. You’ve probably heard this called “job hopping,” and have been told it’s bad. But that’s kind of like a business sticking with a single supplier even when discounts are available…why would they do it? Use that same logic in your own career.
There’s nothing worse than feeling professionally trapped. But it often plays into an employer’s hands when we do. Take the power back. Use the market to your advantage. Don’t burn bridges, but if you’re unhappy, make moves to put yourself in a better position.
Numbers, links, and more
$100 billion: The size of the investment fund the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sitting on. (The Wall Street Journal)
57%: The percentage of teenage girls in the U.S. who feel “persistently sad or hopeless.” (Centers for Disease Control)
$14,500: The fine that Mars Wrigley will need to pay after two workers fell into a vat of chocolate. (OSHA)
Just for fun: A power ranking of the best things in the movie “Titanic.” (The Ringer)
Nail it: How to answer the tricky question “what are your salary expectations?” (Harvard Business Review)
Without precedent?: We may have never seen corruption of this magnitude in U.S. history. (The Washington Post)
Interesting read. I hated Corporate life so I got in and got out of the Rat Race early. Loved work, hated workplace sh*t. Not taking our comfortable retirement for granted so still working but on my terms, in my home office. Best feeling. #AgewithAttitude