A book I’ve really liked recently was Will You Please Just F*ck Off, It’s Our Turn Now: Holding Baby Boomers to Account, by Ryan Heath. It’s about how baby boomers won’t admit when their ideas are old.

Here is a great example of this problem: Jack Welch (and Suzy Welch) writing ridiculous career advice that assumes generations X and Y have the same goals and aspirations that Jack Welch did. But he is old (maybe too old for that spritely wife Suzy) and definitely too old to be telling people to work like he worked, because no one wants to anymore.

Welch tells people to stay with a bad boss at a good company instead of going with a good boss to another company. The assumptions behind this advice are outdated. Welch assumes people usually stay at jobs for more than a year and a half (not true). He assumes everyone is hanging around to get a promotion (not true). He assumes people care more about a company name than what they learn there (really, really not true).

For a tirade against the continuous flow of irrelevant advice from people like Jack Welch, read Ryan Heath.

6 replies
  1. finance girl
    finance girl says:

    Yah, he and Suzy’s article started appearing every week in BusWeek a few months ago. I actually like some of their advice, but then other advice I have been skeptical of. However overall I think they are on target. For example, I have this week’s right here: 1) how to navigate a family owned business and 2) what defines success. Did you see that answer for #2? Not outmoded at all and IMO is spot on (winning isn’t measured in only economic terms).

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    I actually went out and bought the magazine so that I could read the advice that you refer to. So in a way you could say that Jack and Suzy are increasing magazine sales.

    But I still don’t like them. This is my problem. I can’t separate who they are from the advice they are giving. Jack is so, so competitive. And his whole life was about winning, and I don’t see him as a particulalrly multidimensional guy who is finding innovative definitions of success. So hearing him talk about how you have to have your own version of success when his is so increibly conventional really rings false to me.

  3. finance girl
    finance girl says:

    Probably similiar to like Steve Ballmer talking about how important emotional intelligence is! (rings false). But I still like their advice, and think the workplace really does come down to competition. Then again consider where I spent the last 6 years! :-)

  4. jrandom42
    jrandom42 says:

    Got laid off by Neutron Jack after bringing in a serious project ahead of schedule and under budget. Got it rolled out and it was an immediate hit, reducing complexity and cost in the parts ordering system. Our reward? At the post project meeting, got handed envelopes that supposedly had our completion bonuses, only to find a pink slip and security waiting outside to escort us out, without even time to clean out our desks.

    It’s been 26 years, but I still hate Neutron (like the neutron bomb, kills off the people but leaves the buildings intact) Jack Welch with the burning intensity of a hundred thousand supernovas.

  5. Top
    Top says:

    I agree with this. If you ask me, Jack’s an anachronism telling people to live unhappy so that they can make slow money and be happy.

    Jack, if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, you are not going to be happy!

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