By Ryan Healy – Safe for me is a cushy, decent job that pays well. Safe is making a steady paycheck that will cover my student loans, rent and living expenses with a small amount left over to put in the bank. Safe is having the spending money to eat out on Tuesday, go to happy hour on Thursday and buy a couple of rounds at the bar on Saturday.

Safe sounds really fun. So why do I find it so boring?

I have an intense desire to know what its like to scrounge for a month’s rent. I want to know what it’s like to say I can’t afford to eat out tonight, and really mean it. I truly do believe that living like this builds character, and everyone should probably experience it at some point.

But more importantly, I want to know that every action I take can result in my success or my failure. A safe job does not provide this dynamic. If you make a great presentation to a group of stakeholders for your company, you may receive a pat on the back and your boss might consider you for promotion. If you bomb the presentation, chances are you will still receive your paycheck every other Friday.

It sounds a hell of a lot more exciting to make a great sales pitch to a group of investors and convince them to fund your business for the next six months. Or you could bomb the pitch and be forced to get a part time bartending job just to pay rent. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

Many people my age feel the same way. They think safe is boring and they want to take a risk. The problem is, safe is comfortable and risk is scary. Not many people can handle dropping everything and starting a business with no immediate source of income. Many people don’t even want to run a business, but they still want some excitement from their jobs.

So I think there can be a compromise. Most young, single, ambitious people would probably do a little gambling with their salaries if the opportunity arose. It would be a lot of fun and incredibly motivating to wager $10,000 of my salary on whether or not I can bring the company an extra $50,000 in revenue through my actions. Systems would have to be set up to measure this sort of thing, but the increase in output could definitely cover the costs. Not to mention the massive savings from increased employee retention rates.

Maybe this option is a little too out there for most employers, but the bottom line is a safe, steady, paycheck leads to boredom for entry-level workers. Boredom leads to job hopping or uninspired work, both of which affect a company’s bottom line. If companies can figure out how to make a paycheck a little more interesting, and the job a little less “safe,” they will undoubtedly gain some more inspired, productive employees.

Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution

50 replies
  1. Maureen Sharib
    Maureen Sharib says:

    Building $50,000 in revenue would bring what to the bottom line? Companies are more risk averse than most people so help them with that arcane number and you might get some takers. You have a very interesting idea I applaud that goes beyond investing in a company’s “stock” – which might be their first answer to you. You’re looking for a “stake” (that would pay you more?) but with your employer’s blessing (guarantee). “…but the increase in output could definitely cover the costs.” Are you sure? You almost have to be to capture their attention.

    “Not to mention the massive savings from increased employee retention rates.” Hmmm, this is another interesting concept. Not sure as to how it would play out, given the fact that, as you said, “Many people don't even want to run a business, but they still want some excitement from their jobs.”

    You can’t turn “want some excitement from their jobs” into wanting to “run a business”, IMHO, no matter what color lipstick you put on it. At least not in this country where people have traditionally been educated towards an “employee” mentality.

    I think this may be why gambling institutions thrive. They offer the average consumer a short-cut to getting their brains beat out.

    Maureen

  2. Darin Persinger
    Darin Persinger says:

    I agree the safe route is boring.

    I disagree that the corporate, employee job is the safe route.

    An employer really need no reason to let you go. Downsizing, economics, failed project.

    If you job is to keep funding your own business and keep money flowing, you know what you have to do every morning.

    When I wake up in the morning I know I have a job because I’m my own boss and sleep with the HR department head.

    If I worked for a corporate company, how would I know if the powers at be decided to change the direction and this means no more job for me?

    ********

    Darin,

    Of course, there is always the possibility of being let go in a corporate job, but it seems to me that if you are a decent performer and get things done, the risk of being fired is pretty low. If you run your own business and can’t keep money flowing for a month or two, you are far from safe, even if you know what needs to be done you can’t always count on the money.

    -Ryan

  3. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    You have an intense desire to find out what it’s like to scrounge for a month’s rent?

    Don’t most people find that out when they are at university or in their very first job?

    Sounds like an intriguing idea to be able to gamble your salary though.

  4. Justin Davey
    Justin Davey says:

    Purpose and mission in life and career are everything for today’s twentysomethings. Without risk, life is unsatisfying. And what’s even better is that it’s easier than ever for a person to carve his or her own path in life.

  5. Sakoro
    Sakoro says:

    I agree that you need to take risks in your 20s, but some of your logic only applies to people who have a cushion to fall back on. People who don’t have parents/ family/ trust fund to fall back on (or who have dependents) simply can’t take as big of risks.

  6. James
    James says:

    Having been a twentysomthing until a few months ago, I agree that there’s a lot of value in finding out your risk tolerance earlier rather than later. I’m still surprised that I was a lot happier and slept a lot better when hitting rock bottom as an unsuccessful entrepreneur (no customers, no money coming in, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt) than I was in my previous ultra-safe job.

    On the “gambling your salary” idea, commission-based jobs essentially follow that model. There are many kinds of jobs that, either formally or in the form of large performance-based bonuses, kick back a portion of an employee’s value-add to that employee.

  7. Matt Bingham
    Matt Bingham says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts – this idea is intriguing. I agree with you that safe can be boring – but as previous posters have stated, it’s not always without excitement. Companies have no quams about letting someone go based on direction changes or budget cuts. Everyone is expendable it seems which makes today’s job market a little more “risky”. The salary negotiation is interesting too – it mimics that of professional athletes and their “incentive” based contracts. The only thing I would watch out for are bad managers who won’t necessarily give the credit where deserved.

    ********

    Thanks, Matt. It does seem a little like “incentive” based contracts for pro athletes, I’m going to look into that.

    -Ryan

  8. Kevin Gossett
    Kevin Gossett says:

    Want to “gamble” a portion of your salary? Easy! Go get a 100% commission sales job. There are loads of those out there in media and technology and no better way for the right personality type to make a lot of money, and it’s all on your initiative.

    Sure, there are companies that will demand “employee” rules of you (in the office at such and such time, strict vacation guidelines) while paying you on commission (avoid them) but there ARE companies out there that appreciate sales professionals and cater to the good ones.

    You can have security or opportunity, but not both. Your attitude of wanting attitude, even with the failures that can happen, FAR more than the desire for complete security will.

    Great post.

  9. Kevin Gossett
    Kevin Gossett says:

    Sorry, that sentence should read:

    Your attitude of wanting opportunity, even with the failures that can happen, will pay off for you FAR more than the desire for complete security would.

  10. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Although your posts often have validity, the fact that you’re an entry level employee and have no idea what it’s like to scrimp makes me question your views.

    When one overcomes great strides to reach success it is definitively more admirable then those that just spout optimism.

    How is someone to be admired if they overcome nothing?
    Maintaining unrentless determination inspite of hardships is what makes one successful.

    The fact that you can’t relate to that makes me wonder…

    Instincts are telling me you may have rich parents.

  11. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    With out a doubt you are correct. Employees like myself want to be challenged and feel that their work makes a difference. Safe and routine leads to staleness…

  12. Joy
    Joy says:

    As a 24-year-old entrepreneur who just a year ago had that safe, comfortable job, I understand what you are saying. I can’t even afford to pay myself yet, but I am energized to wake up everyday, knowing that making the right phone call or sending the right press release can change my fortune.

    But it’s naive to think that this can be done on one’s own. It’s hard to enjoy the excitement that struggle brings if homelessness is an impending reality. That’s where familial support comes in, either in the form of rent money or a place to stay.

  13. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t understand how can you say you have an intense desire to know what’s its like to scrounge for a month’s rent or not afford to eat out when in previous posts you have stated that it’s a good idea to save money by crashing at your parents.

    You reject a “safe” job because you count on the safety net of your parents. I’m a millennial and to be honest, I don’t think you understand the real world because you refuse to live in it. And it’s a little hard to take advice from someone who seems so wish-washy and changes their mind at a the tip of a hat.

  14. Josh
    Josh says:

    Romanticizing barely making ends meet (w/ no safety net like family) can only come from someone who has never really done it.

  15. Liz
    Liz says:

    Hi Ryan,
    A lot of jobs have compensation that is based on performance–anything from sales, waiting tables, some branches of law, to acting in the movies. Also a lot of white collar jobs have bonuses that are performance based. Is this what you are talking about?
    I am no business professional, but it seems to me like in a lot of jobs it is difficult to quantify how much $$ someone brings in or costs a company. Those jobs are salary based. Once you get a big promotion and have more direct responsibility/accountability you might get more performance-based compensation.
    Starting your own business (or blog : ) can also give you the opportunity to try to bring in as much money as you can and directly profit from it. You also have the opportunity to study up on investing and try to become the next Warren Buffett or lose everything trying : )
    While my background is middle class, my dad was self employed when I was growing up, and the financial stresses were great–I believe that is part of what led to my parents’ divorce. Other close family members have had performance based jobs and also been laid off from “safe” jobs, and while it may sound exciting from afar, for them it was devastating. I enjoy reading Penelope Trunk’s cavalier columns on finance, but as for me, I avoid credit, save and live below my means so that there is always a safety net.
    Anyway, I don’t think you are likely to have to worry about not affording the dinner out–as part of the middle class in the US, a credit card company will always let you charge the dinner!

  16. Tim
    Tim says:

    I guess some of this depends on how you work.
    If you can’t step up and take risks at your current job, then why do you think you’ll be any better on your own?

    Anyway, I’ve found that, for the most part, people who are bored at work are usually boring people.

    If you “have an intense desire to know what its like to scrounge for a month's rent,” then make it happen! Don’t talk about it, do it.

  17. thom singer
    thom singer says:

    Ryan-

    Go for the gamble of being an entrepreneur while you are young, cuz you can’t gamble as much with a wife and kids to support.

    That being said, what if a company came to an employee or potential employee and discovered what is their passion…their life’s dream (you know, the “if you could do anything” stuff). Then they crafted a job to meet the person’s strengths, and additionally found a way to help that person chase their dream? Imagine this company sees helping their employees individually find the balance in their life that brings them joy and engineered their salary and responsibilities to meet with the flex time and performance targets.

    Still beyond that, what if they said that the goal is for the employee to reach their dream and one day move on (or stay), while also working to make the company wildly successful over a 3-5 year period? Would this be a great place to work or what?

    Sound like a fantasy? It isn’t. There are companies out there who are seeing their future success depends on working with their staff to create a win-win work enviornment. No longer can a company just have a cookie cutter job description and expect the best talent to be excited about conforming to meet the mold. NOPE, the future is with carving out unique roles for unique individuals.

    thom singer

    ********

    Thanks, Thom. Great comment. You had me hooked the whole time I was reading it. I think you’re right, companies are starting to get the point that people need to be their number 1 priority. My mother has been in the HR business for years, and her work has always been pushed to the backburner because it “doesn’t effect the bottom line.” The reality is, people effect the bottom line more than anything, its just not an easy thing to quantify. I really sense a shift in priorities coming soon.

    -Ryan

  18. James Schellman
    James Schellman says:

    I admire your desire to work hard and have an exciting and satisfying work experience. However, providing validation and motivation for your job is not the role of the company or your management team – that is the role/responsibility of the employee. The role of the company/management is simply not to de-motivate you.

    You do not need to – €˜scrounge' for your next meal to be a hard worker, leader, or influential employee. To create motivation and excitement, look for areas to improve yourself, your company, or possibly your co-workers. Put the same effort you so desperately – €˜desire' into your current employer, regardless of compensation, and discover how much your character and attitude improves.

  19. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    Ugh, no thank you. I’m 23 and I have no interest in living without savings. I don’t find “safe” to be boring because “safe” means that I can afford to entertain myself as I see fit. I also have no interest in waging 10k of my salary on ANYTHING–I’d rather be able to afford to have children before I’m 30. Every single penny that I can save is on the behalf of the kids I’d like to have one day.

    If you really want to see what it’s like to scrounge for a few months, then just be stricter with your money. Put all of your savings and a designated amount of your paycheck in a brief CD. Or just leave all your plastic money at home and live on a designated amount of pure cash for a while. Inadequate compensation is in essence just like being forced to budget, so you would get a taste of what it’s like (in addition to learning how to increase your savings).

    Out of curiosity, how exactly do you think that you increase company revenues by $50k in a year? You suggest this wager idea pretty confidently, so I assume you know exactly how you would go about doing this.

  20. Bri
    Bri says:

    As someone who worked full time and went to school full time, spending many years scrounging to make ends meet in the hopes of someday possibly securing a job that would allow me to live without having an anxiety attack every week wondering how I was going to pay the bills and have enough left to eat I have to say your attitude here disgusts me. Be very, very, careful what you wish for.

  21. Megan Martin
    Megan Martin says:

    Being broke definitely builds character, it forces you to see the value of a dollar and reflect on what’s important in life–the relationships and people around you. But I’ve had too many people couch surfing through my apartment in the past year to ever want to deal with living that kind of life again.

  22. Working Girl
    Working Girl says:

    I say, Go for it!

    You’re right, “safe” is boring. I have seen so many people, even 22-year-olds with no responsibilities, choose so-called security over going out there and daring to achieve their heart’s desire.

    Security is an illusion. We were put on this planet to do bigger things than just pay the rent and amass material goods.

    Lest you think otherwise: I spent many years struggling to pay the rent, literally going hungry for lack of cash to buy food, so I do know what that’s like. Don’t be afraid of it.

    I find the all-consuming quest for safety a very sad way to lead a life.

    ********

    Thanks! Security is an illusion, and its an illusion that companies want all employees to have. The problem is, young people (pre-family) aren’t all looking for security, and most of the time, we don’t even want it. As far as going hungry, I am a little afraid of it, but it will only motivate me to work harder.

    -Ryan

  23. BS (for real)
    BS (for real) says:

    If you have such vivid fantasies about barely making ends meet, I’m sure you could find someone making $10 an hour to trade places with you. You could even write a movie about it. Then you could try to make ends meet by selling the screenplay. Voila! You have no money. It’s really pretty easy.

  24. Dale
    Dale says:

    Been there Ryan… It sucks. Keep your day job and start a side gig with your own money. Sink or swim, you will learn from exprience and the risk will be just as real.
    Just my two cents:)

  25. Chloe
    Chloe says:

    You want to know what it’s like to scrounge for a month’s rent because you think it’s character building? That’s a disgusting attitude to have, and it’s incredibly demeaning to anyone who lives at or below the poverty line and can’t get out.

    Go ahead and take all the risks you need to in your career and entrepreneurship. That’s exactly what you need to do to get great results. But if you want to know what it’s like to hit the bottom, do something constructive and help out in a homeless shelter. If you can afford to make a choice to slum it then you must have incredible resources at your disposal – sharing them will build your character far more than experimenting with false poverty.

  26. Richard
    Richard says:

    Ryan,

    I say put up or shut up. I want you to submit your resignation today and try to live off your blog and your entrepreneurial activities.

    Anything short of this and I would qualify your writings as blogspam.

    ********

    Already did! Thanks for the comment.

  27. Misty Khan
    Misty Khan says:

    Ryan,

    There are jobs out there like the one you describe – they are called sales positions. There are plenty of sales jobs out there with zero base salary where all money is made in commissions.

  28. Doug K
    Doug K says:

    “Safe sounds really fun. So why do I find it so boring?

    I have an intense desire to know what its like to scrounge for a month's rent. I want to know what it's like to say I can't afford to eat out tonight, and really mean it.. ”

    This is because you’re a child of privilege, who can afford to play these games. I’d recommend a wanderjahr in Africa, working volunteer jobs: to see what risk is really like, and learn how to value safety. Or, just sign up for the Army, guaranteed no money and all the danger you can eat..

  29. d.
    d. says:

    It’s not safe to be an employee today. You can be
    fired at any moment. Amount and seriousness of
    risks your are facing at work depends on what you
    are doing. If you are a manager and are, in fact,
    responsible for actions of your subordinates then
    there is definitely enough risk to satisfy almost
    any level of need of risk. Peoples behaviour
    becomes sometimes completely strange and dangerous
    to them and their surroundings.

    About the need of risk in personal life.
    I’ve been for some time in a situation when
    it was necessary to follow and plan up my daily
    spendings the amount of money in my pocket.
    I don’t want to repeat this. It was so
    frustrating, so time consuming. There are many
    other ways to spend your energy.

    It’s definitely far better to talk to the
    prospective investors knowing that you are not
    on the edge, if somethings will not work then
    there is plan B.

    There are other aspects of risk level acceptance.
    Consider a kid of yours on it’s way to the living.
    It changes your horizon completely. But that is
    another story.

  30. Joe Blogger
    Joe Blogger says:

    Maybe safe is boring because you claim that you can move in with your parents if needed ;-)

    Faced with the prospect of living on the street if you can’t make the bills – safe isn’t boring, it’s a necessity. People have hobbies to counteract boredom

  31. Gonzalo Sanchez
    Gonzalo Sanchez says:

    I dont know, but as strange and incompatible it might sound, somehow todays hype about becoming a young entrepreneur that struggles a lot reminds me of the ultimate goal of becoming a yuppie financial shark back on the 80’s… pure fashion

  32. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    While I often enjoy your posts, I believe it is important that you recognize and name the fact that you are coming from a place of privilege that so many others with similar talent and ambition to yours do not share. You are clearly fortunate to have family wealth to provide a jumping off point that your less well-off peers do not enjoy, and as a young male there is very little risk of responsibility for dependents, while for example many of my female college friends are now single mothers (who rarely see a cent of the court ordered child support from the young men involved). It seems you must also not have any major health problems, these necessitate good and continuous health insurance coverage that would be outrageously priced on its own, bringing us back to the wealth advantage.

    I have first hand experience with what you describe here –
    “I have an intense desire to know what its like to scrounge for a month’s rent. I want to know what it’s like to say I can’t afford to eat out tonight, and really mean it. I truly do believe that living like this builds character, and everyone should probably experience it at some point.”

    Yes I am a Gen-Y who has often scrounged for rent, and at times have lived well below the poverty line, during my first four years after college while doing my dream job. Let me tell you something – it sucks when its real. My father is deceased and with my mother disabled and surviving only on social security, there is absolutely no cushion for me – and by the way there are many many capable and ambitious young college graduates who are far worse off than me. For most of us, at some point we have little choice but to take the “safe” route of a stable corporate job, and to try to make our way through it towards more challenging opportunities.

    I’m sorry but your post and especially your remarks about your “craving” the poverty experience diminishes the struggles and the triumph that just being able to land a solid job and earn a career progression represents for so many others who are just like yourself, except for lacking one or more of the privileges you take for granted. Why not address the diversity of Gen Y and include the experiences of others not exactly like yourself?

  33. A Millenial
    A Millenial says:

    I am horrified by what has been written here and think that you make light of a very dire and often fatal situation that a lot of people in this world find themselves in that is not funny, glamorous, and not something to take lightly. I cant imagine that unless you come from a family that would bail you out at the last minute that you would ever utter such words – insulting many around this world who suffer. I cant imagine that someone who has ever known hunger, desperation, financial despair – would ever make light of others’ pain in such a way.

    Not being able to pay rent or for food is not a game, its not something you can try on to see how it fits – and “testing” it when you know that you can be bailed out is not a character building opportunity – it is the exact opposite.

    The fact that the farthest you are willing to go in your experiment is “to really not be able to afford to eat out at a restaurant” – is this the poverty level for you?

    I do understand the point that you tried to make -and in terms of taking risks in your career – I agree with you, but again I am horrified at how insensitively you phrased this and it makes me question just how much of this world you have actually seen.

  34. Jan D
    Jan D says:

    Oh please Ryan, who are you kidding? Not any of the people reading this blog. Poverty is many things, but it does not build character, nor should it be something ‘everyone should experience.

    “I have an intense desire to know what its like to scrounge for a month's rent. I want to know what it's like to say I can't afford to eat out tonight, and really mean it. I truly do believe that living like this builds character, and everyone should probably experience it at some point.

    When I was a child, we were poor, not cute television poor, but move in the middle of the night leave all our stuff behind poor. Getting free food at school, because that was the only meal I was going to get that day poor.

    I paid my own way through college, working full time, and sending every free penny I had after paying my bills back to my family. You would not last a minute in real poverty. Think about it, no internet, no television.

    The thing is, you pat your self on the back for wanting to do this, and yet I do not see you even attempting to do anything. How about not going out to dinner for a month, and instead giving that money to a local homeless shelter? Better yet, volunteer at a shelter, and take a look at the world your parents shielded you from!

    It is sad that your so entitled, you can not see just how entitled you are.

  35. Imelda
    Imelda says:

    I’ve never commented on this blog before, though I like Penelope, but this post really got to me.

    Please excuse my language, but Ryan, you are a total jerk. Scrounging for your next month’s rent is not GLAMOROUS. It’s terrifying. And it’s really not that hard to experience. If you really had “an intense desire to know” what it feels like, you would quit your job (any income-generating activity), wait for your savings to dwindle, and watch that eviction notice appear on your door. It’s really not difficult. Why don’t you try it?

    I’ll tell you why you don’t. It’s because you KNOW it’s a terrible situation to be in, whether it “builds character” or not. I cannot believe Penelope allowed you to post something so appallingly insulting.

    I also can’t believe you’ve never experienced “what it's like to say I can't afford to eat out tonight, and really mean it.” That sentence just blew me away. As others have said, it just shows that you come from an incredibly privileged social position, and I hope you don’t ever try to contradict that. Because it’s inherent in your words.

    This post, or at least that one paragraph, needs to be taken down. That isn’t censorship, that’s common decency.

    It also shows me how incredibly immature you are. And I’m 21. You better believe that I’ll put a much lower value to your words from hereon out, because I have a better idea of the ignorance they stem from.

  36. Imelda
    Imelda says:

    Wow. I didn’t notice the first time around your comment that poverty is “something everyone should probably experience at some point.”

    ARgh. Seriously refraining from cursing here.

    Look, Ryan. I understand that you’re not trying to make the point we’re angry about. I think you’re saying that the idea of sacrificing everything for a dream is romantic, and exciting, and not that the poverty in and of itself is. I get that.

    But what you actually said is that poverty is a good thing, and everyone should experience it. You know better than that, and I know you know better than that.

    So a humble request: please, please re-write this. In its current form, it is offensive; there’s no other word for it. You can find a better way to make your point. If pride keeps you from changing this, you’re going to needlessly upset a lot more people. And I think you’re bigger than that.

    If I’m wrong, and you believe in exactly what you said, then screw you, and you deserve all the nasty comments you’re going to get.

    But I don’t think that’s the case.

  37. Cara
    Cara says:

    Count me in as one of the insulted. Not having money is not glamorous, and I have no idea why people there are so many well-off people who think it is. Not being able to afford eating out? Give me a break. My immigrant parents know how to pinch a penny until Lincoln screams because they HAD to. Moldy bread? Cut off the fuzzy parts because the rest is still okay. As long as you have your parents to fall back on, you really won’t know what it’s like to find ways to survive. Not having money means not having options. You had, and have, the luxury to choose your life path. Many of us immigrants first-generation Americans did not because our first priority was not starving. Poverty is not a game or a “life experience” to have, and I find it insulting that you’re treating it like some adventure trip.

  38. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    People are quite right to point out that there are plenty of commission-only jobs around. Of course that applies only to sales roles – it’s hard to see how this would work when your job is classed as a cost centre not a profit centre.

    I am interested by the intense reactions to this post from people who are insulted by the notion that poverty can be viewed as a life experience.

    It reminds me of that brilliant song “Common People” by Pulp.

    *sings* “But still you’ll never get it right
    `cos when you’re laid in bed at night
    Watching roaches climb the wall
    If you called your dad he could stop it all yeah

    `cos everybody hates a tourist
    Especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh”

    Full lyrics here: http://www.lyricsdepot.com/pulp/common-people-extended-lyrics.html

  39. Dale
    Dale says:

    Folks,

    I believe that the real lesson in Ryan’s post has been overlooked. Blogging’s beauty is that it gives us insight into how others (who are brave enough to put themselves out there) think. The resulting dialogue is always thought provoking, and sometimes even volatile.

    Penny Trunk has incurred the ire of Yahoo readers because her perceptions on SOME career oriented things, so challenge their entrenched views, that many of them refuse to even consider that there could be merit in her work (to put it mildly). I believe that the same is probably true here of Ryan.

    Ryan represents a large subset of young, fortunate, individuals who have viewed many of the hardships and negative situations of life from the outside looking in. This group assesses their condition from a paradigm that few of us, not in their position, can understand.

    I have an intimate knowledge of the realities of poverty, as such, I could never glorify it. But imagine not ever having to go without. Being able to live, comfortable in the thought that you will never go hungry, and that by virtue of your filial relationships, you can depend on support in educational pursuits and business endeavours. The prospect of making one’s way, into the “real world,” in spite of a deck that has been stacked against you becomes an extremely romantic and perhaps appealing notion. I call it my prince and the pauper theory, and history has offered many examples of it, think Buddha, Howard Hughes and several historical leaders who made forays, incognito, into real life after having their noses pressed up against the metaphorical plate-glass barrier separating them from a hostile unforgiving world.

    Perhaps he does deserve the tongue lashing he has received on some level, but please, do not continue to critize Ryan too vociferously or too personally – even for his seemingly disparaging perspective on some women. We may not like or agree with what he says, but he simply states what he and others like him may think, and that insight will enable us to understand and interact with him and his cohort.

    Isn’t that what blogging is all about?

  40. Imelda
    Imelda says:

    To Dale–

    Thanks for your measured and comparatively objective comment. I respect the way you defend the value of different perspectives.

    But ah, that word ‘respect.’ How important it is, no? Even in the blogosphere, we demand it from one another, because the world of blogging is just like any other social organization. It allows us to exchange ideas, but in an intellectual discussion, a lack of respect spoils any chance of mutual learning. If I’ve just gone blind and you tell me I’m better off, because my character will improve, I doubt I’d continue the conversation.

    There are different perspectives, and then there is ignorance. No, we needn’t tolerate it when people are disrespectful through their ignorance. We should speak up. Listening to people spout off offensive comments is NOT what blogging is all about. You acknowledge that Ryan is wrong, so why not tell him so?

    I’ll be curious to see if Penelope weighs in on this subject, or if she leaves Ryan’s article as-is. Any publicity is good publicity, after all.

  41. Dale
    Dale says:

    Hello Imelda,

    Thank you for your response to my note. And I agree with everything you say. Respect for others should be a mandate by which we all live. But having had different life experiences to most of you, I have come to realize that there are times when people (particularly the young and/or sheltered) may inadvertently slight others.

    My assumption is that when Ryan speaks, despite the public forum he possesses, inadvertently & unconsciously speaks for himself and for his cohort.
    Neither you nor I exist in this state.
    Occasionally, seasoned journalists, leaders and “experts” fall into the same trap, and receive the angry responses of their audiences; so why not a freshman to this medium? And Ryan is as green to the world as could be, therein lies his weakness as a blogger, but that too is his greatest strength! He represents a group that I do not understand nor feel any kinship with. But I feel that I need to listen as my world is changing and I do not have direct access to those illiciting the change.
    I will not offer any excuses for bad manners or glaring examples of disrespect, but this I see as a case of ignorance, over exuberance, and youth.
    Additionally, I do not believe that Penny should intervene. Ryan is a big boy, and his actions are his to resolve. Let him face the situation he created, the lesson he will learn will be valuable.
    Just my opinion:)

  42. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    There’s a line between poverty and being broke. I would concur with Ryan that it can build character to experience not having much money and having to work hard and prioritise your spending in order to make the next rent payment. This is a normal formative experience that many people, myself included, go through at university or in their first jobs after graduation. I am not sure it is the same thing as poverty, which seems to imply something more permanent and potentially damaging.

  43. chris
    chris says:

    you have the intense desire to know what it’s like to scrape by for the rent money???

    i think what you really mean is that instead of a hum-drum job with a set compensation, you’d prefer fighting for your pay with the possibility of hitting rock bottom if you don’t perform. hmmmm, the potential earnings (realistically) would have to be pretty high for this anxiety to be worth it.

    like other people have said, if you want to be compensated by your performance, then stick with SALES or RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS. however not everyone is cut out for this. ahemmm…MOST people are not cut out for this

    security is a luxury at any age, my friend. perhaps you have not learned this?

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