I have regaled some of you with my retirement dreams. My retirement vision at 19 involved lots of guns, an ATV, hundreds of hamster balls, a large pack of wolf-dogs, and copious amounts of Jim Beam. As I’ve grown older the retirement dream has morphed into tropical climates, ceiling fans, wearing nothing but white linen, cockfighting, ceviche and strong but well-paced cocktails. I’m sure it will morph again as I enter into my 40’s.
Unfortunately, after 21 years in the workforce, it has dawned on me that I am several million dollars short of retiring. Even worse, those millions are very hard to come by. I grind and grind, writing useless documents, creating PowerPoint slides, dispensing mediocre advice to idiots, and pursuing high-paced, falsely advertised boondoggles. Yet, despite all of my efforts and my “pedigree”, I am a chump. I’ll grind for another 30 years, buy that linen outfit, have a stiff-ass Gin and Tonic at the cockfights, and then have a massive heart attack cause I’m a worn, leathery, 70-year-old who can no longer handle heat, humidity or excitement.
Thus, my new fantasy is not what my retirement will look like. Rather, I fantasize about what sort of scam I can perpetrate to get me there faster. Below are the top rackets I want to pursue to rake in the necessary millions.
#1 – Certification Programs. Take the project management professional (PMP) or the ISO Certification or the multitude of other useless industry “standards” that are out there. These are the dirtiest and most malicious scams on the market. Some scheming low-life partnered with his drinking buddy who happened to be a government bureaucrat and wrote an “industry standard” of best practices. Now they charge you 500 bucks to take a memorization test, then they charge you 300 bucks a year in “continuing education” so that you don’t have to take the horrid test again. Why? Because some group of sleazeballs tricked the federal government or various industries into accepting a specific set of nonsense as “best practices”. You know it’s a racket because pursuing these certifications actually makes you worse at your job. Then these fucks start an “institute” to try and make themselves legitimate. The “Project Management Institute”. The Wolf of Wall Street would be proud – “Stratton Oakmont” baby!
#2 – Keynote Speaker. I love this shit. Some guy or gal got mildly famous for writing a book or promoting a social issue that became trendy. Then these fucks spend the rest of their life appearing at various company events or industry conferences and repeating the same 25-minute speech for $20k an outing. I would kill for this situation. Show up to a conference in Orlando borderline wasted after slamming cocktails at the United Lounge and the airplane for 5 hours. Stuff your face with hors d’oeuvres at the reception and down two more gin and tonics. Then they call you up to the podium, the sheep clap, you slur through your lecture about how whales are endangered and they must be saved. Nobody has the balls to interject and bring up the fact that you’re at a conference about cloud computing. Fuck no, cause you’re the KEYNOTE speaker baby! You’re allowed to mouth off about anything you want! You walk off, the sheep clap again. Then you down three more gin and tonics, some pathetic yes-men come to congratulate you on your inspirational speech, the company gives you a big fat check, you bolt out of there with a fatter bank account and horrendous breath…. Not a single whale saved.
#3 – Life Coach. Not as lucrative as the first two but still a great gig. After passing whatever ridiculous and frivolous certification (see racket # 1 above) is required, I’ll whip these weak-willed whiners into shape real fast. I could dominate this industry because I know for a fact that my competition is as weak as the clients. Every year or so I get an email from someone I used to vaguely know back in the day advertising their life coaching skills to me. For starters, almost always, my last memory of these life gurus is them bitching about their parents while doing drugs. Also, let me give YOU cats some life coaching: When you’re sending out 'personalized' promotional emails, make sure the font on the first line (the one that says: “Dear XXXX”) matches with the body of the email. This is the kind of sloppy, copy-paste job that gets an unpaid intern fired; and you want me to trust you with my life!?
After all this writing I think I might have a strategy to achieve the holy grail of legal racketeering. Step one: Coach a bunch of geeks how to have more presence at work and occasionally even gat laid. Step two: Commence giving keynote speeches to bigger gaggles of geeks (probably at the cloud computing convention) about how to “turn your life around”. Step Three: Leverage my D-Rate celebrity status to create a new, rival, life-coaching certification program. Step 4: Generous royalty checks, unlimited Ceviche and hamsters in orbit as far as the eye can see.