The difference between mid-20s and mid-30's is colossal. At 25, did you want a job that meant something? Did you want to make a difference in the world? At 35, do you give a shit about any of that? If you answered "yes" you are either (1) a liar (2) lying to yourself (3) probably not reading Mr. Jamoke.
The great Henry David Thoreau once said: "Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now."
At age 25 I would complain that my consulting job felt that way. Now... I would take a 25% haircut in salary just to be throwing those stones. Hell yeah! I've been throwing metaphorical stones across the corporate wall for years. At least with real stones I could get my daily exercise, fresh air, and improve my physique. I could even pop my shirt off and get a nice tan going.
If you don’t think you’re breaking your back throwing these metaphorical stones just take a stroll around your office. Broken backs and spirits as far as the eye can see. Thirty-year-old men and women with posture like Mr. Burns. 35 & 40 year-olds still living in apartments so small they would make the Unabomber feel cramped. After work they go running in place on a conveyor belt just to try and keep circulation in their legs and burn off the emasculatingly meek salad they ate at lunch. Your colleagues then go home to their spouses and whine about some email that an imbecile sent to an idiot that was ultimately ignored by a buffoon. Wash, rinse, repeat Monday through Friday. Occasionally, usually on Thursday nights, you might swap email stories with a colleague while pretending you actually understand wine or craft beer……. Make a difference?!?! No man, someone needs to take pity on you, step in, and make a difference in YOUR life.
A real stone thrower doesn't bitch about emails and doesn't drink wine. He eats big hearty meals, drinks hard liquor and sleeps like a hibernating bear. And, you know what? His back probably hurts less than yours! At 35, making a difference in the world is at best something you try and do on the side. As far as work goes, it’s all about making sure that those stones you throw hit a progressively bigger pile of cash when they land so that one day you can just stop showing up. When I was in college, I quit my job at TGI Friday’s that way: I just stopped showing up to work. No notice, no conversation, no “transition plan”. Every call from my chump manager (the same clown who reprimanded me for not upselling enough “side salads”) went to voicemail; I was busy playing darts with my buddy. My last interaction with that glorious franchise was the $9 dollar check they sent me in the mail for my final three-hour shift. I still grin with satisfaction thinking about how the salad bully had to write me that last chickenshit check.
For the 10% of you that are curing cancer, flying planes, growing food… Thank you and keep at it. But for the remainder of you all, the corporate stone throwers: Stash those acorns, be glad that someone actually pays us wage to huff and puff while ultimately make zero actual impact, and stay focused on the day you’ll be able to give your company the TGI Friday treatment. You’ll become an instant legend. “Where is Sarah? Have you heard from her? She skipped all of her meetings this morning and isn’t answering emails, IMs or phone calls!”…… Sarah can’t take your call. She is holding a cocktail in one hand, a bocce ball in the other, and you’re just a bunch of chumps who are still throwing stones. Shut up and go eat your daily salad, preferably at TGI Friday’s.