(Editor’s Note: Douglas T. Banff is our resident anthropologist reporting his observations and findings from the front lines of corporate life.)
I was ecstatic when Adam offered me the opportunity to engage with an audience of entrepreneurs and angel investors – two groups of people I typically despise, what with your ambition, striving, and sacrifice. When this opportunity presented itself I felt I had a moral obligation to attempt to convert you all, to give you the red pill so to speak, to expose you to an alternative philosophy on life. Yes, call me sentimental but I was raised that when you found treasure, you had an obligation to share. So, ladies and gentlemen, open your arms and prepare for the sweet embrace that is life in the corporate middle class!
Upon its founding, the ethos of America was to raise yourself up from the bootstraps and climb to the top of the proverbial mountain. But this is the wrong metaphor to use for your career. You must think of your career as a middle-aged man. Doing so will change your entire perspective.
Over my career, I have had the misfortune of being exposed to so many starry-eyed youngsters, fresh out of biz school. All of them had the same goal: to rise to the top of their profession. Really? Do you really want to reach the top? That being the middle-aged man’s glistening, bald head? At the top, it is hard and slippery. To reach it you must crawl past his foul-smelling breath and potentially snotty nose.
No thank you!
Of course, you don’t want to be on the bottom, by his bright white walkable New Balances, where it is easy to be trampled or stepped over.
No, the true sweet spot is the cushy, ever-expanding middle. Yes, my friends, that is where you want to be. It is a soft, doughy landing space, covered in breathable cotton. So, yes, America, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and start climbing. But, please, children of tomorrow, stop when you get to the middle. Take a rest (you won’t actually need one because the climb wasn’t too strenuous), enjoy the view and you may just realize this is the place to stay.
Now it is pretty damn hard to stay in the middle your entire life. Managers don’t like the status quo. They’re always trying to fire or promote.
That is why I am going to share with you, in the form of this written podcast, everything you ever wanted to know about the hacker’s guide to the ABCs of tips and tricks on best practices for doing just enough to stay employed but not enough to ever get noticed.
Follow me on this journey to the middle and I believe it may just meet your expectations.
Douglas T. Banff is a Senior Manager, Project Management at Ginormo Corp and self-proclaimed influencers’ influencer, creator of the short-lived website musingsfromthemiddle.net, and pontoon enthusiast.