An open letter to a friend

Dear Dragon,

A lot of times people will tell me that towards you, I’m quite the asshole.  I freely admit this, but it comes from a place that’s very personal and ultimately I’m trying to do you and the world some good.  You simply won’t listen to any advice that anyone gives you, so instead of trying to proffer advice, now all I have is ridicule.  I’m not saying that that’s the right way, but it’s my way.  I have a long history with you as my friend and I have always had high hopes for you.  I can understand up to a point where a particular situation deals you a bad hand and you just have to live with those consequences, but more often than not, what happens here is that you make poor decisions that have only negative repercussions.

Let me talk about the past for a moment.  I used to work with you at The Answer Group, a shitty tech support company which used to service Gateway computers, you remember.  We both started at around the same time.  Now, I had a decent work ethic, and I showed up for work on time, was generally helpful and consistent with my call times.  You on the other hand were always argumentative, always felt like they were “out to get you” and you were always late.  Eventually it got to the point where you had claimed sickness and they wound up letting you go for non attendance.  I don’t know if you felt like you were getting one over on “the man” or what, but it definitely seemed like you had an axe to grind against corporate America.  My point here is that this is the past.  The man you once were, is not the man you are now.  We all grow up and move on.  People change.  Put the axe down.  Corporate America needs people like you, they just want you to tow the company line.

We all go through moments in our lives where things get tough and situations change and we are forced to do things that we would not do otherwise.  Let me give you a  personal example so that you know, that you’re not alone in this regard.   A few years ago, I was struggling to make ends meet and work was not steady.  I had gone from temp job to temp job, not because I was incompetent, but because these companies just didn’t have the funding to continue to pay for my position.  The situation was not my doing, but I made the best of it.  It was tough, because I was newly married and my wife too, was bouncing from position to position looking for economic stability.  But in these hard times, I continued to better myself, obtaining several technical certifications which have only helped to serve my career since getting them.

I wound up having to make some tough decisions and in the end I moved up to Orlando where I was told jobs were more plentiful and easier to come by.   I found that this wasn’t necessarily the case, and wound up having to go back to doing technical support in a call center in order to make ends meet.  The ultimate low was when I got a 1 and 1/3 cent an hour raise.  True story, 1 cent an hour basically cause 1/3 of a cent doesn’t mean jack shit.  It was extremely degrading, but I had no choice –  I had a family to support and I could not stand by and watch that all go down the drain.  It was honestly 8 months of torture, but I was able to use that job as motivation for me to get the job I have now.  It made me realize that not only do I have the skills to do so much more, but it also gave me the time to get my resume in tip top shape so that I could be hireable.  My point here is that opportunities are not given, they’re earned.  You have to eat a lot of crap to get anywhere in life, but it is always worth it in the end.  Especialy where your family is involved.

That brings me to my next point.  Your family.  You now are making decisions in your life that don’t only affect you and your wife, but your son as well.  Your wife made her decision to stand by you when she married you, but your son doesn’t have a choice.  You have to want to do better by him than your parents were able to do by you.  You want to provide him every opportunity in the world for success.  Do you think you can do this by staying at home and not working?  Nothing in life is free.  You are wasting opportunities for not only yourself, but your son as well.  By working and having a good work ethic you will make personal connections with people that will ultimately benefit you in ways you cannot begin to fathom.  People will be more willing to go out on a limb to help you succeed and your whole family will benefit as a result.  Not only that, but by being in the workforce, you’re making sure that you’re staying current on technology. Keeping up with trends you would not see otherwise and making sure that you continue to gain relevant career experience.  You simply cannot do this while at home.  You cannot put ‘stay at home dad’ on your resume and expect that an employer will look upon that as favorable technical experience.  It’s selfish and self serving.  You are living off of your wife and her family and it’s a shame.  I riff on you because I hope that it provides you with enough shame that you realize the error of your ways and that makes you decide to become a productive member of society.

I would apologize for being such an asshole, but honestly, I’m not sorry!  You always showed great potential but you just aren’t living up to it.  Use this down time to go get certified in something.  If you want to be a linux guru, then get certified in that.  If you have an interest in music production, than follow that.  Prove to the world that you’re who you say you are – and get certified.  Don’t have money to take the tests?  Prove to me that you’re ready to take the tests, and I will be more than happy to help you out with that.  I’m sure anyone in Trip Hop Clan would be as well.  The jobs will come after that, it just will take time and experience. Don’t be lazy and turn down jobs because they’re beneath you.  It just may be the connections you make in that low paying but experience rich job that lead you to the job of your dreams.

They say that having a child changes everything.  I say that you should let that experience change you for the better.  You have a reason now to do better and get off your ass.  The past is someone else.  Today you can be a different person, a better person.  Be that man.

Your friend,

P.S. I’m trying to be a better person myself, and I promise this is the last you will hear from me ripping on you, provided that you show me you’re willing to change.

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