First, You Have To Get The Job

In the wake of the Gen Y dismay following the SuperConference discussion of their “issues”, a Millennial named Jackie Sauter at On The Record reacted as one would expect of a member of the Slackoisie.

Exhibit B: N.Y. attorney (and Gen Y-er) Adrian Dayton writes that Scott Greenfield kicked things off with this statement: “Generation Y is entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent.”

I’m not even sure where to start with that one, except to say that if I were a Millennial working for Greenfield, I wouldn’t be for much longer.
I can remember teaching my children opposites:  Over/under.  Before/after.  Those sorts of things were taught very young, as they were quite fundamental to their understanding of the world around them, and necessary for their future growth.  Sauter must have missed that lesson.

Before you can assume to have a say in whether you would continue to work for a Luddite like me, you would have to work for a Luddite like me.  It’s a before/after thing.  You are not entitled to start with the presumption that are already employed.

You can’t quit a job you don’t have.  You can’t exercise your Slackoisie right to demand terms and conditions of employment, or even the attitude of the person signing your check, until there is employment ab initio.  It’s all about the sequencing.  Horse, then cart.  It’s another of those basic rules that aren’t subject to change no matter how many times you stamp your feet.

Within that sequence of events comes the determination of whether you are worthy of the job, capable of performing it adequately and in a way that won’t annoy the crap out of some old guy like me.  No matter how good you may be, I don’t need to pay money to someone who annoys me.

This too isn’t your choice, but mine.  If I don’t think you can cut it, you don’t get the job.  You may think otherwise, but you don’t get a vote.  That’s because I have the job to offer.  You don’t.

This has been a public service message from Simple Justice for the benefit of all Slackoisie who weren’t paying attention when Mom was teaching before/after.

64 comments on “First, You Have To Get The Job

  1. ken

    Dear Mr. Greenfield,

    Yours is an amazing office which undertakes interesting and thought provoking work. Unfortunately, I must decline to work for you. Please do not take this in any way as a judgment upon you personally. It’s just that the $500K+ you would offer me in salary, guaranteed for 3 years, is not sufficient. Of course, it is a nice offer, but upon doing a cost of living comparison between NYC and where I currently live I have discovered that $500K is worth approximately $20K locally. I’m sure you will have no problem finding a more than qualified person to fill any openings you have in your office; I understand there are many prior Biglaw associates who have been laid off who are looking for employment.

    Good Luck in You Future Endeavors,
    Ken Lammers

  2. Eric Johnson

    Yes, and with so many cut-backs in the court system even fewer Gen Y lawyers will get the trial experience that they might need to satisfy you. Why not supplement your blog work with some seminars for these kids. I recently helped judge the appellate moot court competition at the U of WA Law School and it was quite rewarding watching the students perform.

  3. SHG

    You’re a very funny guy.  I’ll throw in an SJ Excellence in Criminal Defense Award, but will have to cut your salary back to $12,500 to cover the shipping and handling.

  4. Max Kennerly

    “Entitled, lazy, selfish, … and incompetent.”

    I’m sorry, could you remind me what your generation did of any note?

    Last I checked you racked up trillions in debt, mired us in a couple wars, then trashed our economy, after which you gave yourselves a bailout, thereby taking out more debt to protect the retirement accounts you funded with the initial debt.

    All while growing the economy at half the rate of your predecessors while increasing college and graduate tuition (which most of us pay ourselves) at a multiple of the rate of inflation.

    I’m all for “pay your dues,” but if you want to generalize about my generation… well, we didn’t invade the wrong country and lose a major city to rain. You did. And your big, grownup excuse for the government and economy you ruined is to preen and congratulate yourself on your work ethic while you lash out at us on Twitter, which we built.

    We drink your milkshake!

  5. Eric Johnson

    Actually, if I’m “assuming” I’m guessing you were. I told a Verizon saleswoman today that I’d like to give up my cell phone and she replied that her ‘generation’ would be hard-pressed to do such a thing as they wouldn’t know what to do without them. I had to briefly explain that I do use electronics in my profession. I didn’t tell her that I used such tools for more worthwhile things than ‘texting’ worthless gossip.

  6. SHG

    Max, bear in mind that this is a generalization.  Not every individual within Gen Y fits the generalization.  Many don’t. Most do. That’s what makes it a valid generalization.  It’s up to each individual whether this is the way he wants to live his life.  Whether this fits you is the question you need to ask yourself, but you need to honestly recognize what it means to feel entitled before deciding that this insulting characterization isn’t you. 

    Second, you confuse a generational issues with a political issues, making your comparison one of apples and oranges.  Did you think that all boomers voted for Bush?  In fact, Gen Y is far more conservative than boomers, lacking empathy and acting exclusively in their self-interest.  Without Gen Y, we would not have had the past 8 years, even though the individual at the wheel was a boomer.  But then again, that doesn’t mean that every Gen Y voted the wrong way. 

  7. SHG

    Then you confused me.  I’ve long been involved in doing things like judging moot court (both trial and appellate types), teaching ITAP at Cardozo Law School, lecturing at law schools, teaching CLEs, as well as doing pro bono arbitration in New York County small claims court.  I’ve long tried to help others, both to pay back for the help others have given me and because I believe that we have a responsibility to help those coming up after us. And frankly, I enjoy it.

  8. Max Kennerly

    Your simple headcount — “most do” — constitutes a “valid generalization” for my generation, but I cannot critique your generation for the President elected by “most” of your generation? Re-read your polls. You folks put the guy in office twice.

    Generational Y is “more conservative?” Please. Find me a poll that shows your generation voting more liberal than mine, I dare you. I’ve got empirical data showing “most” of your generation to be self-centered, self-indulgent and irresponsible to the point of threatening the country’s financial and military security. You’ve got a couple anecdotal examples, from which you foolishly generalize.

    Well, your generation had a lot of lazy and entitled bozos, too, one of which “most” of you voted in as President.

    If you’re the one who thinks individuals should be judged by stereotypes about their generation, then I’ll call you out for the Bush-supporting, debt-splurging, draft-dodging-but-war-mongering homophobic anti-science imbeciles that “most” of your generation “is.”

    Your comment was hasty and insulting. Fess up and move on. Sticking to your guns just makes you look like an insecure and entitled jerk, like George W. Bush.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing.

  9. Hyphen

    1. Your characterization of conservatism as “lacking empathy and acting exclusively in [one’s] self interest” is wholly offensive and without merit.

    2. It is shame that your hiring practices, “the determination of whether [one is] worthy of the job, capable of performing it adequately and in a way that won’t annoy the crap out of some old guy like [you],” have led you to find Gen Y attorneys that are “entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent.” (Here, I am making an assumption that you have been speaking from personal experience.)

    Perhaps, you should take some time to get to know the Gen Y attorneys and consider their point of view.

  10. Eric Johnson

    I’m thinking seminars in the prolific manner that you post. Charge a fee, increase traffic at your blog…maybe weekly podcasts would do.

  11. von

    Generation Y is entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent.”

    Hi, Generation X here. And a partner at a largish law firm.

    I don’t dispute with your dig at Generation Y, but it’s a bit rich coming from a baby boomer. (And, continuing to deal in stereotypes, not at all surprising that a boomer would pass judgment not realizing that the judgment applied equally — if not moreso — to his own generation.)

    And, yes, when I wrote I’m a partner in a law firm I meant that I’m living in the basement of my father and step-stepmother’s home, smoking a bong and thumbing through old Nirvana records while “Reality Bites” plays on continuous loop on the teevee.

  12. Tim

    Let me start by saying that I really like your blog, and I don’t disagree with everything you say about Gen-Y (of which I am a member). But your comments regarding this guy’s post just don’t make sense, and they serve to counteract whatever weight your statements about Gen-Y had in the first place.

    He said: “If I were working for this guy (you), I wouldn’t be much longer.”

    You said: “You don’t get to say you wouldn’t work for me, because you don’t have any money or a job, and I have both.”

    Is this really an argument you want on your blog, which is read by thousands of people, that you’d like associated with your name in perpetuity?

    Saying that because this guy is young and broke and inexperienced, he doesn’t have the right to make a hypothetical statement about you just puts all of the characteristics you criticize Millenials for right on your own back.

    Arrogance in young people is called entitlement. In old people, it’s called hubris. It’s the same damn thing, and this post is proving that you’re just as bad as they are.

    You’re stooping here, Scott, and it’s counterproductive.

  13. SHG

    Max, this didn’t happen the minute it made it onto your radar. This is old news, empirically proven and the subject of discussion for years.  We don’t revisit every argument each time a new person thinks he’s had an epiphany, and the discussion doesn’t continue because you stamp your feet. 

    Generational discussions use stereotypes for a reason, it’s a bit unwieldly to discuss each and every individual.  If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but I wasn’t seeking your approval. 

  14. SHG

    1.  Tough nuggies.  It offended you?  Who cares.

    2.  You’ve erroneously connected two separate things, the sociological characterization of Gen Y with my hiring practices, showing that you’re a dolt.

    And I know what Adrian has to say, and he’s wrong, but not nearly as much of a dolt as you.

  15. SHG

    I want to help others, but I have no desire to play guru, and especially no desire to charge for it.  And besides, the Slackoisie are too busy trying to massage their deflated egos and puff out their hairless chests to waste time or synapses learning how to help others.

  16. SHG

    Baby boomers have their issues.  That, of course, has nothing to do with Gen Y having its own.  Our day is coming to a close, but there’s still time to help Gen Y get its collective head out of its butt.  As for why we deal in generalization, the answer should be too obvious for words, and has been explained here numerous times to those for whom this is a tough concept.  Do you really need me to explain it to you as well?

  17. Max Kennerly

    No, you use stereotypes for a reason, and the reason is that you’re too lazy and hasty to hone your thoughts and tighten your language, and too entitled to care about how it impacts anyone else.

    Just a big disappointment from an otherwise thoughtful poster. While you’re at it, care to enlighten us about how “most” blacks and Jews and women conduct themselves? Those “discussions use stereotypes for a reason.”

  18. SHG

    He said: “If I were working for this guy (you), I wouldn’t be much longer.”

    You said: “You don’t get to say you wouldn’t work for me, because you don’t have any money or a job, and I have both.”

    I think you need to read it again, as I see nothing of the sort written nor implied.  If this is what you’ve inferred, then you’ve missed the point entirely.

  19. SHG

    Max, it’s just not my life’s goal to enlighten you.  If you chose to conflate racism with generational stereotypes, then that’s your perspective. Better you should spend your time explaining to the sociologists and psychologists who have been studying the phenonmenon that they should cease their empirical stuides and just ask Max.  You’re now on your own.

  20. Hyphen

    1. Fair enough.

    2. As stated, it was my assumption that your comments in regard to Gen Y attorneys came from dealing with attorneys that you had hired and presumably fired. It is not an erroneous connection with that assumption fueling the conjecture.

    If my assumption was incorrect, a calm correction would have been enough, rather than resorting to name calling.

  21. Max Kennerly

    I’d love to hear how that link (which talks about the debate regarding narcissism) supports your view about the generation being “entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent,” but I doubt you actually read it, or read anything else about the workaholic attitudes of teenagers today and corresponding increases in anxiety, as also noted by your link.

    Most importantly, even accepting all of your stereotypes as true, your apparently lazy and incompetent mind has still failed to grasp the distinction between “most” and “all,” which is why a boorish spoilsport like you feels entitled to exploit the anxieties of a crowd by insulting them for your selfish amusement.

    You could have apologized. You could have left it alone. Instead, you re-published it with some taunting note about how you, personally, are entitled to insult your employees with impunity because you’re older. That has nothing to do with legitimate issues of “putting in your dues” or “respecting authority,” that’s just you treating others with contempt because you’re insecure.

  22. SHG

    If my assumption was incorrect, a calm correction would have been enough, rather than resorting to name calling.

    I could have. I chose not to.  When you make an erroneous assumption, suffer the consequences.

  23. SHG

    So I’m a lazy, incompetent, boorish spoilsport (spoilsport?), anxiety exploiting, insulting, selfish amuser.  Point?  No one makes you come here and read, right?

  24. Tim

    “Before you can assume to have a say in whether you would continue to work for… me, you would have to work for… me. It’s a before/after thing. You are not entitled to start with the presumption that [you] are already employed.”


    “…you don’t get a vote. That’s because I have the job to offer. You don’t.”


    “You don’t get to say you wouldn’t work for me, because you don’t have any money or a job, and I have both.”

    Unless you genuinely thought that the poster expected you to give him a real job so that he could resign from it (which I doubt), the only logical conclusion is that you were telling him that your position of power and control over his ability to work meant that he was not allowed to say he would hypothetically quit a hypothetical job at your office.

    Regardless, my bottom line is unchanged: arrogance is unbecoming of an attorney whether you feel you’ve earned it or not. You want these guys to grow up? Good call. Lead by example.

  25. SHG

    No, no, no, Tim.  You’ve done something you can never do.  You cannot fabricate a quote and attribute it to me.  A quote is something that someone actually says or writes, not some combination of things as filtered through your bizarrely erroneous misperception of what you think it should say.  Your bottom line is irrelevant.  Anyone who would fabricate a quote is no longer welcome here. 

  26. Susan Cameron

    Good grief I joined this blog because I believed it to be about “justice” and comments pertaining to such. You disappoint……

  27. Holden Oliver

    Scott is a visionary, and a flexible human, with many influences. But he won’t compromise clients, work or law practice. My boss wants me to grow up to be just like him. I have named both of my young children after him–even though it’s confusing to have two “Scotts” in the house, and my baby daughter may not like her name some day. I am just getting out of law school. But we do what we can. We fly the colors. And the dream–a world where bosses can once again expect excellence without apologizing–will never die.

  28. SHG

    I’ve disappointed you? I’m crushed, as you are the center of the universe and my entire life’s goal is to please you.

  29. Ken

    Wait — you have to join this blog? You can join this blog?

    Why was I not invited? Why was I not allowed to one of the new member mixers? Did you serve those shrimp puffs? I love shrimp puffs!

    It’s because of my forehead, isn’t it? Well I can’t help that, Scott! That’s just the way God made me!

  30. Matt

    I love the bitterness from one who suckled off the teat of the “greatest” generation. While we of Gen Y (I’m of the elder class) certainly have high expectations and don’t feel the need to (always) follow corporate mandate, we are far from lazy. I’m not sure who these “work life balance” proponents are but the millenials in my circle want to work hard. For this we may expect more sooner but why should we not? Because you didn’t? I’m not going to nod my head to some inane idea just because it comes from a 45 year old mouth. Especially a 45 year old who can’t figure out an email signature or basic Excel commands. While the law is certainly different than my profession (finance), your rant is consistent with others of your generation. You threaten because you fear being rendered obsolete by harder working, younger employees with the technical prowess you are incapable of possessing and an understanding of the global business environment you don’t care to grasp.

    That, and you’re pissed we wear flip-flops.

  31. SHG

    The shrimp puffs were delicious, but nothing compared to the little wieners in honey mustard sauce.

  32. SHG

    I have flip-flops.  I wear them to the pool.  They’re blue (as if you really care about my flip-flops).

  33. A Slackoisie

    I was born in 1980, am an employed attorney, and would never work for you, based on this post alone. I have no doubt that you’re an excellent trial lawyer, but your blog makes you sound like an insufferable tyrant of a boss, whose ego will prevent his practice from ever expanding beyond a petty fiefdom.

  34. SHG

    You are absolutely right.  You would find me insufferable, but not for the reason you think.  It has nothing to do with my ego, but my focus.  As a member of the Slackoisie, you would see the problem as ego, since you are blind to external responsibility and assume that everyone else’s world is centered solely on themselves.  In other words, you project your egocentricity onto me, because you can’t comprehend a world that isn’t all about you and assume that same of others.

    If you worked for me, you would be expected to put your client ahead of your pleasure, convenience and self-interest.  So yes, you could never work for me. And I pity any client who has you for their lawyer, gone fishing playing gameboy when they need you most.

  35. Holden Oliver

    I am 41. I have very good grades and credentials; can work pretty much anywhere I want, in U.S. or elsewhere. I would love to work for someone like Greenfield. You would take a ways a rare command of the art of the trial. Big egos go with great professionals–and great men and women. Big personalities are often fun. You guys should get used to that–or just work for people who at all times make you feel warm and fuzzy about yourselves.

  36. SHG

    You know what has proven fascinating about the comments of the Slackoisie, Holden.  Not once has anyone, as Stephanie West Allen noted in her post at Idealawg, even considered the implications of their views on the client.  No one showed the slightest interest in their responsibility to the people they are charged with representing and who pay the money that pays their salaries.  Not one mentioned “client”. There was nothing beyond “me”.

    They all want an ice cream party for being such wonderful people, if they do say so themselves.

  37. Tab

    After reading your Slackosie-directed comments and the rebuttal of Adrian Dayton, I have to wonder if may the reason you and others of your generation find the Slackosie so insufferable is because many of them have never held a real job in their lives.
    Let’s take Dayton as an example. Here is a man who, from his blog biography, has had total one job in his fourteen working age years (30 years old minus 16 years). He only held this job for one year. Now however, he pretends to be an expert in the legal field. I do mean pretend, because the fellow’s work experience in either the legal or non-legal fields is less than negligible.
    Further, Mr. Dayton, like some spoiled child, bemoans -BEMOANS- the fact that his father chose a life of helping others all the while enjoying the privileges that are the fruits of his brilliant and hardworking father’s labor. The insanity of this is that no doubt Mr. Dayton thinks himself an all around better human being than his father because he got roam around Chile as a humanitarian for two years and gets to spend time with his child. Yet, lost in all of this is the glaring fact that Mr. Dayton could not have enjoyed any such luxuries had his father not worked his butt off to provide for him.
    And I say this coming as twenty-nine year old attorney who was also a “latch-key” kid. The difference between me and Mr. Dayton, however, is that my parents were working class folks. We didn’t have money for extras. I worked throughout high school. I worked three jobs while attending an Ivy League university. I worked full-time while attending a tier four law school and night. In fact, the only time I have never been able to find employment was after I graduated from law school, because of my lack of prestige and abysmal grades.
    So SHG, while I find you hilariously crotchety, I think your points about the more privileged in my generation are well taken.

  38. A Slackoisie

    I’ve put the client ahead of my own life plenty, and have been asked to do so by many partners in your generation. They’ve just have some courtesy about it, whereas I have my strong doubts about your management style. You’re presumably an employer of young attorneys, yet you’ve tarnished the entire lot of them in a very public fashion. Sort of a dumb thing to do if you want to attract youthful talent, but I’m guessing that the bottom of the class at NYLS doesn’t have many options right now.

  39. Hyphen

    No one mentioned peanut butter crunch bars either.

    Maybe because your post made no mention of the clients?

    This post was nothing more than a self-centered, self-congratulatory post about your “peak” skills in comparison to those of a younger generation.

    It is you that obviously desires the ice cream party in honor of your ego.

  40. SHG

    Adrian is a fine young man.  Misguided in certain ways, but I don’t impugn his integrity.  I, on the other hand, am a curmudgeon.  And proud of it.

  41. SHG

    You assume and presume too much, an unfortunate trait in an attorney.  The bottom of the class at HLS wants a job as well.  As to whether you;’ve put the client ahead of your own life, I’m glad to hear it. 

  42. SHG

    To good attorneys, the client is always at the heart of what we do.  To you, it’s apparently peanut butter crunch bars.  Your excess sugar intake might explain your need to attack rather than learn. 

  43. Tab

    I don’t impugn his integrity either. I’m sure he is a good man – idealistic, hardworking, etc. I guess my grander point is that those of my generation who hold the Slackosie mentality are perhaps more likely to be found in big law and in-house. Thus partners see a larger concentration of them then say the probable majority of young lawyers who are just trying to work hard to pay down student loans and such.

  44. SHG

    An excellent choice. With topics ranging from Biglaw layoffs to what to do when an associate has a pimple and desires interoffice sex, ATL will far better satisfy the full panoply of Slackoisie interests and concerns.  I hope you find the fulfillment and support that you desire.

  45. SHG

    One of the points I reiterate is that your year of birth does not dictate what type of lawyer, or person, you have to be.  Every millenial has a choice, and a chance to grow up, and appreciate the role that each of us can play in society.  Each can contribute to its betterment, or demand that society contribute to their.  The greater the vehemence of the Slackoisie in arguing their entitlement, the more they show the generalization to be accurate, particularly as to the person doing the arguing. 

    What’s particularly sad is that they wholly fail to comprehend mistakes made by prior generations, my own included, don’t absolve the Slackoisie of responsibility for themselves.  So many use this opportunity to lash out at their parents for leaving them such a horrible world, and yet lack the depth of understanding to recognize that their “solution” is to make it even worse by abandoning all pretense of caring about anything other than themselves and boldly announcing that the errors of their fathers justify their vision of a future that’s all about “me”. 

    The saving grace is that there are Millenials, like you, who are not the Slackoisie.  You will have to carry the weight while your peers wait around for the ice cream cake to be served.  You have a heavy burden.

  46. mythago

    Kids today, why, they’re lazy. They don’t know how to work, like we did. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter. And their music? It’s just noise!

    Really, did I miss anything?

    More seriously, I find the carping about slackers hilarious in a legal job market where associates are seen as “billable units” (yes, that is an actual quote from a name partner of a large firm) and where the financial cost of law school makes worthy, but lower-paid jobs, a very difficult option. Some of us are also the children of lawyers who worked twice as hard to be thought half as good, because they were female, or weren’t white guys who belonged to the same clubs and churches as the decision-makers at the firm, and noticed that there’s not a lot of point in trying to prove yourself in that environment.

  47. SHG

    Assuming all you’ve said to be true, it sounds like an awfully good reason to find your future in an endeavor other than law.  What it does not do is justify becoming a lawyer and then demanding that the world recreate itself to suit your convenience, personal pleasure and satisfaction.  If there’s no point in trying to prove yourself in that environment, would the solution not be to remove yourself from that environment?

    So in answer to your question, yes, you missed everything. 

  48. RH

    Anyone arrogant (and ignorant) enough to make sweeping generalizations about tens of millions of people he doesn’t know is not someone I would want as my lawyer and definitely not someone I would ever work for (oh, and before you get smug about not offering said job—some people do get to choose their employment, even in this economy). A good lawyer is thoughtful, considered and prepared — not a person who would casually make the indefensible and unprovable comments you toss around. I’m sure you are a very successful attorney–skilled at churning criminal cases and bullying opponents to settlement in an overwhelmed market like New York. No doubt you are very good at making money and you are correct that making money is, and should be, the ultimate goal for most attorneys (it is a business after all). Of course, being good at making money and handling rough-and-tumble criminal matters doesn’t make you a good lawyer or a sound thinker. I suggest you stick to what you know and leave the sociology to others.

  49. SHG
    Every time I think we’ve come to locate the nadir of Slackoisie wankiness, someone like you comes along to prove us wrong.  My favorite line,

    I’m sure you are a very successful attorney–skilled at churning criminal cases and bullying opponents to settlement in an overwhelmed market like New York.

    Classic.  Your mother must be so proud.

  50. Dan Hull

    Hey Sweetie, this is America. Let’s pretend Scott is a “mean” guy. That’s good. You want him on your side. Let’s also assume that Scott aggressively represents Clients. That’s good, too. It’s all about Them–not about you, or being polite. You want people like that as a teacher. Finally, criminal defense lawyers are the best people-readers you will find. Better even than people who do wills and car accidents. Or the municipal-bond folks. You can trust me on that.

    Scott and I are really your friends; we’re not like the others. Say, what are you doing later on?

  51. SHG

    Stop it!  You’re confusing him now, and getting him overly excited.  He’ll have to take his ritalin.

  52. von

    As for why we deal in generalization, the answer should be too obvious for words, and has been explained here numerous times to those for whom this is a tough concept. Do you really need me to explain it to you as well?

    Umm, thanks, but no. I understand why one deals in generalizations. My half-serious point was that your generalization regarding a hypothetical Gen-Y attorney is a bit on the nose for you. And enjoying these kinds of simple ironies is my generation’s central passtime.

  53. Colorlessblueideas

    SHG: I could have [responded with a correction rather than name-calling]. I chose not to. When you make an erroneous assumption, suffer the consequences.

    Compare and contrast:
    SHG: In fact, Gen Y is far more conservative than boomers, lacking empathy and acting exclusively in their self-interest.

    It appears that, when it comes to lacking empathy, SHG more closely resembles the stereotypical Gen Yers he castigates. Given that research has established fairly well that those on the U.S. “conservative” side of the spectrum tend to be more altruistic and caring than those on the U.S. “left” side, this is not surprising.

    [If you’re wondering, I’m also a boomer who voted the right way in 2000, 2004, and 2008; at least in the former cases, that means my vote apparently differed from SHG’s.]

    All that said, I have observed a long continuum between the obsessive workaholics and the ueber-slacker. While the mean shifts from generation to generation (and, in my experience, roughly in the directions the stereotype mentioned), it does not seem to be nearly as polarized as SHG’s original post indicated. There are plenty of workaholics and plenty of slackers in each.

  54. SHG

    While it’s always possible, I find it difficult to imagine that you’re a boomer given your rush to assumption.  What makes you think my response was due to lack of empathy rather than an intention to make a point?  And you think you know how I voted?  Certainly, there are boomer who fit the mold of being so egocentric that they believe whatever notion pops into their head, baseless or otherwise, is inherently right, but as the comments here amply demonstrate, it’s a pervasive trait of the Slackoisie.  That said, my guess is that you’re a 22 year old pretending to be a grown up on the internet waiting for mommy to call you upstairs for dinner.  Especially when you hide behind a silly name like that.

  55. Moneypenny

    I agree. I do think there is a distinction to be made between a person who identifies characteristics of an environment which they don’t like (for example, long hours in BigLaw) and demands the environment change to suit them, rather than making a choice either to adapt to the environment, leave the environment or contribute positively to changing it – in this case, perhaps by envisaging more efficient ways to do things which don’t compromise client service or integrity. But nobody is going to listen to any ideas when you haven’t earnt your stripes and proven yourself as a person of professional integrity, commitment and ethics, with an understanding of how the world works and your place in it. In my observation, there are very few lawyers who get that fresh out of the box, and it’s usually because they’ve been senior something-elses in prior careers.

    I have no patience for Youth of Today (or indeed, Youth of the Past, like Gen X me !) who make demands – I have endless patience for people who ask thoughtful questions, make respectful requests and pose sensible suggestions for new ways of thinking or doing things, given the overall goal. And I have no patience for people who leave the client or their team in the lurch because they haven’t pulled their weight and have an elsewhere to be. That’s not balance, that’s dereliction of duty.

  56. Moneypenny

    Or maybe those women and non-white guys worked twice as hard to prove themselves because they wanted to be a part of that environment, and then contributed to changing it just by being there and involved?

    I have no issue with the Youth of Today asking questions or making suggestions about how things can be done better or more efficiently. I have a serious problem with the Youth of Today (or anyone else) demanding that things change just because they don’t want the same life as their parents’. Firstly, their parents are not my problem, figuring out what to do for my client is the problem. Secondly, there are always choices available – adapt, leave or prove yourself and find ways to do things better.

    If you want to prove yourself in that environment, put in the hours, do what it takes. But ultimately, a partnership is a group of like-minded individuals – if they don’t want you, why do you want them? It’s like complaining that you haven’t been picked by the cool group at school. If you meet the partnership criteria, you’ll make partner – and if you don’t, go blaze your own trail somewhere else.


    Hmmm. My mention of the irony in SHG’s inconsistency seems to have touched a sore spot. He asks, “What makes you think my response was due to lack of empathy rather than an intention to make a point?” I had briefly thought of the pedagogical possibility, but the snarkiness — for lack of a better word — was
    contraindicative: Tough nuggies. It offended you? Who cares. [sic] . . . you’re a dolt. (To pick two examples.) What came across was not so much a “lack of empathy” but a lack of caring what others thought. Perhaps, if, as he says, boomers are “so egocentric”, he was just trying to establish his bona fides as a boomer.

    In any event, thus my conjecture. As for voting, I thought SHG’s 5:48 AM
    5/22/09 post re voting “the wrong way” indicated his voting preference, but perhaps he was using it sarcastically. His post is ambiguous in that regard and, if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. My professions have been those which much more highly value accuracy over advocacy, so difficulties in communications are not unexpected. (I am not being judgmental, but observing. A trial lawyer’s job is to be an advocate for his client.)

    Evenso, I find myself in agreement with a fair subset of SHG’s remarks, but (as he has later expanded) find
    the “slackoisie” to be well represented in humanity of all generations. (Perhaps the slackoisie in the Gen Y cohort is just more visible; even “the greatest generation” had more than its desirable share.) I also believe that one’s career and profession are to be in service to one’s family and such responsibilities. That is not always clear-cut.

    As for his speculation that I’m a 22-year-old, I couldn’t help but laugh. Heck’s becks, I’ve been using
    e-mail for more than 22 years! Like much of SHG’s commentary, the speculation is partially correct (I am older than twenty-two), but it is less than half right.

    BTW, the nom-de-net “” predates the Great Political Color Shift (whereby the Reds are now called “blue”, and vice versa) by a number of years. And Noam Chomsky: he does very well at separating his horrible politics from his linguistics professional writing, in a way that is worth emulating.

  58. SHG

    A much better comment with a surprising amount of effort.  Many commenters do what you did in your first try, indulge in facile assumption and then riff off it, as if their thinking so was just as good as knowing what they are talking about.  Ironically, this has been particularly prevalent in the “Slackoisie” posts, which is part of the characteristics of entitlement.  If I think so, it must be.  Since you’ve put in the effort, you deserve a more serious response.

    I didn’t really think you were 22, but sought to make the point by superimposing this facially baseless assumption onto you to point out the fallacy of the approach.  It’s no more right or wrong than your assumption as to how I vote or how much empathy I have.  By the way, snarkiness (it was a fine word) isn’t contraindicative of empathy, but rather a means of addressing fallacious arguments.  I suspect you’re smart enough to know the reason why I respond to silly points with snarky responses. I can’t revisit every issue from scratch for every new commenter who questions it or challenges the most basic aspects.  See Eternal September.

    The point of the Slackoisie series of posts isn’t to put down Gen Y, but to highlight the mistaken focus that leads them astray in the hope that they will stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about what role they want to play for the future.  It’s purpose is entirely empathetic.  The mechanism is sarcasm.  The hope is that some will change their ways. 

    But one thing that remains true.  If you want your opinions to be taken seriously, then you undercut it by posting with your nom-de-net, cute variation of Chomksy thought it may be.  Half the comments on the internet (likely more) are of the “I think . . . ” ilk, which is utterly meaningless.  Are you 22 or 52?  Are you a lawyer for 30 second or 30 years?  It provides the basis for opinion that makes it meaingful or meaningless.  Which it is depends on who you are.  If you choose to go anon, then you have to expect that your views won’t be given the credence they might otherwise deserve.  That’s the giveback.  Even so, it doesn’t entitle anyone to make up facts at will to suit one’s argument, and false assumption (which is readily apparent to regulars even if not to the day-tripper) diminishes the value and credibility of  a comment, often to the point of sheer silliness.

    That said, wouldn’t your efforts be better put to helping a generation, so deeply engaged in its self-entitlement, to see a purpose to its existence beyond their next video game?  Use your smarts for good instead of evil.

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