The LinkedIn post I didn’t post on LinkedIn

David Alfe was twice my age when he went to work for me at the Starbucks store on South Street, Philadelphia. He had run restaurants and was a lot more qualified than me to manage the store but he was also going through a divorce and didn’t need the added stress of a hard job, so he applied for barista instead. And there were times I could see in David’s eyes a pause, a moment of resistance perhaps, when I asked or told him to do certain things. Behind his eyes he was maybe questioning if that made sense, or asking himself why he was working for someone half his age, with maybe half his skills at managing stores.

And now I feel like David Alfe working with a person who was born around the time I probably got that first job with Starbucks, 30 years ago. So it’s hard, because there’s nothing I can do about my age and nothing she can do either, and yet I feel some resistance being told what to do by someone so much younger. This is nothing new of course, people everywhere experience it. It’s made me rethink the need for status as a motivator though, status being something I didn’t think I cared much about but now realize I do.

I’ve come back to looking at what motivates me, and this dual-edged thing called ambition. There’s an ego/pride undercurrent to it I’ve felt many times before, that’s lit a certain glow around me others sense. It can attract or repel of course. It can lead you way off course too, I’ve found.

I updated my long-form resume, which is five pages long and jam-packed with lots I’ve done the past 20 years or so. I started thinking about applying for a director-level position at Microsoft, a hefty pay level, almost executive. It’s a stretch, but I got some validation from a former Microsoft client and friend that it’s viable. I sat with the idea of that. There would be no more afternoon baths with a job like that. No more starting to prep dinner at 4, or cleaning my head out on the weekends. Jobs like that paid a lot and took a lot, arguably taking more than they gave.

…unless what they gave fed that ambition you felt you needed. Fed your income and family dreams, financed college for the kids, financed comfort. A kind of exchange where long periods of work and discomfort yield an overlay of comfort known as financial security, early retirement.

All of it got too stark to contemplate, being north of 50 with maybe 10 years of work followed by maybe 10-20 years of post-work and that’s about it. “Existential?,” yes.

As is often the case it would be a lot easier to just keep doing what I had been doing and try not to let the age dynamic bother me.

But my ambition didn’t like the sound of that, wouldn’t stand for it. I’d be updating my resume, again.

Categories: identity, writing

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22 replies

  1. Mmmm – I recognize your dilemma – been there. Hope you find a reasonable mix of commitment, salary, personal time. (Hard to assess w/o jumping in!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I once hired a retired accountant to perform the job of A/P clerk at a nonprofit where I worked. I’m really familiar with that look in the eye: “I could run circles around this kid…” Your post is the polar opposite of my last post. Almost like we were arguing about it and both decided to write up our side of the argument.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The prospect of a super job, satisfying ambition, coupled with status and decent money –

    “Move, dance to the rhythm, nice and easy
    I want ya to move
    Puttin’ it on, puttin’ it on”

    (Puttin’ on the ritz)

    Good luck, Bill.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Also, do you write articles to post on LinkedIn? That’s very professional of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t! I entertained it in the past but I balk at the platform some I think. Feel this instinct to be punk rock there and it’s not a good look, doesn’t seem to go over well. I’m guessing you could relate to that somehow, wanting to buck the system. “I bite my thumb at thee” kind of thing.


  5. I’m working for a private practice owned by a guy younger than me. In the interview I told him in 3 years or so I wanted to be doing what he’s doing. I told him I wanted the next person I work for to be the last person I work for. Felt good to say it, and he seemed to understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow that’s some good language there, mister! I like it! Thanks for sharing. This is the way of things now. We are moving to the edge, so to speak. No cow metaphors please. We are in fact beyond eating perhaps, not worth eating more like it. I don’t think this is holding up, this metaphor.


  6. Oof. This hits home. Comfort vs risk. Security vs fulfillment. I’ve increasingly noted that my back goes up when I’m asked — not even told! — to do something. I’m 57 years old, don’t be asking me to do things I’m not interested in! Oh wait, that’s my job…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny, the back going up. It’s good to recognize it, I’m glad I’ve been able to because it doesn’t have a good look in the workplace, to be indignant like that. Happy Monday mister! We are heading off to Germany later this afternoon. Catch you from the other side!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It can be tough to make a leap like that, especially when you’re weighing a large number of factors. Good luck with the resume and I hope you have a merry Christmas even as the future looms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Christopher thanks for that and lovely as always to hear from you. Happy holidays! Think I saw maybe you celebrated Hanukkah this week? We just arrived in Germany and are spending Christmas over here at my mom’s old house. Be well!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There is status, of course. Being admired for what one has achieved.
    Then there is respect. I think that for me the rub lies there. If someone has got to know me and my skills, such as they are, enough to acknowledge the experience and knowledge I might bring, then perhaps they approach me about a task differently. ‘Couse these days I’m happy to be asked to do anything. Empty the trash? Yes Ma’am!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that delineation and that’s a good reminder Bruce, thanks for that. I’m more in the respect camp than status I think. I’m big on emptying the trash, too. Good day and happy Friday to you mister! Hope you’re doing something nice this evening on Christmas Eve-eve.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We were, Bill. The boy and I watched the first two episodes of The Beatles Anthology. It was wonderful to share it with him. Ms Connection went to a friends place to watch ‘Love Actually’. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tis the season for Love Actually, that’s on our list. Table for One, also. Will save that for post-Christmas. Glad to hear you and the boy got some of that great Beatles in you. Tis the season for that now too, as we’re on the one-year anniversary of its release!

        Liked by 1 person

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