"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak." ~Jay Leno 5 Ways to Spot a Young Professional
Being an artsy English lover and self proclaimed business ne'er-do-well (thanks thesaurus widget!) I quite naturally have a hard time understanding young professional types. They are the illusive and obtrusive beings who focused more on their developing 401k than their high school chemistry test. They seem to always be on the cutting edge of whatever it is they do (I never really know). You see them every day. They are in your math class making business deals on their laptop, at starbucks talking synergy with a CEO triple their age, or in your house running their own startup online business off of their iPhone. These guys and gals are necessary players in the grand scheme of business and while they are usually very sketchy and strange, they are magnets for success. So here it is, I've composed a list of ways to recognize these elite economists so that you and I can find them and grab hold of their friendship before they're too rich to talk to us.
1. Business Jargon
Listen for the young professional to use business terminology in business occasions, casual lunches, over coffee, at the movies and basically anywhere
else where you might see them. Coffee with a friend was "productive." Dan has a lot to "bring to the table." Their new idea is full of "incentive" to "leap-frog" the competition and "modularize" and "monetize" the new "mindshare." Young professionals spit this stuff like Kanye West at a Taylor Swift birthday party. They accumulate this arsenal of business vocabulary so that the other young professionals will be able to detect their conversation from across Starbucks. Try and pick up on the vocabulary as much as possible but be careful about using their jargon at the wrong time. Young professionals have a keen ear and know how to pick up on a business noob. However, since being a young professional is 99% attitude and 1% ability, just fake it hard if you're going to fake it. Young professionals are never wrong and are never short of ideas.
If you're wondering if the guy sitting across from you is a young professional or just a guy with a bluetooth, ask him if he knows a guy in shipping. If he looks at you blankly or is even the slightest bit unenthusiastic about helping you out, he's definitely not a young professional. Young professionals' bread and butter is networking. Networking is the buzzword for professionals who don't do anything besides talk to people. They know more people than the Pope and no matter what your situation, they know a guy. However, be careful when testing young professionals with this test because you could inadvertently be testing a mobster (who will undoubtedly also know a guy.)
3. sketchy job This category is my personal favorite because it's by far the most confusing. The young professional has never worked a 9-5 and never will. If you ask a young professional what they do for a living, they will undoubtedly give you some sort of 8 word configuration of vague business nouns that don't seem to form a sentence. Such as, "I'm a financial consultant but I also dabble in monetary equity management, specifically cyber synergy." Usually all this means is that the professional in question gets paid money to sit around and talk about ways to make things work better, which they'll frequently interrupt to get lunch or coffee where they talk more about more ways to make things better.
4. constantly overdressed
The young professional views each day as a potential business opportunity therefore finds it necessary to dress the part of a successful businessman all the time. Look for the young professional to dress in a suit to go work out in, at the gym (they'll of course change at the gym, but this is their opportunity to look like they just came from the office). Even when they're not wearing a suit and tie, the professional is always wearing at least one article of clothing worth more than the average engagement ring. Along with this pricey attire are the extravagant accessories, and no I'm not only talking about the females. Look for blackberries, iPhones, laptops, rolex watches, gps systems inside of overpriced cars, and anything else that is shiny and expensive. The young professional doesn't always have enough money to pay for these items but since they have imaginary jobs they make imaginary money and somehow it all works out (that is, until they get billions of dollars into debt and ask the government for cash).
5. love of coffee
I know what you're thinking. I love coffee. You love coffee. We all love coffee, so why are the young professionals different? They're different in the amount and (supposed) quality of their coffee compared to ours. While both the average businessman and young professional claim to be coffee addicts, the young professional would never touch that "impure crappy brewed stuff" the rest of us are so used to. The $6 cup of coffee you drink as a treat once a year is their lackluster backup when they run out of their %100 whole bean naturally separated baristo express cup of java. They drink lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, ciders, specialty teas, and all natural fruity combinations the likes of which make Starbucks employees ask for a dictionary. They also drink more coffee than you drink liquid in a week. They justify this passion for caffeine by "getting coffee" as opposed to plain old "drinking coffee." If you're ever invited to "get coffee," take a notepad, your nicest pants, and a voice recorder for notes. Young professionals have their best thoughts over coffee. In fact, they have their only thoughts over coffee because they're always drinking it.
"I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business." ~Henry David Thoreau
Can you think of any other traits of young professionals?