Fun_People Archive
15 Jun
I'm not immature, I'm adult-challenged

Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 16:49:55 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: I'm not immature, I'm adult-challenged

[It must be telling-your-age time again... -psl]

Forwarded-by: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: (Guy Harris)
Forwarded-by: bickford@cloud9.Eng.Sun.COM (Susan Bickford)
From: a review of Dan Zevin's, "Entry-Level Life: A Complete Guide to
Masquerading as a Member of the Real World" in the Sunday NY Times
Business section

Advice from Dan Zevin's "Entry-Level Life: A Complete Guide to
Masquerading as a Member of the Real World"

Copy Machine No-Trouble-Shooting Guide

Trouble			Indication			Solution
Paper tray is empty	Threatening beeping sound; 	Walk away; return in
			frightening flashing pictogram	10 minutes
Needs toner		Frightening flashing pictogram	Walk away; return in
							10 minutes
Paper jam		Machine stops and retains	Walk away; return in
			original document		10 minutes with intern
Your boss is violently	You have been asked to sort,	Place your resume
insane			stack AND stape 600 double-	under lid, set for
			sided copies of the New		600 copies, walk away;
			Testament			return in 10 hours
Machine is working	You are sorting, stacking AND	Accidentally sprinkle
			stapling 600 double-sided	box of paper clips into
			copies of the New Testatment	rotary mechanism, place
			for your violently insane boss	"Out of Order" sign on
							lid, walk away
You are becoming	You have started taking pride	Run away
violently insane	in your copying prowess	

Barbara Presley Noble
New York Times, Sunday, June 12, 1994

"Another generation discovers the market value - zero - of the iambic

When Dan Zevin graduated from New York University a few years ago, he
took his new journalism degree uptown to Rolling Stone magazine and put
it to use as an intern. He figured he would soon be kicking around stray
ideas with Jann Wenner, interviewing Tom Petty and lunching with
Springsteen. Reality intruded. His duties were just a shade more prosaic
than expected. "I was not the hole puncher, but the person who puts the
brass tacks in the previously punched holes," he remembers.  "And
Xeroxing.  I learned a whole lot about the Xerox machine."

In every generation idealism must bite the dust. But it rarely does so
with as much good humor as in Mr. Zevin's new book, "Entry-Level Life:
A Complete Guide to Masquerading as a Member of the Real World." The
book, released by Bantam Books in time for graduation season, is a
compendium of cheerfully cynical advice on making the transition from
the amniotic sac that is college to the Real World, wherein people who
once spent their junior year tracking down all the surviving members of
the Brady Bunch suddenly acquire morning routines and NEW colanders.

The book includes topics like interviewing prospective roomates
(Critical questions: Do you own a VCR? A CD player? A remote controlled
TV? Do you now or have you ever owned a Wilson Phillips recording?);
understanding nutrition (the four Real-World food groups: Take-out,
Delivery, Vending Machine, Restaurant); signing the office birthday card
(eschew the happy face), and coping with mid-midlife crisis (move to
Seattle).  [Ouch!  -psl]

Mr. Zevin said in an interview last week that he wrote the book in
reaction to all the ostensibly useful, ostensibly serious books his
parents gave him when he graduated from college. "I wanted to write an
intentionally funny book," he said. Parents could do worse than give
"Entry-Level Life" to their graduates - it is after all cheaper than a
new car, a Fender Stratocaster or subsidizing another summer on the
Lollapalooza tour - but it might not be in their interest: one of the
ways to adapt to adulthood, Mr. Zevin suggests, is to move back home
into, as he calls it, a "rent-free life style."

The heart of "Entry-Level Life" is Mr. Zevin's advice on finding,
hanging onto and leaving jobs, a section that combines in one place all
the best sentiments from "How to Succeed in Business Without Really
Trying," "My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" and "Take This Job
and Shove It." He notes that most new graduates suffer from reality
shock. Many, for example, think college grade point averages mean
something in the Real World. Some even think they can get a job through
the want ads. Mr. Zevin admits he once fell for a newspaper ad:
"'Recent grad wanted to travle the world and a million dollars, call at
3 today,'" he recited. It was an employment agency. Surprise - the job
was filled. "They told me to get a haircut," he said.

Mr. Zevin urges job seekers to be resourceful. "Apply the same approach
you would to getting an apartment; look at the obituaries. Send your
resume to their surviving employer," he said. He devotes a section to
resume constructions which means putting what may be meager work
experience in the best possible light without actually lying (you
weren't a "filer" you were an "alphabetization technician"). And
lessons from school are not entirely irrelevant, he contends: select a
job the same you you selected your college courses, by which starts
latest in the day.

He is not impervious to the rewards of dedication. There is a section
on managing supervisors and on the semiotics of contemporary office
design.  New employees and those slow to rise work from cubes hard by
other cubes, all filled with a variety of semi-sufferable office types.
"What you're working for is a door-based environment," Mr. Zevin said.

This may all sound like advice relevant to only to the 29-year-old Mr.
Zevin's fellow Generation X-ers, but his plaint that iambic pentameter
has little Real World utility transcends the decades. "Entry-Level
Life" should resonate with all those Peter Pan baby boomers who decline
to think of themselves as grown-ups, even though they've been around
long enough to see the return of the lava lamp and have children old
enough to say things like, "Hey, these guys are really good," upon
discovering the Beatles.

The book reveals the real world's dirtiest little secret: you don't
actually have to be a grown-up to play one. Well into midlife and as
long as the ambition police don't find out, you can do almost any form
of work and still prefer to be finding the perfect play order of
Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album. If you pretend you know what you're
doing, people will be tricked into taking you seriously.

This discovery may be a relief, but it leads to what Mr. Zevin calls,
"the fear of being found out," and this is truly the sensation that
links generations, for research shows that only a handful of people who
graduated from Harvard, Yale or Columbia during the 1950's are not
afflicted by this fear. Mr. Zevin said his father laughed in
recognition when he read that section of the book and made a
contribution. It is a feeling that never goes away completely and to
anyone who says it does, well, in the words of Stuart Smalley, denial
is not just a river in Egypt.

The other thing that never goes away is this question, from Mr. Zevin's

His answer should work in perpetuity as well.

	"WHAT YOU THINK:	Barbados.
	"WHAT YOU SAY:		In management."

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []