I apologise, I couldn’t resist. In these days of quick, wise and cool advises on what (not) to do in an job interview, on how to be rich in 24 hours, how to have a perfect relationship or how to cook turkey in the oven, I wanted to contribute with this wisdom that the altar of Internet has given me.
1. Stop Reading Any of Those Tips, Including This One. Now
Come on, a little bit of cop on, as they would say around here. You have been working, studying, eating, flirting or walking your dog all your life. You don’t need anyone to tell you how to tie your shoe laces. Even though you might see those trendy influencers with religious admiration, they belong to the same animal specie as you and me, trust me, there are scientists out there that can prove it.
My life went downhill when I started reading those kind of things. I thought I was up to date, modern and cool, but things were going better before that moment in my life, and things are going much better since I follow my (un) common sense.
2. Never Trust a Real Estate Agent, a Recruiter or a Community Manager
Why would you? A real estate agent is a human being like you and me, true. They are doing their job and everyone needs to make a living, true. If they could sell or rent you a garbage bin as an organic duplex with natural refrigeration, they would do it. Your life might be condemned to eternal debt if you choose -or are chosen by- the wrong smiling real estate agent. Don’t trust them. True.
Never trust a recruiter. Even if it’s your best friend, your boyfriend or girlfriend. Probably they recruited you. You were the right candidate, you ticked all the boxes, you spoke languages, you were skilled… in all areas. Wars have started for more trivial things than that. They will try to sell you a job that nobody wants to do. This is provided that you are lucky enough to be in the process of being sold a job, of course. Otherwise, they will care less about you than an out-of-date slice of cucumber in a McBurger. Without ketchup to make it smoother. Yes, that’s a generalisation. So what?
In the evolution of species, Homo sapiens sapiens evolved into us, human beings. But while the group was hunting to bring food home and minding the children, there was a subgroup that started to develop different activities: they stayed in the entrances of the caves and tried to impose their modus vivendi. They didn’t accept the members in the group if they weren’t properly shaved or didn’t have a proactive, multitasking and hunting under stress attitude.
Thousands of years later, university degrees would even be created with such strange names as Human Resources (what about animal rights here?) where you could study how to become a recruiter. Many of them didn’t even study that, but they had a proactive, team-player, multitasking and passionate attitude towards recruiting and short-circuiting people, so they became admired people in society: they could get drunk on Fridays and go back to work on Monday with a results-oriented focus.
Feck it, like, it sounds cool, I think I’m going back to college.
Community Managers. Just this name makes me grin. Old professions in new environments with new names. My father taught me to be grumpy and I follow his advise. Paternal loyalty, what can I do?
I won’t develop this point. Just to mention that it is one of these things that seem trendy just for the sake of it. If you want to be a Community Manager, first of all, you have to learn to write and use less emoticons.
3. Buy Local, But Cheap
I read this one somewhere.
4. Say Hello to Your Neighbour
Even if they don’t. You are not a real estate agent, a recruiter or a community manager. Say hello. It’s easy, free and there is no need to be impolite.
A recent research shows that the wealthier an area is, the less helloes are said. Don’t forget what your mama, your papa and your grandma said. The fact that you are are doing well doesn’t mean you are not an absolute eejit (‘well’ means having money here, many people who thought they were doing ‘well’ found their spouse in the kitchen with the gardener who said hello every morning, and not having a cup of tea precisely).
Another study demonstrated how the amount of sincere helloes uttered is inversely proportional to the degree of constipation. Really, I see a lot of people with a grin in their face in my area. Residential area an so on.
5. When Working, It Doesn’t Matter What Really You Do, but What It Looks Like You Are Doing
It doesn’t always work, of course. But from my personal experience, I have worked in some places, in one in particular, producing like a slave, great results and so on, and still I was being made my life impossible everyday by a just a little bit less slave in the hierarchy. On the other hand, I have been working in another place where I worked with less intensity but I always had a big smile (try the recruiter or estate agent smile, that one always work): everything went perfectly fine and I made great friends there.
I am still in contact with some of them and that was years ago. And they said hello every morning by the way. Big hello to my friends of Zaragoza.
6. Everything Has a Price, Yes, But Don’t Sell Your Mother
Everyone has had experiences where they have been tried to be bought. Everyone has been offered 1 million € to sell their body or their soul, just like Demi Moore in that film. Well, to be honest I haven’t, but I wish I had!
Anyway, what really matters is that everybody has worked, studied or lived with people who don’t care about anyone (the no-helloes type) and just want personal success. And that success implies usually a material success, derived from professional success (unless they are professional thieves, which is actually another respectful profession). These people are everywhere, they are out there, they are watching you. They don’t have to be a bank executive. They can be a garbage collector or your housemate, your colleague or the folk you play football with on Wednesdays.
Don’t trust them.
These people are usually quite smart people, and great actors. These people have a fixed plan for the next 30 years of their lives, and they will try to achieve it no matter what. They are a mutation of psychopaths still to be diagnosed. They would sell their mother for a good offer. Even their grandmother for a worse offer. They will use a broad repertoire of smiles (remember the real estate agent smile?) to seduce you and then… then they will stab you to death (this is a metaphor).
Don’t be like that, please. I know, we don’t want to be poor, we all need to progress, to succeed, to be Emperors of the World. Who doesn’t want that? But what about our integrity, your poor mama, your poor granny who is 93 years old?
But if in the end you decide to sell them, at least it has to be for an offer that will allow you not having to work again. Ever.
7. Don’t Be a Pagafantas
We were talking about integrity and about not selling one’s body nor soul. As part of it, in this accelerated course on how to succeed in everything (and more), a crucial point is not to become a “pagafantas”. Pagafantas was a Spanish movie released in 2009 which could be literally translated as “Fantas payer”, that is, the lad who is best friends with a girl he fancies and who just buys fantas for her or carries her shopping bags. No need to say that the girl is interested in other men. That could be applied the other way round, but the in the movie the “Pagafantas” is a lad.
Everyone knows a pagafantas, and everyone has been a pagafantas at certain point of their lives. But now we have an age and a decency. The moment has come to say no. Don’t be like that, please. If the guy/gal doesn’t like us, well, the world is big. And Fantas are getting more expensive with the VAT raise.
The movie is translated into English as “Friendzone”. You can see the trailer with English subtitles here.
8. Don’t Put Chorizo in Everything, Especially Not in a Paella!
Irish people have mostly good things, and some extravagant behaviours too. Irish cuisine has evolved incredibly since the times of potatoes, potatoes, and potatoes. And cabbage. There are international and sophisticated restaurants in every corner of the island. They travel, they emigrate, and they have good chefs.
However (the famous ‘however’), I don’t know why -it is a mystery still to be solved- they love to put chorizo everywhere. Spanish food (Mediterranean food in general, but probably Spanish above all) and tapas are the cool stuff going on. Dublin has the very least (the ones I walked by) 6, 7 or 8 Spanish tapas restaurants. Many of them owned and managed by Spanish people. Many other restaurants which are not Spanish offer Spanish tapas too. And they put chorizo in the paella. Arghhhhhh! I love chorizo, and I love morcilla (a Spanish black pudding, but with different taste and nicer), but you-do-not-put-them-into-paella. Their flavour is too strong for that, and you will be killing a nice seafood rice by doing that. Chorizo is rather for stews (lentils, beans, chickpeas), potatoes and so on. I appreciate the effort and the interest, but chorizo doesn’t match with paella.
9. Your Family and Your Friends, like in The Godfather
If you haven’t sold them yet, remember they are the most important things you have. That and the million euros you got for you granny. They will always be there even if you are a total scumbag. No matter what you do, even when you sell you grandma some friend will still talk to you, either visiting you in prison or in the Bahamas. Really. Buy them a present for Christmas and another one for their birthday. And call them every now and then. It is not so difficult and you will need someone to buy you chorizo if the Gardaí get you.
Elections are coming and they are European and so on, yes. They are not very exciting for many people and there is a generalised scepticism towards politics and politicians. But I am one of those who still thinks that all politicians are not the same, and that all parties are not the same. Unfortunately, to vote is one of the few ways we have to participate in democracy, at least while we don’t decide to do a 1789. It is only once every 4 years, or 2. It is quite easy, and if your candidate doesn’t win, at least you have someone to blame for all the bad things in the world: your horrible job, your horrible partner, your horrible paella with chorizo, your horrible real estate agent, your horrible community manager, your horrible neighbour who doesn’t say hello, you horrible gardener who says hello and has tea on the kitchen table with your spouse, your horrible workmate who makes your life impossible, your horrible influencer or your horrible team that won’t play the final of the Champions.