I had to work my ass off to survive in America so you should too
If you’re a boring, unsuccessful, normal human, “quiet quitting” was something you heard about for a week in summer 2022. If you’re a genetically-modified corporate freak like me, you scour the internet every day for posts tagged “quiet quitting” and pump them directly into your bloodstream so you can start each and every 9 a.m. meeting with a fresh boost of pure human fury.
I was born into an impoverished family in a part of town my new friends would never dare to drive through. As a kid, I knew the only option I had for making it out was working as hard as I can, so I did. Hustle culture became me. I’ll imply throughout this article that I’ve transcended it, but just read the next three paragraphs and try to believe that for a second.
I tried really hard on all my tests, studied all day and all night, and landed a full ride to Harvard. They even agreed to give me a monthly stipend for books, lodging, and cocaine so I wouldn’t feel left out.
At Harvard, I knew I couldn’t rest on my laurels and stop there. If you think I’ve transcended the bounds imposed upon me by my upbringing, think again: I was surrounded by international students who were terrified that, if they didn’t get good jobs after graduating, they wouldn’t get visas and would be sent home. I mean, this obviously wasn’t a problem for me, because I am and was an American citizen, but just imagine if I wasn’t.
After Harvard, I got an offer from Google to take a job as a junior engineer for $250,000 a year. You might think that’s a lot of money, but that’s because you’re an idiot who doesn’t work hard enough. I was really sad because all of my friends were making at least eight figures a year. But I interviewed with another company, who offered me $550,000, and Google agreed to match it. Within a year, because of my hard work, they were paying me $2 billion a week.
My path isn’t just my own. It’s infinitely replicable, viable for everyone. Each one of the 3.6 million children in poverty in America can simply be smarter than most of their peers, work harder than them, and become one of the 2,000 students accepted to Harvard University every year. Then they can graduate and work at Google. Doing the bare minimum to get by doesn’t make sense in a country where everyone can do what I did.
This whole article so far has been about me, but I want to end it with a question sticking it to all the quiet quitters out there: what about minorities? Hm? You think Black people, Latinos, Asian people, Hispanics, and all the other ones I forgot about can “quiet quit”? Exactly.
This post was originally published in Moneybags Magazine.