Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Life Lessons from a Man Wearing a Pink Tie on a Pink Shirt

Check out David Brooks' column, "Life Lessons from Watergate," from Sunday's NY Times; this goes double for my contemporaries in the DC area. The Times' remaining 'conservative voice' discusses -- aptly for the most part -- what the atmosphere can be like for ambitious 20-somethings in today's working world. As has been widely reported, Bob Woodward cultivated a relationship with Mark W. Felt while serving as a Naval Lieutenant on duty at the White House. Woodward, like many in his position then and now, wanted to learn how the game was played at the highest levels in order to establish a path to success. As Brooks notes, Woodward was looking for any advantage he could gain.

Bob Woodward, in other words, was in the midst of the starting-gate frenzy.

Places like Washington and New York attract large numbers of ambitious young people who have spent their short lives engaged in highly structured striving: getting good grades, getting into college. Suddenly they are spit out into the vast, anarchic world of adulthood, surrounded by a teeming horde of scrambling peers, and a chaos of possibilities and pitfalls. They discover that though they are really good at manipulating the world of classrooms, they have no clue about how actual careers develop, how people move from post to post.

And all they have to do to find their way amid this confusion is to answer one little question: What is the meaning and purpose of my life?
And later:

Fear of the unknown sends thousands back to law school, but others plunge into the precarious world of entry-level jobs.
Yes, David, and some nameless persons try the latter before resorting to the former in a blatant act of desperation. Later still:

The most nakedly ambitious - the blogging Junior Lippmanns - rarely win in the long run, but that doesn't mean you can't mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little "Thought you might be interested" notes.
Yeah, I'm not really sure what he's getting at here. Either way, the column is worth a look.

UPDATE: Oh SNAP! Matt Yglesias ain't havin' none of that!



Blogger poster said...

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12:55 PM  
Blogger poster said...

Dan Drezner has an interesting post that takes note of that Brooks column.
-- Eric

12:56 PM  

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