Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve already heard about Johnny Football’s infamous finger flip. As the story goes, Johnny Manziel, who plays quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, was trying to win his spot in the starting lineup when the frustration of his average performance and a heckling losing team got the best of him. He handled the stress by flipping off the Redskins’ bench in the third quarter of a 24-23 preseason loss to Washington at FedEx Field. To make matters worse, his obscene gesture was caught on national TV by ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” fueling his already bad reputation. Thanks to ESPN and social media, Johnny’s middle finger has become a powerful symbol of “what not to do on your first job.”
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Let me start by saying this: I’ve worked with some incredible interns from the millennial generation who have disproved every negative stereotype out there. They were hard working, creative thinkers, and true believers in my cause. So I’m here to challenge the rest of you to avoid feeding into that sense of entitlement or career snobbery (whatever you want to call it) that employers have branded you with.
College is a whole different game than the real world. Being a big fish in a small pond can earn you a spot in the major leagues, but once you’re there, all bets are off. Back at the bottom of the totem pole, the stakes are high and there’s no more leeway. An arrogant attitude presents more consequences when you’re receiving a paycheck every week and can end a career before it begins. When you’ve only known a world where everything’s decided for you, it’s tough to realize that there’s no one in your corner to pick you up after you fall at your first job. Yes, your team members are meant to support you, but they certainly won’t baby you. So instead of talking a big game, show the world what you can do by keeping your head down, working hard, and proving your ability through positive actions and good decisions.
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