1. Why did the Complete and Total Loser fail in his career?
He failed because:
- He started too late. He first dreamed of being a reporter after seeing the movie "All the President's Men" when he was a teenager. He loved how it showed people working hard, asking questions, investigating and then writing about it. Sometime after it came out, he read about an uptick in journalism students. "Great," the Loser thought. "There go my chances." The Loser is the type who can't imagine winning any kind of competition, ever. (More men than women at his college? Forget about having a girlfriend, Loser!) As a result, the Loser didn't consider seriously a career in journalism until he was in his mid 30s. People start careers and do well in them, but only if they're good.
- He was bad at it. When he worked with the pros, the Loser noticed that real reporters conduct long interviews with their subjects before writing their stories. It amazed the Loser how long, sometimes. An hour, and they'd use just a few sentences in a 700-word article. But those quotes would be good ones and the rest of the piece would show a deep understanding.
- He was arrogant. Doing something wrong? Not him! He'd get defensive when his superiors told him he was in error. He often began his defense with, "I just thought ..." Be wary of workers who say that. They are invariably a pain in the ass.
- He didn't put in the extra time. If there's a job you really want to do well and it's worth having, you have to stop thinking in terms of 8-hour workdays and five day weeks. Coffee, drugs -- whatever it takes -- you have to work many more hours than normal people to make it in a career you've entered late. The Loser didn't get this. He liked leaving at five, going back to his hovel, having a beer with his dinner and watching television. To be fair to him, he was old, in his 40s, and even when young he didn't have a copious amount of energy.
- He was dense. The Loser was considered the office "knucklehead," a word he heard his manager use to describe him when he was thought to be out of earshot. At his time in his dream job, the Loser had two evaluations. He eventually passed the nine-month probationary period, but barely, and when a coworker half his age was promoted over him he saw the signs: They like you as a secretary. He timed his quitting to the day before the coworker started in the new job.