Friday, July 04, 2008
Google’s Tips for Getting Ahead
Just the other day, I had a fleeting desire for self-improvement. Before the mood passed, I turned to Google for some advice. Now Google doesn’t burden a fellow by demanding complete sentences, the way some people do, so I typed in “how to get ahead.” I wanted to complete the phrase: how to get ahead by doing what? Reviewing the massive search results, I found that this is a land of dreamers; we are a people of contradictory impulses and destructive longings. Even Google is having trouble sorting this country out.
Many Americans have web sites about getting ahead. Google found techies who want me to use the latest computer tracking systems or to zap my feet with levitation rays. There were capitalists in favor of putting today’s decisions into the context of long-term aspirations or innovating rather than suing the competition. Some capitalists have more specific tips about trading Philippine real estate or sending bulk commercial e-mail, which, last I heard, is called spam.
Certain little criminals say to get ahead by cutting corners and telling the occasional white lie, or if necessary, lying, cheating, and backstabbing. Bigger criminals go for busting heads, breaking fingers, and dressing neatly. If that doesn’t work, try killing, or brokering a sensitive drug deal with a mysterious crime lord known as Mr. Gold.
Google found shameless operators who want me to marry above my station, mistreat customers, undercut the boss, or slurp off the taxpayer-provided infrastructure. Some bozos focus on getting ahead by looking like you deserve it or on using body language to enhance your power of benevolent manipulation. Some of our fellow countrymen like sticking it to The Man: stepping on people, psyching out your boss and co-workers, or, if nothing else will do, getting into someone else’s head, making highly placed people feel good about having you around, and controlling people’s thoughts in day to day conversations. Also, be sure to take advantage of passing management fads and do as little work as possible, if you’d like to get ahead, that is.
The poor folks who’ve been wounded by life also have advice. Get ahead by proving you can handle the grunt work without complaining, they say, or by being the good little slave, or by really trying. Some people feel that watching reality tv, being naturally good and cute, reading the newspaper, cross-dressing, going out of business, or manipulating someone into loving you emotionally and fiscally might make all the difference.
Milder, gentler citizens teach that self-improvement comes from making small adjustments to one’s life. Their web sites propose honest work, making the right decisions, applying lessons, trusting one’s heart, and staying the course, bless their souls. One web site recommended doing some reading about how to get ahead.
As you can see, America, you are ever hopeful and always longing for self-improvement; you are a people with a dream. Americans have the most contradictory values, when they deserve to be called values, and a good number of us don’t have the slightest idea what really matters in life. Google pretty much proves it. I hate to say this on your birthday, America, but you’re a mess. You need to find some way to improve yourself.