John D. Spooner is an investment adviser, author and novelist. His most recent book is No One Ever Told Us That: Money and Life Lessons for Young Adults. Here, he responds to queries from advice seekers of all ages. Send your conundrums to email@example.com
First of all, as for the wiseguy intern: “Entitlement” is my least favorite word. I hear many complaints about the younger generation on this subject. But I wouldn’t worry about it. Life has a way of beating this word out of their systems as the reality of adulthood creeps in. Most likely, this intern got the job because his parents were friendly with someone in management at your company. Entitlement.
If you’re the receptionist, you’re likely good with people, which means you have a few friends who may be key people, rainmakers, the producers of business at your company. Tell your story to your favorite friend who has some power. Let him or her go to management and tell them about the intern’s outrageous behavior. The boss will come to you for confirmation. And the boss will be forced into action, have a grown-up talk with the intern and perhaps even report to the parents that their entitled son is not perfect in the eyes of others.
It will be good for everyone involved. And your boss will pay a little more attention to you. No one is immune from the dreaded HR department, not even interns with connections.
Good for you for thinking about this subject. One of the most important things you should pay attention to in life is building your own team of experts to take care of you in the three areas where you’ll need the most help: medical, legal and financial matters. This should be a two-step process for you.
The first step would be for you to make an appointment to meet the people who have taken care of your parents. They won’t know it, but you’ll be interviewing them. Ask them a little bit about their backgrounds and why they entered their respective professions. Don’t take too much of their time. But everyone loves to talk about themselves, and their personal stories will tell you a lot about their character—and whether you want to do business with them. If these people are real, they’ll take the time with the next generation.
If you choose to look for your own professionals to help you, I would look for recommendations from your friends. If this fails, reach out to the smartest older people you know. They may be friends of your family; they may be people you respect. But your most successful relationships will come from personal contacts, not from lists on a screen.
Every relationship changes over time, marriage and friendships especially. My great friends from grammar school are long gone from my life. The same is true of high school. There are people I care very much about from those years. If we run into each other by accident, we hug and memories flood back, laughter and tears. Then we move on, knowing that the old times were formative, loving even. But they’re gone, ships that pass in the night. The same is true for people’s boyfriends and girlfriends. Here’s what I usually hear about that subject. “So, I just saw Jimmy, my junior prom date from high school. He was so cute you wouldn’t believe it. Now you should see what he looks like, and it’s not cute. Plus, he was so boring.”
This is a long way of saying that you may be outgrowing your friends. If they’re great at entertaining at home, maybe that’s a good route, though that costs money too. As do the movies, bowling and drinks at a bar. Maybe, if you still enjoy these people, you can insist on a restaurant outing just once a month—a special treat.
We need life around us. If your old friends don’t understand this, maybe it’s time to move on. Money spent on relaxing time can be well worth the expense.