Before we even begin one thing should be made clear: the differentiation between “gangster” and “gangsta.” This post is not about the life and times of 50 Cent or any other rapper with “thug life” tatted on their chest. What we are talking about here is an all-American institution. The movie roles that guarantee Oscars and the life choices that guarantee jail time for tax evasion, not murders or crime. This is the livelihood of Scorsese, the original famous Italians before Jersey Shore made “Guido” a household line. This is the Mafioso guide to employment.
"As far back as I could remember I've always wanted to be a gangster." – Goodfellas
It shouldn’t take a blog post to realize that people perform better when they are doing things they are interested in. If you really want to enter a certain career field, then do it. Of course there will be road blocks and issues in the way before you can actually get there, but the stepping stones will give you the skills to allow you to succeed in your chosen path. Even if you spend time “hovering” around the “career of wonders,” do jobs and activities that can be translated into beneficial work experience that can be tapped into when you fully commit to a career.
“Only don't tell me you're innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.” – The Godfather
There is a little thing now called a background check. It’s the same as the threats you receive on the first day of school about how there are heavier repercussions for plagiarism than for smacking someone. Don’t lie on your resume. Don’t lie about your past arrests. Don’t even tell a little white lie to outperform your overachieving competitor. This does not mean that you should provide your entire biography to your future employer with every fact about you, but that if they ask a question you should answer it truthfully. This extends to when you actually have the job and screw up something. Don’t try to white it out of your professional career. Just move on.
“Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that *I* do it. You understand?” - Casino
Some people are a little thick when it comes to understanding the English language. If you are hired as an employee that means that you work under someone. To elaborate, you are not the boss. Do not do things the way you feel they should be done just because it is your way. It may be possible that your way is more productive, economical and just generally better than the current practices of the company. The correct thing to do is to make suggestions to your employer concerning workflow and the way things are done. On that end, don’t make changes that have not been authorized. Even if you are given a small congratulatory gesture, you probably highly pissed someone off in the process. Don’t walk alone in dark alleys if you feel the need to professionally embarrass someone.
“I make him an offer he don' refuse. Don' worry. “ – The Godfather II
If you are applying to multiple jobs and receive multiple offers, pick the one you want. Just because an offer may seem irresistible does not mean it is the best fit for you. Being paid more for doing something you generally hate will do nothing but give you a fat bank account and high blood pressure. An offer can be refused when taking into account personal obligations and your own wellbeing. No one wants to be 50 years old complaining in a cubicle. Do something meaningful with your life.
“You can't be half a gangster, Nucky. Not anymore.” – Boardwalk Empire
If you truly want to be successful, fully focus on a goal. It is possible to have many interests and jobs, but one of them needs to be the main goal. Yes it is possible to have a main job and little ventures on the side, but it is just that: a main job plus extras. If something doesn’t look like it will expand into a worthwhile opportunity, perhaps you should put more energy into those that have the potential to grow. This does not mean to tap into the Force and put all your life energy into one specific task like Yoda. Have fun, explore your opportunities, but keep some sense of a goal.
“You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!” – Scarface
Yes, I am aware Scarface is as far away from the Italian mafia as you can get, but you know what? This is a blog post from the University of Miami and if you thought you were getting through it without at least one Scarface reference, you obviously have never experienced real life. So you know what, you’re going to take this Scarface reference, use it, and you’re going to like it. You are going to write it on a post-it note and it will become your life mantra that you chant every night before bed. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program:
If an employer does not respect you, don’t stay there. Even though we are in a bad economy does not mean that you should lose your sanity and self-respect for a few extra dollars. Look into opportunities that provide motivation and happiness in general. For those who can’t leave their job for whatever reason, confront the people making your life miserable (just not in a back alley or in areas where office supplies become weapons). There is no reason to be depressed in a situation where you will spend most of your waking hours. Outline your grievances and ways things can change to make employment more tolerable. Keep it short, consistent, and non-threatening.
To put it in a nutshell: do what you like, stay in your own lane, and don’t get suckered into things you have no interest in. Life is too short to be depressed and bored. Have fun and be successful, but don’t become anyone’s lapdog in the process. There are a million ways to have employment that is enjoyable, but the above way allows for small mental reminders in the form of Michael Corleone telling you to get your act together and do something with your life.