April 4, 2014

Makin' It

I'm kind of ashamed of my finances.   I should be saving more.  I buy too many toys and spend too much on needless shit.   I fear my friends are saving WAY more than I am.  Plus, I gotta think about retirement and college accounts and all that.

It's not that I'm not saving anything, but I'm probably not saving as much as I could.   That's why I'm ashamed.

But it's all good.  I'm pretty sure 80% of my friends feel this way, too.  We're the demographic that frets over this sort of thing.  We're Makin' It.

Makin' It.
As far as I can tell, people fall into one of several demographics: Children, Students, Paycheck-to-Paycheck, Makin' It, and Have It.

My Co-Workers: the Makin' It Demographic
I'm in the Makin' It class, which is roughly comprised of people who can afford to purchase a luxury car, or some other large-ish indulgence -- but will wince a bit doing it, because there are far better things for them to be spending money upon.

We have career plans and debate the merits of Masters degrees: either lusting after them, as a faux blue ribbon on our resumes, or resenting them as a faux blue ribbon on other people's resumes.  We save.  We dabble in the stock market.  We have 401Ks and retirement plans and SEPs and Roth IRAs.   Sometimes we spring for Brooks Brothers no-iron shirts.   We fret about buying a house, or adding an addition to our house, or upgrading to a bigger house, even though we can't afford it quite yet.

...And we occasionally assess our total assets and think, "Shit, really?  Is that it?  Well...I guess if I count the house...that's something."

I someday hope to transfer to the Have It class, although I'm not quite sure how the hell that happens.  But for now, I'm happily in the Makin' It category.

Theme Song
Now, most of you know that each class has its own theme song.  For example, the working-class  Midwestern demographic fawns over Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run.   The former-varsity-football-playing overweight insurance salesmen demographic favors Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days.   (Note: Bruce Springsteen's songs are disproportionately reflected in demographic theme songs; sociologists cannot agree upon why.)

My demographic's theme is obvious:  The eponymous Makin' It, by David Naughton.  This song totally "gets" my cohort.  Plus, it has an awesome disco vibe, of which we unanimously approve.

This song was so awesome that it spurred its own television series, which ran for seventeen years.  Fun fact:  Makin' It is the only show to be nominated for an Emmy in the Primetime and Documentary categories.

Seriously, if you know any corporate executives, ask them and they will gaily confirm that many meetings start off with Makin' It playing on a Tivoli desk speaker.  We hum it to ourselves in Starbucks, and sometimes they play it over the loudspeaker.   We're climbin' the ladda.

Earlier today,  I passed by my colleague Jasmie, emerging from her big business presentation and I high-fived her:   An executive had nodded and smiled during her conclusion slide-- a sure sign of office success.  Jasmine is Makin' it

Academic Underpinnings
Even before joining the corporate workforce, some of you learned this song in corporate-minded undergraduate business and engineering schools.  Others, no doubt, ran across it in MBA programs, where verse memorization is often required.

This is more common in MBA programs than many people realize.  They certainly covered it when I got my MBA at Duke. I happen to know that the Harvard and MIT MBA programs require memorization as well.  A dear friend of mind (who does Data Warehousing at Akamai) is getting his MBA at Chicago (Booth), and expressed surprise at how much this song was reflected in its general curriculum.

The Lyrics of Makin' It
Okay, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm just going to put the words to the song right here.  Obviously, people who already know the lyrics can skip this section.  However, it's worth a read for the rest of you.  This is the voice that speaks for my demographic.
Makin' it ooh...Makin' it
I´m solid gold, I´ve got the goods
They stand when I walk through the neighborhoods  

I´m makin' it, I´ve got the chance, I´m takin´ it, no more
.. no more fakin´ it, this time in life I´m makin´ it ooh makin´ it
Hello Uptown, Goodbye Poverty
The Top of the ladder is waiting for me
I´m makin´ it, I´ve got the chance, I´m takin´ it no more
No more fakin´ it, this time in life, I´m makin´ it, ooh
Makin´ it, Makin´ it
Listen everyone here, this coming year´s gonna be my year
I´m as fast as they come, number two to no one, I´ve got looks
I´ve got brains and I´m breakin´ these chains, make some room now
Dig what you see, success is mine, ´cause I´ve got the key
I´m makin´ it, I´m makin´ it, I´ve got the chance, I´m takin´ it no more

No more fakin´ it, this time in life, I´m makin´ it , ooh makin´ it, non stop, 
Makin´ it to the top... Makin´ it ...this time in life I´m makin´ it
Makin' it...I´m makin' it ..Makin' it....I'm makin' it
Listen Everyone here...This coming year's gonna be my year
I´m makin' it...I´ve got the chance I'm takin it in ...no more...no more
Makin' it, this time in life I'm makin' it..ooh...I'm makin' it...non stop...
I'm here...I'm here...Makin' it...to the top...ahh .. ahh..

Makin' it....non stop....right here...right now
Even when judged by contemporary lyric-writing standards, this song is a masterpiece.  Observe how "makin' it" rhymes with both "...chance, I'm takin' it" and with "no more fakin' it."  Sheer brilliance.

Word From the Boardroom
I know this might seem a bit odd, if this is the first time you're hearing about this.  I mean, people from other cultures sometimes think the Easter Bunny and Santa are a bit bizarre.  This is kind of like that.

So don't take my word for it; let's see what other people are saying.  My co-workers, the other people Makin' It.   Let's hear their tales, about how this year is going to be their year.  Are they as fast as they come?  Are they second to no one?   Let's find out:

For the last time:  I don't.  Know what.  You're talking about.  Please get out of my office.
Kate C., Senior Director
Awesome!  You go Kate -- the sky's the limit!

Yes, I remember that song.  I detest that song.
Kathryn P., Sr. Manager
Yeah Kathryn, you said it!  That corner office is as good as yours.

 Seriously, Brett, this is bordering on a behavioral disorder.
Clint H., Principal Analyst
Haaa!  Word to that, Clint.  You're on your way to the top!

Anyway, it's understandable that we all think Makin' It is our own personal theme song.  But, the truth is, everybody's really Makin' It, so it's all cool.  If someone happens to burst into song a few more times than someone else at work, or maybe if somebody plays the song a little louder in their cubicle, because they landed that big presentation, s'cool.  It's all cool.

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