Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

“Take this job and blog it”

Mar. 19 “Take this job and blog it”: I cut out this article by Sarah Boesveld in the National Post on Jul. 30, 2011.  I had to read this article because it’s about jobs and blogs.  This was in the A section of the newspaper. 

It’s like psychology talking about the internet and Gen- Y.  I have a blog and I hardly ever write about my job.  It’s usually vague like: “It was very busy at the restaurant today” or “It was pretty quiet at the restaurant.”

Here’s the whole article:

The resignation letter was self-righteous and scathing: “Oh, you actually think being 20 minutes late matters? You know Whole Foods Market is just a grocery store, right?”

For five or six years this employee, male, white and in his twenties, showed up for work at one of the upscale supermarket’s Toronto stores, at first subscribing to its core values of “caring for communities and the environment” but soon abandoning that faith when he felt the store didn’t live up to its holistic philosophy. When working at Whole Foods began to feel like a “really long hill that got rockier with every metre” he threw up his hands — but he didn’t just quit.

On his way out the door last Friday, the worker e-mailed a 2,000 word screed to the entire midwestern division of the company, denouncing it as a “faux hippy [sic] Wal-Mart” that let him, and others, down.

American blog posted the diatribe online (omitting names and other details) and it quickly went viral. The blog even followed up with the letter writer, reaching him in South Korea where he confessed he hadn’t meant for it to go so public but stands by every word he wrote.

The resignation letter is the second such Canadian ‘I Quit’ manifesto to go viral online this month. CTV’s former Quebec City bureau chief Kai Nagata made waves with his ‘Why I Quit My Job’ blog post, which cut into Canada’s broadcast journalism industry and professed his desire for a deeper life purpose at age 24.

Reaction to these very public —and very popular —writings has split people into two camps: While many laud the missives as gutsy, “take this job and shove it” shows of professional discontent, just as many others dismiss them as foolish attention-grabbing bridge burnings.

Experts wouldn’t be surprised if this is only the beginning: The Internet offers an easily grasped platform for a new generation of 20-something workers who’ve grown up social media-mad, consumer crazy and idealistic about their careers, they say.

“It’s not just ‘I have complaints about the job,’ but I’m going to detail them and I’m going to write about them in exhaustive detail for everybody to see,’” said Jean Twenge, the San Diego-based author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled —and More Miserable Than Ever Before. “And, my standards are going to be so high that no job could ever meet them. That’s the other new twist.”

There’s a lot of self-focus in these “I Quit” manifestos — something quite unique to Generation Y or people born in the 1980s and 1990s, she said, making note of Mr. Nagata’s quest to find his “true passion,” go on a “long delayed personal journey” and “better myself physically and intellectually so I can effect meaningful change in the world around me.”

She points to hard data from the United States, including large-scale surveys of high school students conducted annually since the 1970s, that show young workers have developed higher expectations for their careers —they want higher paying, higher status jobs coupled with more work-life balance. While the number of people who actually attain that success has remained steady, the expectations have shot through the roof, she said, so it’s inevitable for some to be angered by their perceived professional failures.

There’s also been a democratization of the workplace and the classroom, creating spheres in which everyone’s opinion is valid, Dr. Twenge said. Generally speaking, authority-questioning baby boomers have raised children with the same sensibilities but with far higher self-esteem, she said. They’ve also lived on a steady diet of social media and Internet savvy, making the online world the most natural place to air “dirty laundry and share a community of likemindedness,” added Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets A Trophy: How To Manage Generation Y.

Never mind the Internet, he said — they’ve also been raised as consumers moreso than any other generation; buying things online, gaining easier access to credit, and getting more money and money making opportunities through their parents, he said from New Haven, CT.

When the young person doesn’t like the transaction — getting in trouble for showing up 20 minutes late for work, for example — they’re often harshly reminded of their new status as the service provider, not the customer they were in college or university.

“Somehow, the message is not being sent that there’s a fundamental shift in your role here – you’re not paying, you’re being paid,” he said.

The idealism inherent in each letter —the disappointment that Whole Foods doesn’t live up to the employee’s expectations, the betrayal Mr. Nagata feels from an industry that is “broadcasting useless tripe” while ignoring the “real news” —is also a hallmark of a Gen Y culture raised on the Internet.

“I think the publicness of the Internet motivates people in two different ways depending on your personality,” said Alexandra Samuel, director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at the Emily Carr University for Art + Design in Vancouver. It can make some more cautious about what they say, she said, and it can encourage others to be “more outrageous, more extroverted, more disclosing and to kind of try and get their five minutes in the sun.” “One of the things that’s weird about our media culture is you can get famous for being an idiot as easily as getting famous for being brilliant,” she said.

The decline of the union shop in recent decades has also contributed to this phenomenon, she said. “The fact that people have various ways to organize and vent online without unions has made them less relevant.”
Younger employees also have less to lose than a worker age 40 or older, she added. And hey, if their missive goes viral enough, maybe they can get a book deal.

Though posting work-related rants online is generally advised against, a veteran employee’s open letter to the senior management of struggling BlackBerry maker Research In Motion in June shows the tactic can be a tool for good, said Alan Kearns, founder of CareerJoy, a national career and leadership coaching company based in Toronto.

The intelligent and respectful critique of the company’s recent woes seemed to accurately represent employees’ views, he said. Plus, the widely circulated e-mail included eight recommendations on how to better compete in the cut-throat business climate —a constructive approach as opposed to the exposé-style complaints in the Whole Foods letter.

It is indeed more common to see workplace complaints unleashed over the Internet, he said, “and [they’re] becoming more acceptable, in some ways.”

“Organizations have to say “What does this mean? We have to have a higher level of accountability.””


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