Aw man… I thought this whole time I was supposed to figure out how to raise my baby with good old-fashioned values passed down to me from the historically popular ethics specialist, Dr. Jesus Christ. You know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That way hopefully the kid will become a good person so they can have the love, empathy, heroism, independence and drive to succeed in life. Sure enough, I was wrong. In July, I read the New York Magazine article “Money-Empathy Gap” and it turns out being nice just makes you sad and poor. My alternative? Raise the kid to be a jerk. Even worse, maybe even a douchebag.
Wait how does that make any sense? Isn’t success all about the people you know? Don’t people promote people they like? In research conducted by Timothy Judge and his crew at Notre Dame, folks seem to be drawn to promote the people they don’t like at a company rather than their friends. This is because those who are less “agreeable” are more likely to be associated with money, and therefore higher positions–whether or not they are actually qualified doesn’t matter, they are still seen by others as a better fit for upper management than the “agreeable” type. Basically it comes to this: the average person sees rich powerful people as jerks, so when they meet a grade-A asshole and a position of power comes up, the average person will automatically link the asshole with the position whether or not he/she can do the job. After all it’s a natural fit, right?! So to those men who complain that women only like jerks… well, it turns out it’s not just the ladies who like them, men do too.
I can’t help but think, everything I ever learned that I felt so ready to share with my kid…is any of it relevant? In terms of having a happy relationship, I can definitely hand that over, but how to be a good person always looking out for others, I just don’t know if that will make them successful and therefore happy. Yep, I said it… success=happy. I know it’s not cool to even think it, but there is nothing worse than being out of a job and feeling like you have no place or need to fill in this world. Even research shows that poor people are less happy and more stressed than the rich. I don’t want that for my kid. I want my kid to kick ass in his/her field of choice. I wish I could beg the world to stop being pushovers and stop promoting meanies or letting them slide, but wishing won’t get my kid anywhere. Instead I’ll accept the fact that people like the unlikable and stop promoting this fantasy that the nice hardworking person always wins in the end.
So now how do you teach your baby the opposite of everything you know? How does a nice person teach their kids to be jerks? And how do you handle having to live around a douchebag of your making? And so I have my dilemma: for his/her own good should my kid be raised to think about money, getting ahead and feeling entitled enough so he/she will end up entitled in the future; or for my own sanity make my kid the kind of likeable person I would want to hang out with for the remainder of my life?
Aw man… I hate douchebags and everyone who’s contributed to my having to possibly raise one.