Post Academic

What Grad Students and Aspiring Professors Can Learn from the mySpace Layoffs

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on January 19, 2011
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mySpace, that homely social network site that was so popular years ago until it got flooded with bad emo bands, reality stars and garden-variety perverts, is in a full-on death spiral. The company has laid off workers, and some affected workers regret giving up so many hours to keep mySpace alive:

[The CEO of mySpace] and his executive team had just somehow driven hundreds of people to work hard for months, giving 20 hour days, even 48 hour sleepless stints… motivating the team with statements like “do you believe in this company or not?”, “either you’re in or not”, and “look at what we can do when we do it together”….

After the dust settles, the people who were in charge and responsible for the continued failure will still be in charge, with new titles and raises, clearly intent on taking as much personal value as they can from the company before it dies completely at their hands. And the hard working, loyal employees that worked their butts off, took time away from their families to *actually* try to turn the company around by building and launching the new Myspace, will be looking for jobs.

Sound familiar? You lose sleep and ignore your family because you believe in something so, so much. You haul ass only to discover that your efforts are making someone else rich. This lesson should apply to anyone in grad school or on the verge of being postacademic.

I don’t have a problem with busting my butt and pulling long hours when necessary. That said, before I do it, I better be getting something for myself in return, such as a sample for my portfolio or a raise. Going above and beyond the call of duty for any job is ridiculous unless you know you are being altruistic or you know you are getting something out of it. Every second you spend at your job should be furthering your career, not the CEO’s. If that isn’t the case, then you should start sending out your resume and let the CEO/administrator/department chair take advantage of someone else.