5 tips for success from aspirational young professionals who made it


Did you click that? I knew you would. That’s because I work in marketing.

Marketers and PR people can and will try to sell you anything. Half the time, you won’t even notice. You’ll think you read or listened to whatever they’re selling independently, because the speaker genuinely inspired or understood you.

They didn’t.

They know the right things to say to get what they want, and to make you think you thought it all by yourself. That’s how the Conservatives got in again.

I’m not about to rant (well, maybe a little), condemn them as bad people, or condemn anyone as a bad person. I’m not even about to do that bleeding heart liberal thing and say all rich people are bad and we should all concentrate on the poor.

What I am about to do is ask for a bit of common sense before you find safety in groups and pick a side – because that side will have been picked for you by increments though the spreading of an idea that quite deliberately divides the nation unfairly and unnecessarily via  PR masquerading as journalism.

It’s divisive politics made palatable by marketing and PR, it’s dangerous, and it fucks everyone over (yes, even the supporters).

So, as promised, here’s my top 5 ‘tips’ (read: lies) to watch out for. 

They’re not lies from any particular party, but the lies you tell yourself.

1. Work hard

Working hard is commendable, I am a big believer in that. But that depends what you work hard at. Working hard is in no way a guarantee of ‘success’ if you count success in the limited terms being doled out by the current government.

You can work hard at things that benefit people other than yourself and those in your immediate vicinity, and, shock horror, be happy.

 2. Have aspiration

If you are aspiring to make enough money to look after yourself and your family, great. If you are aspiring to have a the best house, an enviable lifestyle, all that shit, you’re fucked.

There will always be someone better off. You will feel increasingly lost and useless as you strive to gain more stuff you don’t need, but you will keep trying, moving pointless goal posts, feeling like you deserve more. You don’t. Comparing yourself will only make you feel bad.

If you aspire to be comfortable and to look after those less fortunate when you can, that’s success.

3. Belong

Do you fit in with your aspirational neighbours?

Do you feel like the people in your office/street judge your clothes, the way you raise your kids? Do you take photos of the food you eat in the best restaurants to prove to them you’ve ‘made it’? Do you worry about your furnishings and whether you shop in the right places?

What use is that to anyone?

It makes you anxious and it makes you buy more stuff. Who wins there?

Not you, or your peers, you anxious lot. The government and corporations win though. That’s why they told you you had to fit in or you’d failed. It’s not a Fight Club anarchy thing I’m preaching here. I’m just saying it’s pretty daft when you think about it.

Stop worrying so much. What’s the worst that could happen?

 4. Have pride

What are you proud of?

Are you proud of being British? Great. Proud of being in a job that pays well, with a house that looks lovely? Wicked.

I’m not slamming that at all. As I said, I work in digital marketing, I worked hard to get here. My first job was sweeping up hair in a hairdressers in Lincolnshire aged 13, which, incidentally, I loved. We all want to do well for ourselves. But don’t for a second let that make you shun anyone else, and think about what it means to do ‘well’.

Pride is great, but not if it makes you selfish or feel above anyone else. People end up in various situations for a multitude of reasons. And not everyone wants the things you are told en masse, to aspire to. That’s fine.

 4. You deserve it

Some people will work hard all their lives and have nothing. This government will make them feel bad about it. Like they aren’t working hard enough.

They will encourage you, who are comfortable, whether by luck or hard work, to blame them.


There are plenty of wonderful, interesting, intelligent people who aren’t like you, and who you may never meet in your comfy position, who deserve just as much as you do. If you manage to get into a position where you can encourage those people you should. Not because they are below you, or need your pity, but because we are all trying and it’s fucking helpful to be encouraged rather than made to feel like a failure.

5. Change your outlook with this one weird tip…

Don’t let this government sell you on quick, click bait headlines and motivational, aspirational toss just because you have a ’proper’ job.

Don’t be sold on this article either. Just have a think. For yourself.

Will the big house, the great car, the holidays and all that crap genuinely make you sit back and say – I’m relaxed now, I’ve made it, I’m, genuinely happy?

Admit it. Probably not.

If the answer is yes, sorry I wasted your time. They already won.

If you are as worried as I am, I’ll be marching against austerity in London on June 20th. Join in.

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