You Don’t Deserve Shit (And Other Life Lessons for 20 Somethings and Entrepreneurs)

by Alexander Heyne · 15 comments

The problem with wannabe entrepreneurs and 20 somethings

You don’t deserve shit.

This is one of the hardest facts about the universe that I’ve had to accept in the past year.

My generation of college grads is being bred to believe that we’re entitled, special, and can get whatever the hell we want whenever the hell we want.

We’re bred to believe that we can do anything with less work than anyone else because we’re special. We’re bred to believe that our college degree somehow holds some magical (dream-job) finding power.

We’re bred to believe that driving our Beamer or Audi, making our six figures, or starting a successful startup are baseline requirements for our kingly standard of living we get to enjoy as college graduates.


(Tell me if you still believe that 6 months out of college).

Here’s the problem. You don’t deserve shit. Why the hell would I hire you with a bachelor degree? What skills do you have? What tangible changes have you produced in the world?

I had to swallow my pride when I went into job interviews telling them that I’m a natural leader, that i’ll revolutionize their workplace, that I work harder than anyone they’ve ever seen.

Why? Because all they had to go on was my degree: A B.S. in Biology, which doesn’t really matter much to a business that needs results. What results do I have in marketing? In getting new clients? If I’m such a good leader where is my resume of experience to show it?

I couldn’t really answer.

I even ended up quitting a job because I felt like the $12 an hour under the table pay was bullshit for the “skills I had and was using for them.” 

Ego mistake.

How not to suck at being your own boss

Here’s the thing:

The entrepreneurs who are actually successful have an entirely different mindset.

They know that feelings of deservedness are bullshit.

They focus on proving what they’ve got and delivering real results that they can point to.

They focus on getting shit done, and, interestingly enough, their mindset is focused on immense gratitude.

My girlfriend is from the philippines. She spent half of her life there, and now is in the USA doing her grad school. And I noticed that the ways our families taught us to think are absurdly different.

My family told me, ” You should be getting a good job” , “you’re way overqualified for that with the skills you have,” and “I don’t want you to take as long as it took me to be successful.” 

Her family told her ,“Be grateful for what you have, bust your ass, work hard and give back to your family.” 

These two ways of thinking are almost totally in competition with each other.

One tells you to never be satisfied. It puffs your ego up and say “Your college degree is worth some, don’t settle!”

One tells you to be insanely grateful for what you have. It deflates your ego, tells you to work for everything you have, and that nothing will be given to you. Entitlement doesn’t exist in the real world. Feelings of entitlement lead to failure.

Why you’re underemployed in a shitty job, why starting your own business is painfully difficult, and why no one believes your world changing ambition.

There’s one golden rule in the job market today – your college degree means just about jack shit. The market is over saturated  with B.S. and B.A. students.

And guess what? Just about none of them have any skills.

I had a ton of friends who majored in “business,” and just about the only useable skill they acquired from college that they could list on their resume would be killing a rack of bud light.

To me it’s not really that surprising anymore. In fact it’s painfully obvious.  And you’ll spare yourself half a dozen miserable jobs if you can answer ones question:

What have you freaking done with your life? What can you show me, on paper, that you’ve done?

Climbed a mountain? Traveling extensively? Tried to start a business? Have a business? Started a charity? Have a community of people? Run a meet up group?

As I mulled over why so many college grads end up working shitty jobs as waiters, service personnel, and even minimum wage jobs, I stumbled upon a gem.

The ultimate guide to getting everything you ever wanted (in the real world)

A few weeks ago I finished reading The Education of Millionaires and, long story short, Ellsberg talks about how what we need in this current time is skills that are not taught in college, but are the fundamentals of business.

Marketing, selling, personal branding, etc. The typical business skills that many of us think are “boring” and too business-y.

The kind of people that get where they want, and get the “dream jobs” they want, are the people who have skills, the people who have done something that they can then show and demonstrate to someone else, the people who have actually done something with their time.

This was pretty groundbreaking to me. Sit down for 5 seconds and ask yourself: Minus any pieces of paper, why would anyone hire me?


One of Seth Godin’s most discussed blogposts is called Why Bother Having a Resume? and talked about the importance of doing something exceptional where your reputation can precede you, rather than handing over yet another resume:

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. Just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?

If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?

How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

Some say, “well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.”

Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are  remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.

Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.

Pay attention to that last line, that statement that “dream jobs don’t get filled by people e-mailing in resumes. Ever.”

Michael Ellsberg touched on the same point in his final chapter, which talked about the differences between an employee mindset and the entrepreneurial mindset.

One of the biggest ones that jumped out to me as an “entitled college grad” was the following:

Entrepreneurs focus on results – the time it takes to get there is irrelevant. 

Most of us have been trained to be employees. We’ve been trained to just fill the allotted time because there’s no incentive to actually work harder or longer than we need to, right?

So we gladly take 40 hours a week to do 10 or 20 hours of real work.

Re-read that. Results. Your resume in the 21st century is google. What does it show that you’ve done?

No one knows that you’re a “natural leader” or “insanely hard working” or “a total genius” or that you’re “going to change the world” unless there’s something out there that shows that you’ve already done that. Why in the hell would a total stranger go on blind faith and “trust” you on what you’ve done?

The ultimate way to get anything you’ve ever wanted is this: prove, with results, that you’ve done something with your life.

Run a damn marathon, make the impossible your bitch, start a business, open a website with some info about yourself, start a non-profit, write a memoir, travel a quarter of the earth and write a book about it.

Just start something.

A few years down the line all you’ll have to say is this: “Google me.”

The piece of advice that changed my life as an underemployed, 20-something wannabe entrepreneur

The single best piece of advice I received in the 3+ years since graduating college was this:

“You don’t deserve shit. Show me what you’ve done with your life.”

If you’re a 20 something who is working full-time in jobs you feel are way beneath you, if you want to start your own thing because you feel like you can change the world, if you know deep down that you’re smart as hell, determined, and a hustler, but the stars aren’t aligning right, listen to that advice.

Your degree isn’t worth much. How much you work isn’t worth much. How little you work isn’t worth much. Just show the world what you’ve done.

It will make you infinitely happier and more successful than you can imagine.


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