2002-09-08 8:04 p.m.

An Open Letter To Sundry's Intern

Dear Sundry's Intern:

Welcome to the world of the American workplace! You are about to learn one of the most important and useful lessons for future career success: never ask why.

"But whyyyyyyyy??" I hear you ask. OK, here's why! But this is the only free pass you get -- from here on out, for your future happiness, sanity and success, as well as for that of those around you, be sure not to do it again.

About a third of the time, the answer to "why" is because the way that you're being asked to do it really is the best way to do it. In time, and with experience, it will start to make sense to you.

The rest of the time, the answer to "why" is something you'd just be happier not knowing. These are the "whys" that never, ever match up with anything most people would think of as "common sense" or "in the best interest of the business" but that you must live with anyway.


"Because one of the VPs thinks this is the future of the industry."


"Because the stockholders will respond positively to this in the short term, even though it will sink the company in the long term."


"Because the boss' wife works there."


"Because it was featured on page 64 of the most recent issue of Fortune."


"Because they want this on the market yesterday, and they'd rather pay to support a poorly-built product than wait and release a good one."

You're looking a little droopy, Sundry's Intern. That's just the beginning of what you will come to know as Disillusionment. This may feel kind of icky now, but this is the emotion that will lead to Detachment, which will allow you not to take any of the nonsense you're about to be faced with personally. Soon Disillusionment and Detachment will be your treasured friends, helping you cope with the ups and downs of the job market and to do what you're told, not what makes sense.

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

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