Would You Like Some Ketchup, Sir? (Silent Desperation)

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As someone who goes trekking frequently (at least once a month) – McDonalds is the *best* food to carry up with you on a mountain.

  • Calorie dense
  • High salt content (i.e. your legs won’t cramp)
  • Doesn’t spoil or get contaminated easily (Lots of preservatives, low moisture, and high salt ensure you can eat it ~24 hours later without you getting sick)
  • Structural integrity (even after getting squished around, it remains a burger)

Protein bars and everything are good items too, but nothing beats good old McDonalds when trekking.

This Saturday morning, I was at a McDonalds.

I was going hiking and getting some burgers for the backpack.

I park the car and I go in the store. There’s a HUGE group of teenagers there.

No idea what they’re doing in a McDonalds at 7 AM in the morning.

This is an early morning shift so there’s only 2 workers. One makes the burgers, and the other does the cashier work and cleans the tables.

Right now the counter is unmanned as the guy is getting the tables cleaned up for the teenager group.

The teenagers he was cleaning the tables for didn’t even acknowledge his existence. The literally pretended like he didn’t exist.

He comes to the counter.

I place my order, “I’ll have a …”

The guy on the counter makes my order, and asks me “Would You Like Some Ketchup, Sir?”

And then it hit me. After all these years of ordering at McDonalds, I never realised…

The staff speaks English!

It’s insane that I didn’t notice it before given that I always order in English.

And then I realized – this guy at the counter is 30-something years old.

I asked him how educated he is. College graduate.

(College graduation is pretty meaningless in India. Even total morons are graduates.)


In my slightly-exhausted-from-waking-up-early-after-a-late-night-of-work condition, I began to think of “what would it be like if I was this guy“.

Being 30 years old. Waking up at 530 AM in the morning for his 630 AM McDonalds job where he serves… burgers to teenagers. Not exactly something to write home about.

And to add the HUMILIATION to the ordeal – the teenagers don’t even notice his existence. From their perspective, this guy is a low class humanoid who’s entire existence is fetching burgers and cleaning tables.

And this isn’t some uneducated dude who should consider himself lucky to have a paying job. He has an education.

You would not want to be in his shoes.

To clarify, I have nothing against any form of honest labor. The guy is doing his job dutifully and more power to him.

That said, he has done something wrong in his life to end up in this position in his 30s.

After he served the teenagers with their order, I gave him a tip and asked him if he was looking for a different job.

“Yes sir”

What skills do you have?

“I am willing to learn anything.”

Sigh. If he was 22, I’d have loved to hear this answer. But from a 32 year old man, you expect a list of things he can do.

Once again – I have nothing against this man. He works an honest job and does it well. But I have to run a business and I need to get a return on any salary I pay anyone. I cannot start hiring people out of pity.

This man had no useful skills other than being a cashier. I told him I’ll be in touch if I find something for him.

I thanked him, took my order, and left.

The Conclusion

The big lesson here is: Education by itself doesn’t mean that much in a world where everyone has an education.

You need to have skills.

You need to learn things that can be used in a business.

Businesses will pay you for what you can do for them. They will not pay you because you are a “graduate”.

College is not supposed to be fun. You aren’t supposed to be partying each weekend.

It’s a time to be building skills. If you got out of college without marketable skills useful to a business – you are fucked.

Just because you passed your exams doesn’t mean anything. Businesses are not charities.

If I pay you $2000 in a salary, your skills better make my business at least $2001 otherwise why will I hire you?

This is a meritocracy. If you have useful skills, you will never be broke.

You will never have to clean tables for teenagers at 7 am in the morning.

You will never have to suffer the INDIGNITY of having a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears teenagers shouting at you to bring their order quickly.

The bible says, “A man who is diligent in his business shall stand before kings, not before common men.”

Ancient wisdom is still true today.

A man who is highly skilled will command others, not take commands from teenagers at 7 AM Saturday morning.

Pick some skills and master them.

If you have no idea what skills to learn, here’s the ones I recommend learning:

These are broad skills that are useful to any modern business. ALL OF THEM.

If you master even one or two of them, you will never have to worry about food in the fridge, rent, or getting a fast food job.

If you’re too lazy to learn valuable skills, well McDonald’s is hiring.

That’s all for today.

Until next time.

Your man,

Harsh Strongman

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