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Kvetching Corner | Where's My Goddamn Velvet Smoking Jacket?

Updated: May 25

Subscriber Allen asked us:

I have a question for Jer, why did you decide to get a graduate degree in project management, rather than just getting your PMP, it would have been cheaper, and you would have companies begging you to work for them since PMPs are in such short supply. Do you regret getting your MPM?

Allen... buddy... why the fuck do you got to call me out like that?

The reason I decided to get my master of project management, rather than just take the PMP is a complicated one. The "poorly written IMDB plot summary" of why comes down to what you learn between the two. The required prep courses for the PMP cover the Project Management Institutes Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). The graduate school covered the PMBOK, PRINCE2, Agile, Waterfall, Six Sigma, Lean, and IPMA; we discussed at length risk management, earned value management, leadership methods, organizational strategic planning, and ethics; I left with a bigger picture of what project management is, and how it should work within an organization.

I recommend anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of the entirety of project management to get their MPM. If you just want to be a PM, then just go for your PMP.

Do I regret getting my MPM? Well, let's go back a bit. (editor's note: incoming rant, you've been warned)

Imagine, me, 12 years old, I’m watching this movie that takes place at Oxford or some other prestigious college. At one point a bunch of the academics go to this exclusive lounge for only the best and brightest. Every genius to ever live is standing around a fire, smoking a cigar, enjoying a lovely brandy, and ruminating on the latest philosophical debate circulating the campus. Each pompous jackoff trying to one-up the previous while also offering a mild jab at their mother, or some shit, I dunno.

I was fascinated… I wanted to be some smart guy, drinking hundred-year-old brandy, smoking hand-rolled cigars, and delivering complex, well-thought-out, poignant, yet still witty monologues that impressed the entire room. I wanted to be an academic. Imagine my disappointment when I heard that real academics drink lukewarm coffee in cramped rooms and do nothing but kvetch about their students all day.

To my further disappointment, I learned that these prestigious honors societies, also don’t come with any smart people perks like standing around a marble fireplace discussing how much Kant was a fucking wanker. I want my goddamn smoking jacket, and I want to call Kant a fucking wanker!

Since these bastards didn’t live up to my 12-year-old ideal of what being one of the smart people entailed, I feel it’s only fair to point out something very important… smart people, are fucking idiots. The overly flowery, verbose, obnoxiously grandiose language is all a farce. In a discussion earlier, I pointed out that academic writing is horrible because it’s meant to be abstruse, and establish a high bar of entry for those who wish to get into that field.

Two things were pointed out, 1. I was complaining about academic writing in an academic setting, and 2. Using the word abstruse is doing exactly what I was ranting about.

Well, shit... got me there. Here’s the thing, my little secret; I deliberately used the word abstruse, because it was an academic setting, and I needed a way to flex my brain cock, so everyone knew how smart I was, also, I threw in a casual jab at the guy’s mother, in a classy way though.

Here’s what I’ve come to, the old days of smart people standing around, drinking, sexually harassing some poor girl, while calling Kant a wanker (seriously, the answer to what should I do isn’t fucking “just act rationally,” jackass. That theory couldn’t be any less helpful if it fucking tried), is over. It’s fucking over, and the world is a better place for it.

Well… it’s not totally over. It still exists in these abstruse journal articles that are so difficult to understand, that even graduate students must reread them over and over again. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said what the fuck while staring at something from the Journal of Business Psychology, or the International Journal of Masturbatory Self-Congratulating, or some other shit.

Research authors write as if they are praying to the patron saint, Fraser Crane before beginning their writing. Please, St. Crane, guide my fingers, that I might sound like a stuffy prig, may my words be too many, and content indigestible, in your name I pray, ‘I’m listening.’

We have to zhuzh that shit up. Seriously. Throw in some colorful language. When your hypothesis turns out to be true don’t launch immediately into fucking p-values and shit. Tell us what you were actually thinking!

“When the results of the simulation returned, I nearly shat my fucking pants. Dr. Buckaroo Bonzai was so overwhelmed with joy he called his wife to tell her he was sleeping with his male assistant. The results have an r-value of …”

Gah-damn... sorry about that, focusing up.

No, I don't regret going to graduate school. I learned a lot, and I've been able to take what I've learned to help others. What I was trying to get at (before I got distracted), was that I have always been one to pursue knowledge, and try to advance myself (maybe for pretentious reasons). Even with the insane availability of information, there are a lot of things that are kept behind large oak doors with hand-carved crests. Sometimes those oak doors are literal, they are the door that leads into that smoking room with the marble fireplace. Other times it is figurative, like in the way that studies and other educational materials are written, and sometimes, it's a bit of both, like fuckfaced motherfuckers at journals keeping discoveries behind a paywall.

My mental image of what it meant to be an academic is insane now that I look back, and it's something that I don't think I actually want (actually a velvet smoking jacket would be pretty great). Instead, I want to be able to share what I've learned and do so in a way that people will understand.

So, no, I do not regret getting my MPM. The broader knowledge that I received has enabled me to do things like write this shit, and hopefully reach a broader audience that otherwise would be prevented from learning these things because of financial or other types of blocks.


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