I do not know how authentic Aaron Clarey is. For the following, I therefore take his online videos at face value and assume that he is not deliberately putting up a false front. If you have some familiarity with his work, you may know that he quit a commercial banking gig and since then gets by on a mix of via various income sources: online consulting, book sales, online courses, and, I think, ballroom dancing lessons.
Aaron Clarey is quick to berate corporate America, dumb coworkers, and backstabbing bosses. What I find fascinating about his vitriol is that it seems so myopic. In that regard, it reminds me of a post by Roosh V, that incompetent pick-up artist who is now styling himself as some kind of ‘red pill’ guru. In one of Roosh’s posts you can read that a doctor making six figures is a “loser” because he works for other people, and also because he works so many hours. On the other hand, a “digital nomad” can get buy on a lot less and also “smash prime pussy” at a younger age. I’m probably caricaturing Roosh’s post. Yet, the key part was that he made the claim that he’d rather be Roosh V the non-doctor than Dr. V the non-Roosh. If anything, this strikes me as sour grapes, given Roosh’s rather modest academic background, meaning that medical school was not in the cards, not by a long shot.
With Aaron Clarey, the situation is a bit different, but nonetheless roughly comparable. He went to a middling school and got a job at a commercial bank. This is not a high-flying career. Yet, Aaron Clarey has a very high opinion of himself. This is where sour grapes come into play as well. If you have read Clarey’s “Curse of the High IQ”, you may have learned that he considers basically the entire world to be beneath him. Yet, if people are so stupid, and he could do “a day’s work in two hours”, then why couldn’t he advance in his job? What is more: if he’s that smart, then why didn’t he get into a better school? You could now say that he may not have gotten support from his parents, or didn’t get relevant information, which made him enroll at a middling school. Yet, as a stellar student from a mediocre university, he would certainly have ticked a few “diversity” boxes for the admission committees at a Top 20 school, meaning that he could have transferred, or gotten a Master’s and then entered a more interesting career.
Clarey’s problem is that he is pissed off at the world when he should be pissed off with himself. Even if you have one bad boss, if you do good work, your superiors will want to keep you happy. Sure, you will encounter colossal bullshit, like women getting a management role as a reward for poor performance when a guy would instead get the booth. That kind of bullshit is unfortunately part of life in the Western world. You can be upset about it, or you keep your head down and jump ship at an appropriate point in time. I know the kind of (false) pride Clarey must have felt in the working world. I made a few rather bad decisions myself because of it, and I wish someone would have explained the ‘real’ rules of the working world to me, instead of having to learn them via trial and error. Still, you can maintain your dignity, which is due to the fact that you can leave and get a better job. You’re as good as you think you are, right? Okay, then go prove it!
In any case, Clarey’s ire against supposedly incompetent bosses is completely misguided. How do you think your boss gets evaluated? They also have their performance reviews. This means that your contribution influences their standing in the company. As a simple example, let’s say one of the metrics you are evaluated on is the amount of money you bring in. If you generate more than X$, you get a bonus. If your boss supervises a team of ten people, he may have a goal like generate 10X$/year. Likely his number won’t be an exact multiple to account for variation in individual performance and economic uncertainty, but that is irrelevant for my point. Instead, the take-away is that your boss is happy when you do a good job. Thus, it is in his best interest to keep you happy and to ensure that you can do good work. It’s a clear win-win. This is at least how it tends to work in jobs in which you don’t wear a uniform with a name tag. Surely, if we were talking about unskilled work when there’s a glut of potential employees, bosses may just want to squeeze as much out of their employees, showing no regard for long-term happiness or sustainability.
I experienced quite a bit of grade-A bullshit in my working life. Once, I worked in a small team, doing greenfield/blue ocean kind of work. One of us surprisingly quit. Our manager was a bit taken aback by that, but things have to move on, so we put out a job ad. We were told that we would get all the (pre-screened) CVs, decide whom to invite and interview, be part of the interviews, and also decide whom to hire in the end. After a few weeks with no CVs coming our way, I asked my manager, when I bumped into him, what the status was. He told me that hiring has been completed, and the contracts signed. I learned that they got a few CVs, and then a woman applied, so he did a brief interview with her over the phone and offered her the job. My interview process was a lot tougher; I had to come in twice and had multiple interviews, for instance. For context, you have to know that I’m in a very male-oriented industry. Yet, seeing that kind of bullshit first-hand was not what I had expected. I was pretty annoyed with it, reached out to another company I knew somebody at. They quickly interviewed me. I got the job, and I quit my old one. Of course, during the exit interview I elaborated what a great place to work they provide and how grateful I am for the opportunity to make a contribution, yadda, yadda. Bullshit works the other way, too. If they bullshit, I bullshit.
You will encounter bullshit in the real world. The question is how to deal with it. Becoming a Clarey-like hermit is one way. I don’t think it is the smartest way. If he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he could have pursued a regular corporate career and retired in his mid-40s. If you are male and don’t want to have a family, that is a goal you can comfortably reach. Just sum up how much you can sock away over 20 years. Yet, Clarey didn’t do that. Instead, he’s now doing coaching calls for a living. I don’t think this is more dignifying than doing decent work in industry. Yet, he can now “do a Clarey” and pontificate how everyone is stupid while he’s a genius who just could not be bothered to put in the work. There’s a word for that: bullshit.
Did you enjoy this article? Excellent! If you want to support what I am doing, then please consider buying my excellent books, the latest of which is Meditation Without Bullshit or donating to the upkeep of this site. If you want tailored advice, I am available for one-on-one consultation sessions.