“The rhetoric of punk has always insisted that both the music and the style were strictly working-class, the expression of the dispossessed and the economically downtrodden. Punk was ‘Sounds From the Street’ rather than ‘The Sound of the Suburbs.’ […] Puńk was a ‘new’ music in its performing structure, refusing to acknowledge the traditional catchment area for musicians and audience, as well as rejecting contemporary ideas of musical value and performance.” -Paul Fryer
In the opening paragraphs of Paul Fryer’s 1986 book, “Punk And The New Wave Of British Rock: Working Class Heroes And Art School Attitudes,” the author calls out parallels and convictions of the then emerging ‘new’ music scene and its represented audience and advocates. Although the punk subculture is nearly 40 years old, the same ties can be found in its modern expression today. Despite years of commercializing fashion trends and the mainstreaming of the music’s once rebellious chord progressions, the essence of ‘Punk’ remains the same, to unapologetically be your own self.
“In the early days of punk, a series of differing musical styles were contained within the movement, held together by their novelty and their insistent championing of individuality… [and] a ‘punk attitude,’ a rejection of complacency and hypocrisy, a hailing of the “modern world.”
These are the tenets of CareerPunk, the gospel it preaches, and the pillars for which it stands. All with a goal-oriented twist. Don’t just embrace these values, leverage them for your personal growth and professional development.
Phrases like “rejecting contemporary ideas” could be easily mantled upon today’s most innovative companies. Put simply, its suggests that one should ‘think-outside-the-box,’ to cultivate a greater perspective. Or even perhaps to challenge the status-quo. Which is exactly the kind of thing startups do when they ‘disrupt’ an industry. That sounds pretty PUNK, to me.
The punk movement’s “insistent championing of individuality” also provides common ground between the counterculture and the establishment, as it ironically aligns with the core of all commercial marketing strategies. Of which is to show how and why their product is different from all the others. How it stands out from all the rest. Your individuality should be managed the same way. Not hidden or subdued but championed. It’s what makes you different that will also provide you opportunity, get you promoted, and stand out as exceptional.
Complimenting the aforementioned is the underlying (and oft imposing ) ‘punk attitude.’ Quoted as being a ‘rejection of complacency and hypocrisy‘ this more than just a way of thinking, it’s a way of life. And one I challenge all to embrace. It encourages a sense of growth and progress, of new and modern ideals, as well as the notion that remaining static, rebuking such progress is a mortal waste of one’s potential and duty as a human. The punk attitude says to live what you preach and be accountable for your actions. These are the qualities of successful people. And they can make you successful too.