There Is NO Free Lunch

Adam Buchanan
3 min readApr 13, 2016

My dad hung this wooden plaque in his office for years and I never knew the story behind it.

It looked like a sign you’d see from Yellowstone park explaining that you actually have to pay for lunch.

My dad finally told me the story.

He struggled in his under grad but felt it was important to get his master’s and PhD in environmental science. After he completed those degrees he had this sign hand made to portray that nothing is ever given to you for free. The small family hiking was him, my mom, and my two oldest sisters (my dad is an avid outdoorsman).

My dad explained he never thought he’d get a Master’s much less a PhD. But he did. Because he worked for it. And it was hard.

There Is No Easy Way and Shortcuts Are Worthless

I often get asked by people to:

  • Help their son/daughter get a job in social media (if you’re interested in this, read this article I wrote here)
  • Help their son/daughter get a job in the outdoor industry
  • Put in a good word for them
  • Give them advice on social media and business

And I’m happy to. I’m flattered and excited to share what I know to help and will hopefully provide value. But I’m blown away by a common trend that I see, specifically with the ‘help my kid get a job in your industry’ category.

I’ll get a mom or dad filling my inbox with their kids’ resume. I never hear from their kid, only the parents. The parents tell me all these nice things about their kid but I NEVER hear from the actual applicant who would potentially be applying for the position.

A few years ago I had a dad email and call me for weeks asking me about the hiring process at my company and if I had passed his son’s resume along to HR.

I always respond with, “Have your son reach out to me. I’m happy to chat with them and answer their questions…” Very rarely do people take me up on this offer. Actually only about 2% of people take me up on my offer.

Kids These Days

People always say,

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Yeah that’s cute to stitch on a pillow or whatever but you do need to know a few things:

  • How to present yourself in a professional setting
  • How to differentiate yourself
  • How to write and speak efficiently to deliver a message
  • How to do things that can help a company grow

I’m all about informational interviews. I’m all about extending the olive branch to help others in business. I’m all about sharing knowledge with strangers on the Internet. But ladies and gentleman, there is no free lunch in business. You have to actually work to accomplish something.

You can’t just snapchat all day and binge on Netflix and expect to progress in your career.

You can’t just email some random person (like me) and expect to get a job.

You can’t just do 10% of the work and expect someone to come do the other 90% and you reap all the rewards.

If Lunch Was Free

If lunch was free, no one would want it. It would have day-old mushy apples in a ziplock baggy with an old worn out turkey sandwich. It would include a nasty 4% juice Capri-Sun that wouldn’t even have the straw attached. Free lunch would be quickly retrieved by the masses and than quickly thrown away.

Pay raises aren’t free. Bonuses aren’t free. Promotions aren’t free. Get off snapchat, do the work, and grow yourself.

And if you ever have questions about social media, beekeeping, college, business, job searching; seriously I’m here for you Internet friend. Take me up on the offer and I’ll do what I can to help. Let’s just keep your parents off the email thread, cool?



Adam Buchanan

Marketing and Business Consultant | Public Speaker | Influencer Marketing Strategist | Author | Beekeeper