I’m not a hater. I do not loathe having had a corporate job. I don’t intend to turn everyone against the idea of a corporate job, which many define as a pointless pursuit of nothing and little reward. In fact, I might return to one myself sooner or later—but definitely with a clearer vision of why I am there.
Many of us were brought up with the framework of school, exams, more school, more exams, then job, then better job, then another job, then better get a fxxking good job to pay the bills and support the lifestyle you want. I had that framework engrained in my head since I could remember. Art lessons were full of “draw your future career” and the likes. We were told doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, were respectable jobs. If not maybe nurse or teacher; and something a bit out of the world? An astronaut perhaps?
But how come no one told me about being a chef, a traveller, an author, a librarian, an entrepreneur, an anthropologist, a theologist, a bus driver? Maybe because these careers do not bring in as much income as some other positions….?
Really, it shouldn’t really matter what we do, as long as we don’t fall into the trap of running the rat race – striving everyday in the workplace to maintain or improve our position, our rewards, our benefits, and our titles. We network, we make alliances, we gossip – or if not, at least we listen to it in case we miss out on anything. Malicious people intentionally try to bring down others. If you are lucky like I was, we avoided them and no one crossed our paths as such. We go home everyday to our big house and think how lucky we are, and we gloat in front of our friends.
We are jovial on the outside, but deep inside we silently scream: why?
Why have a few million RMB in assets and still want to make money like crazy so you can go travelling – what is the problem with going travelling now? Why let work become the excuse of not joining a friend on a holiday? Why a conference call at 11pm? Why no sleep for 36 hours working on a pitch book?
We live to work, that’s why.
We have our priorities upside down inside out, that’s why.
We think we are doing the “right” thing, that’s why.
But we neglect ourselves, our real selves. We forget our interests and passions.
The famous saying goes, that even if you win, you are still a rat. It conjures up an amusing image in my head, where famous CEOs of international corporations are little mice running around in a maze. It’s a pretty comical sight. In other words, even if you have reaped everything material you can from the job you are doing, you are still cheating yourself.
That said, if your calling is to work in a corporate, then so be it. Flourish and prosper. Just don’t let a job take control of you and rule your life.
It’s not really a rat race if you don’t let it become one.