The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Professional Complacency

It’s ingrained. You wake up every day of the week in a city you don’t favor living in, next to a person you don’t really like that much, have sex that’s really not that great, eat a breakfast you don’t really enjoy, and head into a job you most likely don’t look forward to.

It’s the story of many post-grad young professionals in the US. Alright, maybe not so much a story as a culture. But apparently I find myself climbing out of bed every morning to commute to a desk job –albeit a good one with travel and benefits and a 401k – I can’t even believe I just typed that bullshit… Point is, I’m feeding that culture and I’m wondering how the hell I got programmed into doing so. Because humans, people, ectomorphs, etc. weren’t made to slam themselves into some 9 to 5 –note: that doesn’t exist anymore, try 8 to 8- job and work for someone who most likely doesn’t appreciate them.

After 4 years of solid professional work I’m tired. Could be a personal feeling, but judging by my peers, I notice a lot of them are just going through the motions on a daily basis. It’s a herd of huffing, disconcerted water buffalo all waiting to make it to the next watering hole weekend. Everything in between is noise, fight or flight, or swallowing good ideas in favor of kissing ass. I’m thinking a lot of what American culture breeds has been paved for the last 100 years by our parents and their parents before them.

Look, we gotta find a balance folks. A balance between what our country has deemed the “life path” and actually enjoying life. Not saying the two can’t go hand in hand…but, well, just saying.

The majority of our population been mired in this notion of being couch comfortable. Sure, there ‘s a minority of the population that do what they love, are motivated, driven and travel the world to succeed. However, I’d argue that the majority of our population work for bosses they dislike, float through days uninspired, then follow a bunch of pairs of crawling red eyes through the night back home to recycle it all the next day (unless it’s a Friday in which case, let’s get go get drizzy).

So what does it take to yank what matters most back into your life? Because if I hear words like synergy and due diligence and phrases like “thanks so much.”, I'm going to lose it.

Personally, I wanted so badly to succeed into my new professional life. I wanted to get out there and make my mark on the world. I ended up securing a job with one of the best private luxury development firms in the world. I appeared as someone on a path to succeed, and I was for awhile, but then I stopped on my 4th year anniversary at my job and took stock of myself and what I had to show for it.

In retrospect I must have looked like a drunken 12-year old idealistic musketeer running out from under the portcullis of college waving my rapier wildly (see: diploma). Sidenote: I’m not condoning underage drinking here…just roll with it, I’m going to make sense of all this nonsense.

I have a good salary, live in Manhattan Beach, have (had) a beautiful, superficial girlfriend (let's just say I’ve had a more emotional connection with a piece of cardboard)…but to be truthful I hadn’t really felt like me since college. I lost my passion for life, my personal direction, my love for language and reading, and the one girl I love. The kind of girl who only comes around once and if you don’t go after her like a lion and keep her, she’s going to disappear into the world because everyone else recognizes how amazing she is. The kind of person who, if you walked into room with people scattered around sitting in chairs, there’s about a 95% chance you’d take a seat right next to her. The girl was a buoy, a beacon. And let me tell you, once I had this little life reflection lesson, that shit smarted. Was it worth it? To me at the time, I was so sure of myself that it was worth anything for me to succeed professionally. I was focused too far ahead of what I wanted to accomplish, versus what I had already accomplished –building and developing as a person I was proud of.

We’re getting to the end of this entry and I’m talking about all this stuff, but I haven’t even pointed a finger and blamed anyone(I have to throw someone under the bus here –it’s only professional…zinger!) The point of this entire hybrid rant/I’m a wet blanket/shut the F up and do something about it/diarrhea of the pen, piece is that I wanted honesty from the institution. I’m not even mad that American culture hands most of us a magnetized directional compass for life, I just wish someone had warned me how the professional world would be once I dove in. How, instead of going to a place where you have people who want to help you succeed every day, you face an entirely different situation altogether. I’m not sure any teacher or amount of schooling can prepare you for it.

But once you dive into that world and you get in deep, it’s extremely easy to fall into a pattern of complacency, and that's what I've witnessed around me. I don't think it's completely done on purpose, but it wears on you to a point of becoming extremely easy to buy into the system, collect a paycheck and live weekend to weekend. And I guess that’s why I’m writing this. Because, while you're working and grinding every day, there's potential human energy being lost.


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