I admit it. I was jealous. I was envious.
I wanted my peers to succeed as long as they didn’t see more success than I did. I envy the people who are truly happy for the people around them when they succeed.
That’s not me. I’m competitive to a fault.
Other people’s success makes me feel insecure.
Other people’s success makes me think about my mistakes and my failures and my shortcomings.
Some days the only thing I want to do is sleep and escape.
Other days I wonder if it will ever work out…or will I just drift through life engaging in one venture after another and then die…without ever achieving anything major while my friends are climbing the ranks at fortune 500 companies.
It is scary and it was these types of thoughts that ruined my life.
It was one day in particular. My friend landed a job at Microsoft and another friend landed a job at Google.
They were thrilled and for good reason. Their life would soon be paved with white picket fences and gated communities. And it hurt me…because my life was one big blur at the time.
I had no idea where I was going. I was engaged in a variety of different fields, fearful to commit to one.
I was driving the car of life with my foot on the break and they were driving the car of life with their foot on the gas. It ruined my day.
Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for them, they deserved those jobs, but it made me feel like shit.
It’s like the old crab analogy. Every time a crab tries to get out of the bucket, another crab pulls it down.
I was the crab trying to pull the other crab down, but it wasn’t working. The crab had escaped and now I was left alone in this dark bucket and I was afraid. I saw no light.
I spent days and weeks and months in the bucket. Contemplating and wishing and thinking.
I was tired of seeing the people around me doing well while I was trying to make the improbable, probable. They were making big money and I was sleeping on couches.
I had enough. I decided to join them. And I did. I climbed out of the bucket and got a corporate job.
I wasn’t made for the corporate grind, but I sacrificed myself. I killed the part of me that lived for adventure and replaced that portion with somebody who craved stability and comfort. I never did care for stability and comfort, but I made myself care.
I buried my dreams and settled. I conformed and lowered the brightness on my life until I saw only black and white.
My time at a corporate job can be summarized by a quote from Charles Bukowski….
“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
I would look in the mirror and a slave would look back. I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore because I had done what I never wanted to do, settle and embrace mediocrity.
Mediocrity was my greatest fear and now I had become just like them.
When I was a young teen, I would take the train early in the morning just so I could see all the dull faces that were connected to lifeless bodies as they traveled to jobs that were poisoning their blood.
I made a vow to never turn into one of them.
But now here I was…taking the same train…with the same dull look on my face…as I headed to a job that was stabbing me dead in the heart.
And that was the root cause of my misery.
I would be cranky all the time. Pissed off at the world and I would take it out on the people I loved the most.
The real reason I was cranky was because I had buried my dreams, not because my sister forgot to put the lid on the milk.
I traded my dreams for a measly salary because that’s what I saw everyone else do. I didn’t want to get left behind so I did the same.
I hated every minute of it because I was no longer in control of my life.
I gave up the driver seat for the passenger seat.
My boss was now driving the car of my life and he was steering it in whichever direction he pleased. He didn’t give two fucks about me or my dreams. It was a one way street. I was there to build his empire and he was there to ruin mine. And he did.
I was his pawn and he was the king…and he earned that right.
The only right I earned was the right to be a modern day slave. I earned that right when I showed up to my boss’s doorstep and accepted a job to do work that made me sick to my stomach.
And this, my friend, is the new form of slavery. Spending the prime years of your life doing stuff you hate.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not here to spend my life working away on tasks that aren’t going to matter two weeks from now.
I’m not here to make balance sheets, balance. That’s an accounting joke by the way.
I’m not here to help build my boss’s life; I’m here to build my own life.
I’m here to make the improbable, probable.
If that means dying without ever achieving anything major, so be it. I’ll take that risk. I wish I accepted this before I lost my soul working a dead end job.
But thank god I got back to my senses and kissed goodbye to my office and my steady salary before the corporate grind killed every ounce of ambition in my veins.
I quit…and went back to sleeping on couches.
This all happened a few years ago and the decision to quit ended up being the…
Best. Decision. I. Ever. Made.
I experienced more joy and success and happiness than I ever thought possible. Feelings I would have never of felt if I had continued to live and breathe behind those cubicle walls.
I took off the chains that tied my wrists together and I escaped.
They can keep their corporate jobs and their six figure salaries.
The freedom to make the improbable, probable is the only thing I need.