I am now a corporate entity
The American lifestyle is a human rat race. Don’t do shitty in middle school, otherwise you’ll suck at high school. Then you won’t get into college, and then you’ll get pregnant and be on welfare and live under a bridge. Therefore, as society and our parents like to remind us, you should probably just accept the path that has been laid out for you. The natural progression. The human rat race:
Preschool–>Elementary School–>Middle School–>High School–>College (don’t you even think about that gap year bullshit)–>Full-Time Job (cool for about the first week)–> Increased Risk of Dying Early Because You Sit at a Desk All Day–>Committing Your Life to Somebody You’ll Probably End Up Hating (isn’t it like 50% probable?)–>Getting a Mortgage with Digits that Eat You Alive in Bed at Night–>Kids–>Paying for College for Said Kids–>High Blood Pressure Medicine–>Retirement, if You Didn’t Fuck Something Up Along the Way and Need to Work Until You’re 97–>Done
It amazes me that, as much as everybody hates stress, it’s indirectly admirable. The more you do, the better it is. For some twisted, fucked up reason, people receive accolades for killing themselves over their jobs. You hear it: “Ohhh, look at him. He works two full time jobs over 80 hours a week, isn’t that amazing? He must take home a nice paycheck at the end of the week.”
We’re pressured from an early age to “go to college and get a good job,” but the measure of life success is ultimately the salary you collect, and whether you’re doing something respectable. I’m not supposed to live in my parent’s house beyond a reasonable amount of time after school (fine with me on that one!), I’m not supposed to enjoy my life (it’s true–let’s be real, here), I’m supposed to work through it.
Consequently, some of these books that are out these days really fucking piss me off: “take time to relax,” ”"life’s too shortttt, focus on youuuuuu. “ Ummm, fucking when? Somewhere between the 9 1/2 hour day and trying to sleep a little so you can get up and repeat? It’s always something. It’s always going to be next week’s paycheck that’s going to get you back to where you want to be. But then, the ‘Check Engine’ light glimmers onto your dashboard and laughs at your misery. Being the obedient corporate slave that you are, you drop more money to get a rental car while your car’s in the shop– a ride from your brother is just not reliable enough. Time is money, people, and if you ever want a promotion, don’t you dare come into the office a moment past 7:30 AM in anything less than a perfectly starched collared shirt.
I’m bitching, I know. And at the end of the day, relatively speaking, I don’t have much to complain about. I work at a great company! But if you think about how many hours of your life–your very own, one-time-only, no refund, no takebacksies life–will ultimately be spent at work, just trying to get the paycheck to bring you and your family into the next week, it’s enough to cringe. Don’t forget to tack on the time it takes to deliver yourself every morning and back in the afternoon, and the hours you spend in bed at night trying to figure out if your boss’ email (you know, the one with the cryptic, ambiguous Microsoft Outlook tone) means you’re in big trouble, or just a little bit in trouble.
Some of the European countries seem to have a better grasp on work-life balance than even the coolest US corporation. Doesn’t Germany give a mandatory four weeks off? And I’m pretty sure their “full-time” work week is more like 32 hours a week, not friggin 50. Maybe it’s the secret to their discipline and productivity? Hmm….
I should probably be done now. I know this piece isn’t as eloquently written as per my usual style (ahem! jkkk), but I need these vents every so often. Leave me a comment so I know I’m not nuts.