Re-published on the 3rd anniversary of my departure from the 9-5
Every kid who’s been raised in the U.S., hell even many who haven’t, wants a piece of the American dream. That elusive idea that if we work hard, train hard and do what we’re told, at a certain point we end up with ample, maybe even extravagant, riches and enough security to enjoy life. If I’m the first one to tell you that formula is flawed, it’s time for you to wake the fuck up.
I’ve been working since I turned 15, which in itself I believe is admirable. No one can deny that we are a society fueled by money, and the lack thereof will significantly cripple you. The problem, in my eyes, is that since the age of 15 I’ve been trained to think that my dreams are just that: whimsical, unattainable thoughts and hopes for a life that isn’t sustainable or valid. Despite never allowing myself to truly give up on what I believe will make me happy, I’ve been guilty of segregating my “real life” from the life I want. As of February 6, 2013, I’m done with that shit.
Frustration and disapproval of my own lifestyle and choices has been bubbling inside me for some time now, but the fear of homelessness, poverty and a life that doesn’t quite compare to how I imagined it has kept me chained to the machine that is corporate America. I’ve paid my dues and am finally beginning to realize that Enid was right when she told Carrie that “the key to having it all” is to “stop expecting it to look like what you thought it would look like.”
Maybe I’ll never be a rich and famous writer who can afford Louboutin heels and a weekly manicure (I’ve got high standards…), but that may have never really been in the stars for my happiness. I can’t base my quest for contentment and satisfaction in life on the media’s portrayal of what it means to be happy and successful. Because quite frankly, they’re no experts. The only actions that can truly make us happy are doing what we love, for that exact reason (i.e. not for riches beyond our wildest dreams–if that happens, good for you, though), changing things that make us miserable and helping to pass the fortune that inevitably comes from these actions on to those who may not see so clearly.
The majority of my reason for leaving the corporate world is derived from my own desire for happiness. I’m a selfish bitch. But part of it is also the inability to see the massive amounts of homeless people in this city who are suffering, regardless of how they ended up that way, while corporate Americans enjoy lavish lifestyles at the expense of their morals and souls. I cannot feel like I’m part of the mechanism which allows that to happen. I know many people will not agree, but I’ve experienced this cold with a good jacket and warm home to retreat to. I don’t wish this situation on anyone inescapably. Underneath everything, whichever store it may have come from, we’re still all humans, and it is our duty to help each other. If we can’t swing that even on the smallest level, we have every right to be ashamed.
After all this ranting, the point is that I’m making the conscious, educated decision to say sayonora to the 27th floor of a building on Broad Street, and I’m doing this in exchange for half the pay and complete vulnerability to weather conditions while working. Not only am I willing to give up a yearly salary, healthcare (which, face it, doesn’t do anyone much good anyway) and a consistent 9-6 work schedule, I am eagerly looking forward to it. It’s finally clear to me, after so very many years of struggling, that this is the only choice I really have if I have any intention of ever actually being happy, approving of myself and making a difference in this world.
Many people may shun this decision and think of me as ignorant, but that’s something I can easily handle. Shoving the creative soul I’ve been given to the depths of corporate America’s pit in exchange for fleeting security, insulting pay and constant unhappiness–that I just can’t do. So I’m out. Consider the microphone dropped.
Originally published March 28, 2013 on NewYorkSocialStatus.com