advice · Career Development · reflection

When More is Less

It’s part of the human condition to strive. To best ourselves. The innate drive to excel is nurtured by both genetics and society and from an early age we are taught that we are special. Then, rather abruptly, we realize that game-changers work hard, that we are not entitled to success. This is the moment when we decide if we’re going to f i g h t for the stuff that no longer comes in hand baskets.

“Game-changers work hard, we are not entitled to success”

I’ve been fighting for two years. Climbing the economic ladder like my life depends on it. There is no rule book and there are no guidelines, its a sink or swim venture and sometimes I feel like treading just beneath the surface is cheating. Regardless, I’ve ping-ponged my way through my professional infancy and somehow emerged no worse for the ware. My growing existence, in what seems like a workplace anomaly, has been greedily taken for granted. I’ve complained, griped, and moaned about the small things.  I’ve chewed my husbands ear off over countless home-cooked dinners and grudgingly rolled out of bed on sleepy Monday mornings. And when a new opportunity c r a s h e d through my front door and presented itself on a silver platter, I turned it down.

Let’s go back to that part about the pursuit of best. Growth, both professionally and economically, seems to be the fuel that keeps us crazy American’s overworked and underpaid in this love-hate relationship that is corporate America. Let me be perfectly clear here, I complain about my job out of s o c i a l  obligation. I love what I do, and the people I do it with. But those who voice content are easily weighed, measured, and marked as lethargic members of society. Either many like me are afraid to admit they’re are happy, or a positive workplace is an illusion.

“I complain out of social obligation”

After I finished drooling over dollar signs I realized a small part of me was severely unsettled by the opportunity in front of me. I was attracted by the money, the title, and all the glittery bits packaged with it. I was fantasizing over the parts and passionless for the role. There’s nothing wrong with that, we as a society are cheerleaders for self ennoblement. I’m just not sure how to put a price tag on h a p p i n e s s. How much would I need in my bank account to justify an existence far from gratifying? I’m sure there’s a number, I just haven’t seen it yet – I hope I never do.

As a culture, we are moving at the speed of light and I think we’ve lost touch with ourselves. We don’t know who we are or what we want. Knowing what I DON’T want has brought me that much closer in my journey to figure out what I value. I’m still broke but I’m happy. I find purpose between the hours of nine and five as a valued team member on a staff of hard working professionals. Maybe, sometimes, it’s okay to turn your back on the perfect opportunity in order to gain a greater awareness of self.

Stay humble, stay focused, and make no small plans.

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