From rebel to yes man
So after all those years of hard work you finally landed the job of your dream. Or so, you thought. Indeed, it was hard, not hard only because of the amount of study that involved countless sleepless nights and rescheduled dinners with friends but hard because of deeper type of sacrifices. The kind that really had you play with your imagination before accepting to make them. You had to focus real hard on how good of a life you were gonna have in the future if you made the good decisions now. You had to picture yourself in a late model luxury car, dressed up from head to toe with designer clothes, a beautiful mansion in upper Manhattan and of course a very active sexual and social life. Because keeping that strong opinionated mouth of yours quiet was difficult, but if you add on top of that, the fact of having to make friends with the Steve Urkel of your school and accepting the elimination of all chances of dating the stunning popular girl in your drama class, it became almost unbearable.
Anyway with more than a lot of effort, you finally convinced yourself that your beliefs and opinions didn’t matter and that a good citizen, husband and father had to suck up and work hard in the company that was kind enough to choose him among all the potentially better candidates. And so, you land your first job in a top tier firm and all the dreams of luxury cars and supermodels can finally become true. You are finally free and independent.
But then, you wake up. You are shocked when you start to see how the professional world is actually governed. You start to see the politics, the duplictiy ; how people bend over to their managers, how the most docile employee is promoted and how all the manly values that you once thought of embodying later in life are now reserved to criminals or movie stars and that what really matters to succeed in a company is mastering the art of machiavilanism. You realize with horror that the process of anhiliation of self that started from your very first day of school will never stop natuarally unless, you take serious action. You finally feel empathy and compassion for all the no flavor personalities that you used to despise as you see that these guys were not born that way but turned that way. At last, you start to feel the urge to find a way out of this mess if you don’t want to feel the paralysing effect of the quarter life crisis.
Unlearn what you’ve learned
After the above diagnosis, it might be useful to take a step back and put things in perspective. Submission to rules is sine qua non for a society to function. Hobbes (1651, De Cive) described this nearly four centuries ago and it’s still very true to this day (i.e. Somalia). In this context, if you’re the Boss, you need your employees to obey and fear you, because if they don’t you lose control of your company. And in a sense, school prepares us adequately to be good future employees (not necessarily good leaders). Just know that most folks are fine with the way the system works (otherwise a revolution would have taken place a long time ago) and that’s also good because it means you will be able to hire people without investing too much on employee control measures the day you start your own company. It all depends on your perspective at the end of the day.
Connecting back to your true self
Finally, you know what time it is. You have four options, so set a deadline and do what you gotta do:
- Find a job in a smaller firm (boutique) and get promoted faster.
- Use some of your soft skills to do something different that gives you more room for creativity and responsibility and where your performance will play an important role on the profits you make.
- Freelance: assess your skills and find an opportunity to freelance: translation, teaching, writing or consulting are some of the options
- Start your own business: you may have thought you needed more time but it might just be that you’re ready. So prepare a solid business plan before pushing forward with your idea.