Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is The Stress Really Worth It?

So, you went through college.
Acquired some talent along the way?
Got some experience too, I bet.
Then you find yourself in a career
You're there! You've made it halfway.
Gradually, it dawns on you.
You aren't achieving the big dream.
You aren't getting out of it what you got into it in the first place for.
In fact, if it's true with 10 of you out there, including me,
Then it's true with 10,000 of us as well.
We are hanging on to whatever career we happened to drift into by now
By the time this thought has hit us,
We've plowed a wide swath
Very nearly all the way down that primrose path
To Hell

In our night mares we awake sweating
No, it's not the big dream.
It's not the best of the best of situations
It's not nearly all you can be.
Maybe it's not the worst either.
With the economy the way it is,
You've wisely heeded what you've been told
By others not so lucky as you, to hang your hat on it.
Because by now you have a dog or two
Maybe kids and a wife and they all have lives
And so do you

Even Nicolai Tesla died in abject poverty
Though he was the father of so much of this technical age.
Yeah, you hang in there don't ya? Yeah, me too.
Because the price of pursuing what you want is still high enough
That it might just cost you everything that you've worked that thankless job to obtain
But what about that tightly held dignity you still cling to?
Convinced of your purpose and your fate
Hanging in the balance everyone who counts on you at this stage
Find another job? Start over? At this point? At this age?
We weigh the stress of holding on to the job that we know isn't the best
Or even close to what we hope or expect
Against the odds of starting over on the right foot this time
Having done it in our career, oh maybe 5 or 6 times.
Sure, as we sit for that company picture that goes on our access card,
We have that hopeful glint in our eyes.
In time we hope it won't fade into hopelessness as each job we take ebbs and flows
As if pushed and pulled by a diabolically fickle tide.

You see, the resume and the portfolio maybe landed you
Close to where you thought you could make a difference.
Then you meet that one person who is yet a step above you
A little wiser, little bit more experienced.
A company man who preaches that he still admires you
For thinking the world can be changed again by just one man.
You might have to admit along the way your imperfections as you strive to grow.
Maybe share a bit too much, only because you've learned to trust those in leadership roles.
If only to explain to him that your ideals are only as good as your opportunities to act.
Gee, won't he give you a chance to run with your ideas and talents, just once.

But no, there's work to be done
And you are asked to go where it is.
Supporting the company,
an opportunity for new skills.
It's the job that counts, he reminds you. It is what it is.
And so you sweep your aspirations aside
With the broom they handed you to just clean up the crumbs
From the real work they gave to someone else
Because there was just too much at stake
To stick to your guns, in the end.

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