There is a meltdown in corporate America. Disengaged workers are starting to realize that they can be more.
I lived in this world for about ten years. I was aching for freedom and knew there was more. Witnessed people who’ve seem to have lost their spirit working only by what they feel is the right and responsible thing to do, day in and day out, like cogs in a wheel. Great and wonderful people who just happened to buy into a myth.
Gallup reports that 70% of workers are unhappy and disengaged. We’ve seemed to have taken the life out of our country ever since the days of the factory. We have allowed people to buy into a myth that if you can give up all of your time and sweat for little pay now–and give us about 30 to 40 years of sacrifice working here–we’ll keep your family fed and clothed. But, we promise you’ll get to “retire” by the time you’re 65 with a pension, a gold watch, and spend the rest of your days doing whatever you want to do.
And so the misery begins; the art disappears. Or perhaps it can sometimes accidentally be stumbled upon. Someone who was meant to paint found hiding away in a little neck of the woods. They’re creating a canvas of amazing awesomeness that can only be found in a special place in his spirit that he did not let anyone steal.
These people were found few and far between, but they were there. The dreamers who still had a little flame they held onto were trying to come alive in a world that was demanding something else… the American Dream.
Nowadays, with the help of technology, dreamers like me are surfacing more rapidly than ever due to many wake-up calls, and realizations that we’ve been bamboozled by a terrible myth.
And so now, we dreamers are becoming unemployable entrepreneurs, and we get to hear things like this.
Why don’t you just get a real job? You should be happy that you have a job; just be glad you’re not homeless and living on the streets. Just be grateful you have food on the table, you have a roof over your head, that you can at least afford gas and get to work. Be glad you’re not standing in that unemployment line! Be realistic.
I tell you what, that term, “just get a real job” makes me want to say, “why don’t you just take a real hike”.
I’ve heard every single line, and every single time, my skin crawled. The idea of working for someone else–no matter how bad a condition I’m in–just emptied my soul at the very thought of it.
Me going to work for a company just for money would most assuredly be my fast track ticket to being in the top 1% of those 70% of unhappy workers.
Seriously, you want me to give up my life and save up for an age that I might not even make it to?
And then what? Years will pass, and the world would have forgotten about me. Except for maybe a picture or two that shows up in a family album one day. And, the last thought that someone might remember about me is that I was a responsible, hard worker who was never around, and never really enjoyed life.
Is all of this worth it? To give up so much, to make other’s feel better about your choices?
I’ll let you decide that.
Think about these risks; the things you ultimately risk losing if you have a dream but decide to settle in a job just hoping your dream will come to pass.
- You risk losing your dreams. Losing the overall vision; the stuff that breathes life into your soul. Can you seriously imagine or appreciate the thought of getting to your death bed and closing your eyes for the last time thinking about regrets? The things you wish you would have done. The things you wish you would have let go of, and that you would have been more authentic to yourself and did not live out of the expectations of others.
- You risk losing your health. After the Marine Corps, I was in great shape, but let myself go in corporate, and then I had to work hard to get some of those pounds off that I gained. When I went back to do an odd job at Home Depot, I found myself slipping again. I was losing sleep, I was not eating right, picked up coffee again because I needed caffeine, I stopped working out as much, and I was eating from the vending machines. I started to feel awful.
- You risk losing your soul. If you don’t have your dreams, if you don’t have your visions, if you don’t have your health, you may start to feel soul-less. Walking this life like you’re just doing your time. No zest, no excitement, just emptiness, void, and complacent sadness. Wow, how does that sound? Not too appealing, but yet there’s a bunch of us out there doing just that.
At the end of the day, if you don’t take ownership of your life and build your dreams, someone is going to hire you to build their dream. You will risk so much, and the possibility of mere existence becoming your purpose.
From my experience, and from what we know is happening, the risks are just not worth it. I’m so grateful to have found a better way.
Photo: Flickr/ ben matthews :::