“One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours—all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.”
—William Faulkner, interview in Writers at Work, 1958
Is it such an odd thing for a man to have no ambition ? Sure, one could have goals – short-term goals and long-term goals – but is it an absolute necessity that an adult person needs an over-arching ambition to drive his professional life ? One gets asked what he wants to be, quite often, and in the next 2 minutes one is expected to give a good, impressive answer, that fits within the individual’s organization’s culture and its future strategies, keeping inline with one’s boss’ plans and maintain a tone of truthfulness. May be some of us simply want to live a life void of grand schemes. May be one does not want to join the great network of career paths where everyone gets on a specific train bound for a specific title or a position 5 years or 10 years now and be on that train till that time following the standard route while performing lame tricks like an MBA degree. You want to be a Senior Software Engineer, you got to have X years of experience, Y number of certifications and Z number of other things. You want to be an architect, well, all you have to do is have K years of experience, L number of this and M number of that. Everywhere in the corporate hierarchy, there are fixed titles with fixed requirements, but where is the middle ground ?
Be honest they say, when asking about one’s preferred career path, but why is always an honest answer replied with contempt or accusation of naïvety on one’s part ? Is it such a crime to say that one wants to enjoy the daily work because it is interesting instead of the common and apparently smart answer that one would want to work on something because it leads to better visibility among the bosses which surely leads to better title and better pay and more power. And, damn, does power make people change. They want one to be more like themselves. They always say that they chose their current career path out of passion and ambition, but then every Monday they sulk their way into their offices and pray to the almighty, audibly, that Friday was here already. Here is a hint, if you are gleefully screaming ‘TGIF’ while hi-five-ing people on the office hallway, you are not enjoying your work.
What if the ambition is to not have an ambition ? Is it not a fair, even an honest, desire for a man to choose to live by his heart’s drive? To just wakeup everyday wanting to contribute in a positive and impacting fashion without having to stick to someone else’s script ? Sure they sign the pay checks but shouldn’t they demand an honest day’s work instead of blind and deceitful compliance? Are the pay-check signers filed with their own corporate fruit punch so much that they mistake the common sleazy strategies like, being agreeable and talking often in meetings even if it means just stating the obvious, repeatedly, for real skill and passion?
I am well aware of the ranting tone in this post, but, hell, I am ranting at this point. I guess, for legal and HR related reasons, I better say this. For the record, this is whole post is a work of fiction. There!
Can’t wait for fucking Friday evening.
[Post: 282 of 365] [Days Missed: 98]