I often refer to the Corporate World as intentional self slavery.
We are taught to go to school and to get a “good job”. Little boxes on the hillside full of ticky tacky. What does that mean? We shrug our shoulders and don’t think of the next step. Unless someone tells us to do something, we sit still. One of my favorite movies is Idiocracy. On the surface, it’s an absurd comedy. Looking deeper shows a devolved society. The further we ‘advance’ the less we think for ourselves. Consider the smartphone, which many affectionately call the dumbphone. When is the last time you asked for directions? How many times have you asked Siri where a dead body is hidden?
Do you wait to cross the street until the little guy turns from red to white, and even animates walking, until you step your foot off the curb?
Never dumb down your dreams, question everything that is around you and why it exists.
One day, one of my last days before freeing myself from the office (to pursue Beer2Buds), I saw a girl’s cubicle. She had some plants, some decorations, and a huge lamp. I said “wow, that’s a lot of stuff” to which she replied “yeah, isn’t it great, I got the lamp from my living room. I figured since I spend so much time here, I might as well make it comfortable.”
No, it’s not great. It’s sad. It’s one thing if you were there because you wanted to be there. But, unbeknownst to you, you’ve become a victim of willed corporate slavery. Do you ever get tired of rush hour? Do you ever ponder why you are intentionally part of the flock of sheep that jams up the freeway or subway at 8 am and 6 pm?
And if you have all of this time to decorate your office, why in the world are you not creating a LIFE for yourself. Don’t settle for what is in front of you! A pet rock is still a rock. You can decorate a jungle gym and pretend it’s a castle but at the end of the day it’s still a cage. I’m not saying don’t make the best with what you have. I’m saying don’t limit yourself because someone else defined you. YOU define you. You have the ability to create your life, why choose to decorate your cubicle? There are pictures of your kids on your cubicle walls because you can’t spend enough time with your family. You have plants and a giant lamp because you want to feel like you’re in your living room. We even have casual Fridays so that you can wear jeans. Feel like you’re at home yet? It’s a trick! Humans were not meant to be in cages. We are free insomuch as we give up all of our freedoms. Our freedom is an illusion.
We are given the carrot or the stick from which to choose. It used to be that, as free human beings, we were ruled by the stick. We were forced into slavery, to serve others, by violent means. Now, all someone has to do is say – Hey, I’ll give you some money, we’ll give you a health plan for all your stress, we’ll even offer daycare, give you a ping pong table and free soft drinks. Voila! That’s not such a bad deal to trade for your daily sacrifice from 8-6, including your long commute, to be away from family, friends, your creativity, your routine – all to fill someone else’s pockets and to help them buy time. Do you take candy from strangers? NO. Slap your hand.
These things are put in place not so that you have a work-life balance but so that you can stay longer at work. You can even have a sleeping pod and take a nap. I hear many people say things like “well, we’re meat eaters, that’s just the way we evolved, so we eat meat” in a Brawndo-style voice “it’s got electrolytes” (Idiocracy reference). Applying that to freedom – we once used to be free to roam the earth, to find and make our own food, to create businesses, to play when we decided we needed a break. Have we evolved into cubicleville?
There’s never been a better time to reach deep inside and pull out your creativity. Look past the cubed wall, question what exists around you, don’t listen to others who are trying to pull you into their world because it’s safe and comfortable, and reach into your knowing soul. Free yourself from the corporate grind. What does that mean? What will you do now? You were taught to fear so you wouldn’t think for yourself; so that you’d stay. It will all work out so long as you choose to break out of slavery. Life is too short to spend in a corporate jail cell.