Tuesday, January 7, 2014

We Look Like We Love What We Do

If you are a 'white collar' like me, the corporate ladder is the perceived path towards success, freedom and everything else. This 'promise' was invented and marketed by the very same white collar dudes in the system; the fat pay packages, remunerations and the perceived glamour of high flyers.

Upon closer examination, it looks like an elaborate scheme, so well designed to keep you running on that treadmill, chasing something that can never be attained. Don't get me wrong, many have attained freedom, wealth and 'success' upon retirement but what they fail to realise is that they paid for it using time that can never be bought back. 

The reason why many of us are caught in this cycle is that we have accepted the cookie-cutter path that our parents took. 

Study hard, work hard and retire at 56. A safe and stable future they say.

Because of that, very few white collars have the privilege of indulging in their dreams. 

Another reason that keeps us in the system is that our living costs and expenses seem to keep up with every pay rise and promotion. As we escalate through the ranks, we tend to need to keep up with the expensive outfits and all the unnecessary luxuries.

We need to look like we love what we do. 

Over time, we convince ourselves that we love what we do. There was an acquaintance, a lady, a high flyer who walked past a luxury handbag on display in a mall. As she admired the bag for a good 10 seconds, she turned to me and said, "Well, that's what keeps us motivated to work hard!".

And no, she was not being sarcastic. She was a victim of the system.

A few months ago, I attended a corporate dinner. Seated next to me was a partner of a huge international law firm. On the outside, she looked radiant for her age, eloquent and poise. Most of all, she looked like she had it all figured out. Later that night, she said she was looking for an exit strategy.

You see, the system is not necessarily bad. 

It is only bad when you submit to the natural tendencies of white collar rats. Take the road less travelled.

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