I’m looking forward to entering the workforce. Living by myself in a one bedroom apartment in some new city, working for a company who sets my goals and pays my bills, was exactly the dream I’ve been working so hard for. That’s a lie, actually. I haven’t actually been working that hard, and that was definitely never a dream of mine. Life’s easy when you believe in what you’re doing. What’s hard is doing what you don’t believe in. That’s the position I’m finding myself in now.
As a child I always wanted to be a ‘businessman’, the one with the sharp suit, slick tie, shiny shoes and silver watch. I wanted to hold the leather briefcase, wear the million dollar smile, eyes gleaming with confidence, and walk into work knowing that my decisions that day would change the world. Of course, you don’t consider the years in between, the entry level positions, running yourself to the bone for someone else’s promotion. Nor do you imagine the lonesome tired nights spent standing at your apartment window, staring over the suburbs and city, searching memories for the last time you’ve shared an intimate experience outside the workplace. I didn’t exactly dream of the dinners by myself, the long commutes, the coworkers that I affectionately love and hate, because while I chose the job, I didn’t choose them. I didn’t think to conceive what it would be like starting over again in a new place, time and time again, and how it would feel to cultivate new friendships, new conversations and tastes, new social networks in alien cities with every new promotion and transfer. I didn’t choose them, and I didn’t choose my loneliness. I chose success, the harder work and longer hours, the lack of leisurely weekends.
So nice to see you! I pull my cheeks upwards and release a smile. We talk about their new job, about the company they’re so excited to work for, about their entry level position that they didn’t see themselves in, but now they love it. Now they love it, because the dreams they once had didn’t consider the dull reality that was waiting for them. Disappointment is hard to swallow.
We were told that our education, our hard work, makes us special, gives us a life of opportunity. Sometimes I believe it.