Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I changed my mind, I want a cheeseburger

Monday morning at 6:45 a.m. my alarm goes off. I fumble around aimlessly because I fear opening my eyes will rob me forever of the beautiful black mute world in my eyelids. My hand finds it's way to the alarm and I turn it off and quickly halt any brain activity of my upcoming day so I can reclaim that place in my brain that only works when I'm sleeping. I briefly drift off and dream of being...awake, but in a different place and time. So that proved fruitless. Thirty minutes later my second alarm clock (that also moonlights as an annoying communication device that makes it impossible for me to escape my boss and important messages from Citibank Student Loans) begins to chime. I stop fighting and open my eyes. It's time to put on my game face and face the world.

I take a long time in the shower, take even longer brushing my teeth and actually sit down on the side of the bed to thoroughly lotion myself while I chuckle to my favorite comedian on the radio as he provides insightful antidotes that make life seem more simple and humorous than it is. But amazingly my attempt to make myself late to work to my oh so fabulous sales job is foiled by my fear of disappointing my Sales Manager by being late for her oh so important Monday Marketing Meeting that consist of telling us how much we all suck so far this month. But as usual, she's confident we can turn it all around and that we should be thrilled to spend our days selling mailing solutions for such a great company. Never mind the fact this awesome company pays us a minimal salary, an even less percentage of the margin on the equipment we sell, won't offer us a company car, gives us a laptop accompanied by a live tool that we can't use in the field and won't even give us pens, file folders, notepads and a printer that works. Our fearless leader even so graciously proclaimed that he's not running an Office Depot and if we want those type of luxuries we can buy it ourselves.

But I digress. The meeting goes off without a hitch and is starts late as usual. Everyone else seems so excited to be there. I look at my forty to fifty something counterparts and admire the way they've mastered blowing smoke up our bosses ass. I mean seriously, how are they so excited about this job? What's to get excited about? In the time I've worked for this company (all of eight months) I've seen five people come and go. That's some turnover. Like me, they realize they were sold a pipe dream about the money to be made and without the money there really is nothing to be passionate about for a twentysomething year old who probably didn't dream in college of selling postage meters and postage meter accessories. Unlike me however, my former youthful peers do not suffer from the people pleasing disease that has plagued me my whole life and weren't afraid to leave a stain of failure on their resume. Ironically, my fear of failure has only lead to the realization of it. You followers of The Secret are probably eating this up right now.

So, while everyone is interrupting the impressive PowerPoint presentation in an effort to appear genuinely interested and concerned by asking probing questions, I think back to the idealistic girl I was only a short time ago that had dreams of changing the world, one day, one person at a time. My dreams had nothing to do with chasing dollar bills, but the reality is money is a necessity not a want. After college my focus was no longer on sharing the beautiful world that existed in my brain and making it a brighter, sunnier place but instead in I decided to refocus that energy on my bank account. And years later here I am, sitting in a board room learning how to sell products I don't really care about, using not one of my natural talents and ability, and a bank account with a cloud so huge over it that I had to get a part-time job so now I work 7 days a week and at the end of the month I still have nothing to show for it. I feel as if I'm committing some sort of sin living my life this way and maybe I am. Maybe there is nothing wrong with this job and the people that seem to love it. They have their reasons. They know their why. They have what I want...a sense of purpose so putting forth the effort to be successful despite the shortcomings of the company isn't asking a lot of them.

By the end of the presentation I feel enlightened. I know I made this career choice for the wrong reasons. But my dilemma is what do I do with this epiphany. I can't just quit and although I have tried for months, no meaningful community oriented company has wanted to give me the time of day and the talents I once had are slightly rusty because they only exist in the part of my brain that only works when I'm sleeping.

I let out a huge yawn because I didn't get home until 11:30 p.m. the night before and took three hours winding down and I forgot to eat dinner and breakfast so my stomach growles ferociously at me. I'm in serious need of a break because at this point I'm mentally exhausted from trying to think of ways I can fix my life and make it count for something. Somewhere in me is a woman that's got a lot to offer, but for the absurd reason of the pursuit of wealth I buried her and tucked her away because I didn't think she would fit in the very real world where you're quantified by the money you earn instead of the people you serve.

It's like ordering veal at a restaurant in an effort to appear refined when you would've been thrilled to have a fat juicy cheeseburger with pickles on the side. It might not be what everyone else is ordering, but it's what you want and need to be satisfied and if you've got any balls whatsoever you won't be afraid to raise the eyebrows of those around you and say, "you know what, I changed my mind. I want a cheeseburger."

So I'm ready to return my entree for something more simple and less refined. I'm ready to not hesitate to open my eyes the next time my alarm clock goes off at 6:45. The dilemma now is how?