Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Scaling the Wall.

Ok, today’s post is directed to one person in particular, but this post is about one of my many philosophies, so hopefully everyone can find it interesting. To that one person (and I’m sure you know who you are)…I hope this helps a little.

In my experience, there are two types of people in the world. There are risk takers and people who love the status quo.

The first type are the people who will pack up and move across the country in order to take a new job. The second type will turn down a job that pays three times as much, has better benefits and is a lot easier than their current job… because they’d have to move to take it.

The way I see it is that the ‘Status Quo’ group are suffering from a form of ‘Brain Crack’. They’ve convinced themselves that they actually like the crappy job they’re stuck in. That the 20 year old car they’re driving is perfect for them…and that life is a garden of roses.

It’s a lot easier to lie to yourself and convince yourself that you’re happy, when actually taking that risk to go on to something better scares the crap out of you.

I saw a lot of this at my last job. To be absolutely and completely fair, my last job was absolutely f**king terrible. It was extremely difficult, stressful and thankless work that paid less than minimum wage. I’d say 80% of the people who worked there absolutely hated it and didn’t mind admitting it. The other 20% were people for whom that job was literally their life. They couldn’t grasp why anyone wouldn’t love to work there.

These were the people who looked down on me for not working voluntary overtime on the weekend…and got even more aggravated when I pointed out I wasn’t willing to give up my entire weekend for roughly thirty bucks. They always talked about ‘going the extra mile’…but gave you absolutely no incentive or reason to do so.

Long story short, I could have made more money working full-time at McDonalds…and these people couldn’t understand why I wasn’t willing to work a 60 hour week (instead of my contracted 40) for no more money, and didn’t read five inch thick ‘procedure updates’ on my days off.

I actually took part in, and overheard even more, arguments between the two groups. Someone would complain about the low wages, terrible work or idiotic management… and a ‘lifer’ would actually get offended that someone was badmouthing the job. Didn’t they know how great the job security was? How they got more vacation time than a lot of other places?

“It’s a job for life!” Was the most common comeback. They couldn’t understand how anyone could see that as a bad thing. I didn’t care how secure my job was…I hated it. The fact I could keep doing something I hated ‘for life’ didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm.

When I left that job to move to the states, I actually saw a lot of resentment and got more than my fair share of snide comments from those people. Moving to America to marry someone he met on the internet, what an idiot! Who does he think he is? What’s so great about America?

It reminded me of a story told to me by a girl I worked with at another job. She opened a bar in Spain, lived over there, but would come home to England for a few months a year. She told me she got to the point where she just couldn’t stand to be around her English friends because they never changed or broke their routine. She said that one week she’d be in Spain, sunbathing on a speedboat with a glass of champagne in her hand…and the next she’d be at the same pub in England with the same people, doing the same things every time she came home…and every one of her friends telling her that they couldn’t understand why she bothered living in Spain for most of the year…when she had ‘everything she needed’ in England.

The world is very small to these people

At first, I didn’t understand it where all that resentment was coming from. The people I actually worked with and considered friends were actively happy for me. Why did the people I didn’t really mix with, along with my bosses, even care? We were over-staffed anyway and I doubt I’d be missed by them…considering I wasn’t a ‘team player’ (Read : Not a mindless slave who’ll do anything he’s asked, if it’s in his job description or not).

Later on, I understood where that resentment was coming from.

People like that, no matter what they say, actually hate their jobs, they’re not even happy with their lives in general. However, rather than face that and change their lives (which would require a risk), they’ve build themselves a nice comfortable nest made of self-serving lies. Sure, their job sucks, but it’s too late to do anything about it now. They never got the chance to go to college, and it’s way too late to go now. They could look for something better, but what if their new job is worse than this one?

What it comes down to is change absolutely terrifies these people. Taking a risk is absolutely unthinkable.

Pretty much everyone in that job was more than capable of finding something better. However, making that change would mean going out on a limb, removing that safety net and traveling off the edge of the map. They’re afraid to do that, so they make up reasons why change just isn’t possible…until they eventually get to the stage where they convince themselves they’re actually quite happy where they are.

Long story short, there might be somewhere better over that next hill, there probably is…but why take the risk? Where I live isn’t great, but it’s good enough! Hell, in fact, why do I even need those ‘bells and whistles’. Pah! Look at those idiots heading over the hill! There’s probably nothing there! These people don’t know a good thing when they see it!

That’s where the resentment came from.

There’s nothing more offensive to these people than when someone escapes. Seeing someone in your own position go on to something better tears through all those self-serving lies like a hammer through a wet paper bag.

It’s really hard to tell yourself that moving on is impossible when the guy at the next desk is doing just that.

It’s like being stuck in a prison cell, telling yourself you can’t escape…until the day someone checks the cell door and discovers it isn’t even locked.

The only defense left when someone forces you to really look at yourself is to ridicule that person for making a ‘big mistake’. Sure, the cell door’s open, but there’s probably an armed guard just around the corner. Even if there’s not, you have a roof over your head and a couple meals a day in the prison cell…who knows what’s actually out there? It might be better, but it could be much worse.

The situation you’re in might suck, but it’s comfortable and above all safe. Looking for something better requires taking a risk…and that’s something these people just aren’t willing to do.

Long story short, the ‘Status Quo’ people just can’t face the fact that you’ve got the balls to actually do what they’ve wanted to do for years…because it’s easier for them to convince themselves you’re the one making the mistake for going…rather than them making the mistake of staying.

So, the next time someone decided to rag on you and make your life difficult because you’ve got the guts to make a change…just remind yourself they’re acting that way because they’re jealous and afraid, and because you represent what they wish they could be.

The way I looked at it when I moved to America to get married, was that if it all went to hell in a handbasket, I could a least look back on it and know I tried.

For me, it’s far better to regret something you did, than regret something you didn’t do. I’d rather tell myself I tried and it didn’t work out, than spend the rest of my life wondering what could have happened if I’d had the balls to take that chance.

That’s the reason the ‘Status Quo’ type resent risk takers so much. We hold a mirror up to their lives…and they never like what they see.


Saffyre said...

You make a very interesting point....thanks Paul. I should find today a lot easier to cope with.

Of course it helps that in my mind i'm singing a song that consists entirely of the word "fuck off you stupid tossers"......lalalalala

OzzyC said...

I didn't figure this was specifically directed my way, but it certainly could apply

Marie said...

Im very HAPPY with my crappy apartment,deadend job, and mediocre education thank you! :) JK