Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Simply The End (Of Many Things)

What a difference a year makes. I've realized in this short period of time that there's truly nothing, and I mean nothing, that compares to being out in the urban jungle, earning your keep. I've grown up more than I care to admit during these last few months, and with my rapidly maturing mind, I've begun to see things clearer and clearer, which leads me to a few hypotheses of why this world, (or at the very least, Philippine society) is so messed up.

So here now are a few observations from my admittedly limited glimpse into the big picture that is life.
All of them, like the title suggests, constitutes the end of something you once thought you knew:

- You will be constantly surrounded by idiots

When you're in school (especially in a private institution), the people around you are more or less from the same socio-economic class. That means, you are often in the company of people with similar tastes, interests, hobbies, sense of humor, fashion sense, etc. 

Now of course, this is an oversimplification, but you get the general idea. During your duration in school, you are in a secure environment when it's quite easy (even enjoyable) to simply ignore and ostracize the people you don't like.

In the real world, the diversity is often way, way more extreme. Whereas before you could simply smirk at the weirdos in your class and not give them any further thought, at a professional working environment, it is next to impossible to do so. This is especially frustrating when the biggest idiot in your workplace happens to be your superior, despite their intelligence level suggesting otherwise. 

This on the other hand, would be awesome. Penguin boss? Sign me up!

But it does not stop there. Even when you leave the office, foolishness is present everywhere! If you are a commuter, you will be restraining yourself with all your might not to lash out at the idiot who can't read the signs at the train station. Or the buffoon that seems incapable of lining up properly at the terminal. I can go on and on, but that will totally screw up this post.

Bottom line: This is the end of your cozy life at a sheltered school environment.

- You will run out of money. Fast.

With the pressure of work comes the natural tendency to indulge. We are hard-wired to reward ourselves for our efforts, and our new-found purchasing power is often as dangerous as a 13 year old behind the wheel for the first time. We are so excited and eager to go out and flex our status as a functioning member of society. But who can blame us? After taking money from our parents for most of our lives, it is certainly liberating to enjoy our hard work materialize as well, material things. 

That is, until you realize you're not gonna make it until the next day. If you're familiar with that feeling, then you know you're gonna have a bad time. Cue budget meals and cheap biscuits! You are now entering the zone of an undesired diet!

Pre, pa amoy na lang ng ulam mo. Penge na din ng sabaw.

For most of the people my age, this is an all-too common phenomenon. Thankfully, I've been raised the semi-Chinese way, and that entails making damn sure I regulate my meager allowance. I couldn't just ask for party money from my parents. If what I was getting wasn't enough, it was my job to make sure it is. I used to hate it, but I realize it's an important part of knowing the value of money. My spending habits are thankfully, for the most part, under control. Just don't take me to the mall on a payday when there's a sale.

Bottom line: Here ends your foolish assumptions that your parents are simply cheapskates.

-You do not have the right to be an irresponsible jackass.

You know how when you were little, and you thought that most adults were boring? All they did was work and do groceries and fix the budget and do other mind numbingly-boring stuff? Well guess what, you're not too far from that! As a yuppie, sure, you have the energy and freedom to still maintain a somewhat normal social life. But if you're someone who truly values their career, chances are your work will constantly be eating larger and larger amounts of your time. 

A typical highlight of the week: "I saved 500 bucks on the groceries!" Yay!

Now I can't speak for myself, since I have a lousy job that I know won't take me places. But I'm speaking of the general state of things here. For example: If you want to get drunk on a Tuesday night, go ahead. However, you are still expected to show up to work the next day. Or if you don't feel like going to work, then be prepared to have more work waiting for you the next day. Oh and just to make things more fun, if you do not call in and have it considered as a leave, say goodbye to the money you could've earned if you weren't such a lazy bum.

Bottomline: There's a reason grown-ass men love to sing about living "young, and wild, and free."
-You will realize how completely immature and naive you were just a year or two ago.

When you were in college, most of you probably thought you got your whole life just planned out and gift-wrapped for you. Or even if you didn't (which I was) you at least thought you knew the general direction you would undertake. But then life, being the sadistic kill-joy that it is, will all too often throw a curve ball on your smug, beaming face. See it all starts when you're not amongst the so-called achievers. You know that type. Those workaholic busy bees, who seem to get off on making their school life as not fun as can be. 

Be nice to him, he might be your boss some day.
In the real world, you will find out just how many people are competing for the few good jobs. Heck, unless you are an uber-talented savant in your profession, chances are, your company will be more than happy to chuck you out along with the trash. This ain't school, where you pay tuition to feel special. This is work, where you get paid to make your superiors (and the company) look special. Hurray to chasing your dreams. 

It's not that I don't believe in my abilities (and nor should you) but the fact of the matter is that statistic do not favor us. For every successful guy in a batch of graduates, there are at least 5 others who would wind up doing work that is not in their chosen field. Why? Because there is a saturation on nearly every conceivable modern industry. So they end up taking crappy jobs. Every year more and more kids graduate, but the old geezers at the retiring age don't follow the same expected path of progression. For every unsatisfied yuppie out there, there are plenty of desperate bums just waiting to take your place, all of whom are without your self-privileged desire to do better in an infinitely more rewarding workplace.

Bottomline: To shamelessly quote one of my favorite movies: "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile."

-You will realize that a re-assessment of priorities is in order. Or at least, that's the case for most disgruntled youngsters

Let's get things straight. If you know in your heart that the rat race is not for you from the start, then don't even bother joining. But what are you going to do, keep relying on your parents? Ewww, shame on you if you even considered that. How about a business? Seems like a great idea! Until you find out that most businesses close within a year. And that those that don't usually do the next year. So what's a guy stuck in a horrible situation to do? Well there's two things. Endure and find comfort in knowing you are, at the very least, not trading sex for a hot meal. Or, dare to be idealistic and confident in yourself and your capacity to rise above the stumbling blocks that life has placed your way. 

Time to re-assess your priorities people. I can't really blame those who are stuck with dead-end jobs for not venturing out of their cages. They may be imprisoned, but at least it's warm and guarantees meals. But like any prison, you will be figuratively butt-fucked when you least expect it.

Still better than a real prison, though. Trust me, you do not want this guy as your cell-mate.

Or you could attempt breaking out. But it's terrifying. It requires planning and a concerted effort; but remember, freedom isn't free. And if you are successful at breaking out, it will all have been worth it. I for one, choose the latter. I'm at a point in my life where I still believe in a world waiting for me, and I'll be damned if I allow myself into a life sentence of depression and unfulfillment just because I am afraid of starting over. 

Thing is, everyone tries to romaticize failure, saying it was a necessary step in their eventual success. Now that may be true, (e.g. Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Col. Sanders, etc.) but that doesn't mean it won't suck. It just means that all those suckiness you will inevitably endure just makes the payoff all the more sweeter. 

So the question now is: are you willing to reach unbefore experienced depths, all for the chance (no guarantees in life, sonny boy!) to be someone you've always wanted to be?

I know I am.

Bottomline: Another shameless quote, this time from Zombieland: It's time to nut up or shut up!

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