I used to work with a guy that had everything on the surface, but absolutely nothing inside. The guy was 6 feet tall, good-looking, charismatic, multi-lingual, graduated from a top business school, and had made MD at a. Yet he couldn't remember the last time he had a conversation that didn't involve work because the last 20 years of his life had been a soulless and indiscernible continuum of "yes sir", number crunching, and small talk. He was definitely in a mid-life crisis, and it got to the point where I was telling him how to live his life despite being half his age . This man, my friends, was once a human being. What happened?
Here's what happens in non-transparent corporate environments. Everyone starts drinking the Kool-Aid and pretends that wherever they are is the best place in the world, even if all of the evidence proves otherwise. What follows is a slippery slope of sycophancy, buzzwords and pre-packaged opinions that produces employees so afraid of offending management that they stop expressing themselves completely. I get that having a cheerful disposition helps in life but what's scary is when the individual becomes a permanent "social chameleon" and forgets who they originally were. They spend too much time making a good impression and eventually became stuck in that impression.
Look, I'm not saying defy society and live in some tree-house taking sponge baths while "not caring what people think", because that's just bad advice. We all do what we have to do- I mopped floors in high school, I did so "just for the money", and there wasn't a whole lot of creative self-expression in that job.
I am, however, saying that the corporate environment can be an intensely dehumanizing process and if you're not careful you will slowly lose your personality. So leave the work at the office. Here are a couple of steps you can develop hobbies, regain your life, and become a human being again!
- Find a hobby - locate a space where your self-worth is disassociated with your social status. Find a space where people don't give a rat's ass about what you do for a living, place where people just don't give a ****. A place where social stratification does not exist, and where you can't use your job as a conversational crutch. I'm getting into bouldering (rope-less rock climbing) these days, as well as launching a blog on the side.
- Plan your weekends - As sad as it is, no one is entitled to a personality these days. You're going to have to work for it. Most people are still stuck in the Matrix thinking that working hard alone solves all of life's problems and that "things will just work out" if you put in your time at the office. Um, no. Plan an activity, invite some friends, and if everyone's "tired", make it happen anyways and find new friends there. Hold yourself to a higher standard.
- Find an outlet for ownership - Create something that's yours, something that you're proud of, something that allows you to feel like the boss, if even for an hour a day. You'll be surprised what you can do when there are no judges around. It could be a blog, a diary, a painting, a film. It just needs to be yours.
- Volunteer: Find a cause that you actually believe in. What pisses you off? What causes would you contribute to if you were a billionaire that didn't have to worry about money? Can you do that now? So why aren't you?
- Watch this video: This kid is half everyone's age, with twice the swagger. I could learn more from this kid than most of the "adults" I've worked for. Most guys I know can't hold a conversation with a girl without pregaming; watch what this kid is up to:
Have a good weekend guys.