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From Normal Job to Working for the Government

Given that I had master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, my first job was related. I worked as a computer analyst and the only thing that kept me there was the location. We had our offices within large textile factory where 90% of workers were young females. I hated my job, but I loved being surrounded by young girls at all times. We had some kind of arrangements with owners of the factory so we did all the electrical maintenance and repairs and since there was a lot of computerized machinery in use, things were often breaking down in which case we’d step in to make it work again. I didn’t mind fixing these machines since it involved talking to girls who were at a complete loss when these machines broke down since it kept happening often, they saw me as their savior. In spite of frequent interactions with young girls, I hated the job and was gone out of there after a year.

The artist in me eventually prevailed and I started playing with a video camera I had bough. I got so into videotaping, I started observing how pros do it and polished my own style. This has eventually lead me to my second job which I actually enjoyed to the fullest – I became a videographer. From the beginning I would do crappy video jobs including weddings and parties, but eventually stepped myself up to working on TV commercials and music video clips for bands. It was quite awesome, but I was still part of the corporate madness and felt something was missing in my life.

From videography there was only a small step towards photography. I still looked at the worked through the glass of a lens, I have only swapped moving pictures with stills. While the principal idea was the same, photography offered whole different fields to discover. I enjoyed it well enough to eventually take a big step in my life and start my own photography business (previous jobs all involved working for the man).

My photography business went all right from the beginning but times were getting tougher by the day. With introduction of digital cameras, people were able to print their own photos at home so photo development market dwindled. Furthermore, prices of quality cameras dropped to a level affordable by virtually anyone, so 90% of all people you meet on the street became your potential competition, since they all owned good enough equipment. Add to it the ever expanding big box stores with primary philosophy to eliminate small business owner and you have the situation in which it was rather impossible to remain afloat. I have abandoned the business and got employed once more.

This time I scored a job with the government. There are many things to like about working for the government – the pay is not much (unless you’re in top management), however government pays half of your medical and personal insurance installments and after you have worked for them for a year, you get your full dental paid for by them too. That’s a nice cut down on your expenses right there.

Another good thing about working for the government is that come 4pm, you get off and you’re heading home. I have not known this in any of my previous jobs. Ever since I started working for the government, I was basically done with work for the day at 4pm and had the rest of the day for myself. Not to mention that fact that I’d get whole weekends off – 2 consecutive days off work. Unheard of! But that’s not all – if it’s a long weekend, I get entire long weekend off. Wow! That’s right, working for the government has its perks. With most other jobs you get one day off a week. It matters little whether it’s long weekend or not, the employer will expect you at work. However when you get a job with the government, you’ll have yourself three days off in a row on a long weekend. Sweet.

After I have scored that government job, I felt like this was the terminal destination for me as far as jobs are involved. I was gonna sit quietly in my cubicle, perform my tasks to the best of my knowledge, write annual performance reports and do it over and over for many years until I retire. You always get paid when you work for the government and you always get paid on time. It bothered me not that the pay was nothing stellar. I had a steady and secure income with the job that left me enough spare time for myself. This job was a keeper and I intended to keep it.

Enter Corporate Lifestyle, Bring On the New Grumpy Me

As I gave it to the pressure from my family to quit being a wandering bum and get a job, I started to change. I did not realize that, as it was a slow-moving process, but gradually, bit by bit my mind was getting twisted by the corporate bs. I have fallen into the lifestyle of a working class slave who voluntarily participates in repetition of his day to day tasks. I did as I was told, I collected my wage, I paid my bills and repeated the cycle over and over again. Every now and again I would meet with my buddies over a beer, we’d have some laughs and do something cool, but overall I was a working class man who turned himself into a slave for the best part of the week so I could collect the pay at the end of the month and exchange it for things. The lifestyle of excitement has dwindled away, the lifestyle of collecting possessions took over.

Of course you don’t see it that way when you’re stuck inside that corporate cycle. I didn’t see it that way until a decade later, when I had a personal awakening and got a chance to look at my past 10 years from a distance. Deep inside I felt that something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t find a name for it and opted for denial instead. There were signs all around me, but I chose to ignore them. I know what kind of toll this lifestyle took on me. I was aware of that fact that I’m miserable and grumpy all the time and that I treat everyone like crap, even though I never used to be that way. I didn’t know why I started acting that way, but instead of looking for answers, I blamed everyone else. It was all their fault, everybody is in my way, everybody wants to take advantage of me, everybody is there to piss me off. That’s who you turn into if you take away excitement from your life and focus on a lifestyle based on possessions. Corporate madness will change you so you won’t even recognize yourself.

The further ahead you get, the more possessions you accumulate, the more you get yourself locked in place and dependent on possessions you bought. If you finance a car, you have years of payment ahead of yourself you can’t escape. If you take a mortgage to buy a house, you will sentence yourself to living in this town for a minimum of next few decades carrying the burden of debt. But the worst thing is – corporate lifestyle will wash you up so badly, you will believe in it. You will believe in the system and will see acquisition of each new possession as a step forward in your life. This gradual downturn will continue for as long as you see the light at the end of tunnel – retirement.

You will voluntarily allow yourself to become a corporate slave because of the vision that one day when you’re 60 or so, you will be able to reap benefits of your whole life’s hard work. You will see yourself with mortgage paid off, owning your cozy house with a nice car in a garage and grandchildren outside playing with your cat. You see this distant picture and it’s good enough to keep yourself voluntarily enslaved. The enslavement makes you grumpy and miserable, but you see possessions accumulating and you see the retirement coming closer, so you don’t give up.

I was exactly the same way and when I saw one of my colleagues retire, I thought she lead the perfect life.

From Fun Times in the University to Living for Work

I was brought up the wrong way. As I was growing up I was being repeatedly told that one has to work hard to make money and that I will end up living a miserable life if I don’t. Many a time I would achieve results by working smart, instead of hard, but in each such case I was immediately put in place and had my self confidence destroyed. In a long run, this treatment has taken its toll.

When I started the university, I sliced myself away from my parents which allowed me to think for myself and do what’s right for me. It was during my university years when I traveled a lot, it was those years I still consider the best years of my life. Many of my peers couldn’t wait to finish high school so they can go to work and start making money. Money for them was the means to obtain items they all dreamed about – such as their own car. While that was a tempting scenario, I saw job as something that ends one’s youth and with it everything that’s fun in life. You get stuck in a 9 to 5 corporate lifestyle, you come home from work, read the paper while you’re munching on a giant slice of bacon, then turn on the TV to watch stupid soap operas with your feet up on a sofa, and go to bed to do the same thing over the following day.

I saw university as extension of youth. Sure, I would not be able to drive around in my own car, but I would not get stuck in the corporate lifestyle which once you start, typically lasts until retirement. Those extra years of not being able to buy anything cause I wouldn’t be making money was worth it, because it meant that I would be able to do things I care about, things that bring excitement into my life, things that impart new vigor to the mind. Life was good. I hitch-hiked through most of Europe, met amazing people, took part in monumental activities and it lasted until I got my university degree five years later.

End of university marked return to parents house. I didn’t stay long cause it was killing me to have to stay with my folks whose frame of mind was somewhere back in the industrial revolution. I escaped this torture quickly, but as much as I wanted to continue traveling, I was instantly told to look for a job and reminded how badly I was gonna end up if I neglect it. My mind gave in, I applied, attended an interview, got hired and the nightmare of corporate lifestyle become my life.

Important Quote That Makes Life Exciting

During the best years of my life, when I spent my time traveling and every day was exciting, I used to use this Wise Man’s Quote very often:

“The feeling I experience when I resist temptation is really nice. But the feeling I experience when I yield to it is hundred times nicer.”

It is a variation of a famous quote which says that “I would rather regret things I have done than the things I have not“. Granted, I have modified the quote to make it more usable on girls. I was young and felt attracted to girls the same way any other teenage boy is. And even though I primarily used the quote as unfailing pick up line to help me score with a girl, the quote worked in my every day life as well. For as long as I kept repeating it to myself, my life was exciting and I enjoyed every minute of it.

As I have dwindled from travelling and living an exciting life into getting a job and living a mundane life aimed at collecting possessions, I have forgotten all about the quote. As a matter of fact, even though I used to live by this quote every day, after I had switched my life around and started living the corporate lifestyle, I had not thought of it once in almost a decade.

It was not until I awakened, pulled a plug and realized I have been living in a dark for almost 10 years that the quote jumped back at me. It pushed the tears into my eyes. I did have encounters with girls during my dark days, but never once has this quote popped back into my mind. Corporate lifestyle blinded me to a point that my mind did not see what was happening around me. The moment this quote came back to me was the moment I realized that this new path I am choosing is the right path.

There’s a lot of uncertainty accompanying any major lifestyle decision, especially if it involves an extremely brave step of quitting a job in which you are well established. Not many people find this type of courage as it entails losing everything you have worked for during long years of employment. What comes after it is unclear and can go either way, but it takes brave steps to achieve big things in life and I’ve had enough mediocrity in my life for 10 years.

So here I come again. I may regret this major change in my life and the fact that I am leaving everything I have worked for behind in order to step into the unknown and travel the world, but I’d rather regret what I have done, than what I could have done but didn’t.

Free to Travel

I used to travel a lot when I was in the university. Each summer I would hit the road with my thumb pointing up and would hitch-hike across Europe. I had no money back then. I just packed up my books and a few essential items and would throw myself on the nearest highway to go… somewhere. Those were the best days of my life. You get to meet so many other travelers – people from all over the world, who like you are wandering around with an open mind and an unceasing desire to explore other countries and experience different cultures for what they really are.

There’s a great deal of respect among travelers. It’s the parallel world where possessions mean very little and sharing is part of life. It’s because your everyday essentials consist of things that are above material possessions – it’s the air, it’s your dreams, it’s the sky above your head as you take rest in soft grass. Traveling enhances your spirit, it opens up your mind to be more receptive towards the others. It teaches you to see things differently for when you go hand in hand with nature, you set yourself free from the confinement of your own ego.

I know I have already said it, but let me say it again – those were the best years of my life. I was happy, every day was exciting. I had stories to tell and these stick with me to this day. I was doing things I enjoyed and cared about. My life was making sense to me and I felt I would never want to swap with anyone. I started with this lifestyle in my late teens and lived that way until my mid twenties.

But then something happened and I turned my life around. Something got to me and I have come to conclusion that I had wasted enough of my time wandering the world like a bum, that I should settle, get myself a job and start building something around me, something material so I can touch it and feel like I own something. Now that I look back at this almost decade long period of my life, I know that this was the darkest time of my journey on Earth. I try to think of it as a time I needed to go through in order to fully realize how important every second of your life is and how every second you don’t do something that excites or uplifts you is a second wasted and it can never be recovered.