A quick article on day jobs that I think relates a fine mindset.
In Hinduism (and in a way Buddhism) there is the concept of "Samsara". Samsara is the endless cycle of birth, death, rebirth/reincarnation and so on. I once heard it described in a lecture as a fire that keeps getting passed from one leaf of grass to another. The Lofty Goal is to escape it and reach Nirvana. And yeah my Hindu/Buddhist idealogy is not so strong so forgive my over-simplified and perhaps imperfect take.
But anyway... You have this slow, inescapable cycle that keeps feeding itself and as a result you can't get out of it, like a riptide or a whirlpool. Now for use Jeudeo-Christian types, there is an end: you die. Game over, you won or you lost. But if you don't believe that there is an end, there really isn't a cash out when you kick the bucket, thus you just keep going. That kind of sucks. So the goal is to get yourself out of that cycle. Remove yourself from the circle. Unplugging from this rolling life is the goal. If you're stuck in a riptide what you want to do is stand up and get out of it.
8 working days ago I was told I have 10 working days left at the current job (I got 2 weeks notice). Usually that would be a sad, scary thing and to a certain degree it is-- change is never pleasent. But really I'm not that scared of being unemployed I've already gotten job offers (I'm stupidly employable). But I am apprehensive because I feel like I'm going to be rolling right into just another job. We take these jobs to keep our head above water and pay for our lives. That's all good. But I'm not out to achieve anything at them or have a family to feed.
So getting a job and doing it well pays the bills and moves it all forward. But to where? It makes me more employable to the next job that will let me pay the bills and get more employable for the next job... Today it just seemed like a rolling, self-perpetuating cycle. Corporate samsara.
Again I don't know enough about Hinduism or Buddhism. To be fair I've been trying to get a hold on Buddhism, listening to some lectures, reading some books, but there really isn't a solid idea to cling to (mark a of an effective religion perhaps). But my vain attempts do lead me to believe that all those meditation practices and the sects that don't harm other creatures are all about trying to remove yourself from samsara by ceasing to have an affect-- put out the fire by depriving it of oxygen and fuel. Okay, I can see that. On a big spiritual/life-philosophy level, though, it's the opposite of what I personally believe. Not that I think they're incorrect, just not where I fit into the universe. I believe that you should be engaged in the world. Be part of it. removing yourself from The Everything is like refusing to eat at a banquet in your honor-- it's an insult to your host and a horrible way to spend an evening.
But on a career/job/financial level, I was struck with the belief that samsara is something to be escaped. And now I fear that if I don't get on a path to corporate Nirvana I may never be abel to get out. But what is that path? I need to take some time and sit under the Blackberry tree in a LotusNotes position and contemplate this chanting "Hoooooommmmmmmmeee page".
About now my artist and filmschool friends are saying. "Did you give up on the dream? have you lost your soul?" I could debate "selling-out" for a while, but instead I'll ask: What was the dream? Those guys get up and go through a cycle of working this deal, trying to get that made, talking to this money-man, selling that project. While it may be great to be a rockstar or movie maker, they aren't in any better shape. They are working for the next project in self-perpetuating cycle. I guess the logic is that if you're going to be stuck in an inescapable, rolling burn, it's better to have it be fun, satisfying and something that will get you laid instead of a loathesome way to pass 40hours of your week that achieves nothing more than keeping the wolves at bay. But still is there more? Is there a Corporate Nirvana?
-Mark McBride, 2008