What’s your dream job?
The question everyone asks you ever since you were a kid. We are groomed in the mentality that getting a job = success, but that unfortunately is not always the right way to see things.
The American Dream for most people used to be get a good paying job. Work from 9am-5pm, and then going home to enjoy time with the family. That’s not a bad life for most people.
The issue is as time has progressed, the American Dream has become further and further out of reach for people. We can attribute a lot of this to how job wage growth has not kept up as well with inflation and the mentality that higher education is “needed” to build a career. So, let us introduce you to what we like to call the “corporate slavery cult” and how it keeps you sucked in at your job even if you don’t want to be there.
So how does the cycle go?
Companies are looking to draw talent into their pipeline for the lowest cost while maintaining great profitability for their shareholders/owners. They start with the “coveted” internships that they make students fight over to get. Once a company gets the intern pipeline, they start getting you to drink the koolaid through team building exercises and random goodies here and there. You begin to feel like a valued member and the company you work for has your best interests at heart.
2. Getting commitment
The company will offer you a contract which is what they tell you is their way of committing to you. You look over it and think it’s a good deal so you sign on the dotted line. Now, the company has you locked in and they hold the cards.
3. Dangling the carrot and moving the goalpost
If this is your first job, you can’t quit early on or it will look bad and companies know this. So, they can either treat you like a warm body and work you to the bone (looking at you investment banks), or they can continue the honeymoon period for a while longer. This is when you can get the sense of the companies true motivations and their work culture. The worst companies are those that give you goals and offer incentives, but as you get close, they move the goal further out for you to work harder. Most people aren’t able to see this abusive relationship and slum it out to get the stable paycheck which is what they probably saw their parents do.
P.S. If you’re smart, leave asap and don’t look back because once you are brainwashed, there is no turning back.
4. Keeping you hooked
The average person spends about 90,000 hours at work… Let that sink in.
Companies are there when you get married, have kids, buy a home, etc. You are most likely working during all these major life changes and these changes all have huge financial implications. Companies know this and as your life gets more complicated, companies know you have more to loose and stability is more valuable. As a result, those promotions become harder to get, your raises don’t happen as frequently – all because companies know they have the leverage with your paycheck.
5. Inspiring future generations
Most people have kids and kids grow up looking up to their parents. They see you working hard to provide for them and see success as getting a good job as well down the line.
And, before you know it, the next generation of corporate slaves begin entering the work force.
So what can you do about it?
Figure out if the corporate life is truly for you. Many people see success as what others think of them and being able to rise the ranks and make boatloads of money. But, corporate America isn’t what it was decades ago. Competition is fierce and workers are getting screwed over more and more for the bottom line.
The key is figuring out what you like early on. As we explained, doing something you don’t truly enjoy gets harder and harder to leave as time goes on because we are only human and dislike change. If corporate life isn’t for you, figure out something else that makes you tick, or you have 90,000 hours of “fun” in the years ahead.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”Maya Angelou