This past weekend, I saw a friend whose son was graduating from college. As we laughed about the empty nest he was about to experience our conversation circled back to our work and now the newly found job of his son. I asked him how his son was handling the transition from college life to the nine-to-five world of work. He said his son hated it. He then laughed and commented on how his son is now a younger version of himself. How he dressed and had to get up every day and go to work. He then said something I’ll probably never forget. He said, “Yeah, he’s just not ready to “commit to the cubicle”. What!?! His son is a gifted athlete and snowboarder. I mean practically an Olympic level instructor type. He spent every second of his free time on Mt. Baker between classes while at Western Washington University studying for his degree and has also appeared in a few snowboard promotional video commercials. So you can imagine my heart sinking when I heard his father say this. Especially with me on the heels of finishing my soon to be published book “The Art of Working for Yourself”.
All I could imagine was a scene from National Geographic in my head as they chased down this young lion that was about to be tagged and released for observation. First, the lion struggles after it’s been hit by the tranquilizer dart. Then they pet him to keep him calm, so he won’t wake up and eat them alive as they slip the transmitter collar around his little neck. Before the lion realizes what hit him, he wakes up and realizes that he’s got this thing now wrapped around his neck. I know this is a bit dramatic, but I had to ask myself the question… “Did this happen to me? Did I get tagged and “commit to the cubicle?” When did I give in and what type of tranquilizer dart did they use on me?
Knowing what I know now, I think back to when I was younger and wiser and believed I could do anything. I couldn’t quite remember how I fell for the Jedi mind trick and committed to the cubicle. I’m sure it happened slowly at the guidance of our beloved media, teachers, friends and family; somehow I was trained away from my true essence. As for my friend’s son, my lament for him is that most of us who “commit to the cubical” never leave it and we will begin to look at the cubicle as the best thing we will ever accomplish. Our wants and desires will take a back seat to day to day existence. Sure there will be promotions and awards that reinforce our role as the cog in the wheel. But, I wonder whose greater good this is serving? Does committing to the cubicle mean we are not working for ourselves?
I believe the way we live and work is about to undergo a radical shift and it will be those who can’t and won’t commit to the cubicle who will show us the way. They will live and work in a way that is more fulfilling to who they are and how they live (even when they work for someone else). I’ll leave you to answer this for yourself. Can you “commit to the cubicle” and still embrace the “Art of Working for Yourself”? If so, how do you do it? If not, then why not?
Read Gerald’s blog @ The Twelfth Power