Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Day I Tried To Win

I Wallowed in the Blood and Mud with All the Other Pigs

A little about the person behind Mulch. I have a major phobia of spiders, hieghts, and airplanes, but I am addicted to roller coasters (however, ferris wheels make me cry like a 7 year old girl with a skinned knee). I am not the best speeler, and I routinely disregard proper grammer. I am also mostly an introvert, and on Meyers Briggs I am either INTP or INTJ, depending on the test.

I went to a Catholic Grammer School. I started High School in all AP classes, and ended up going to a continuation school where I completed my High School Proficiency, allowing me to start community college at 17. I did a few years of community college, but never graduated.

I tend to learn exactly what it is I need to know, so getting credits in things that were irrelevant to my mission I saw as a waste. I could have been considered, in a very odd way, an overachiever in those days.

I also suffer from ADD and medicate myself with marijuana. My house is a total confusion, cluttered, and apparently unorganized, but to me, it is a ton of open and unfinished projects.

(someone one told me a story. He said, "If you are going to promote someone to management, go to their garage. If their are outlines for the tools on the wall, and all tools neatly in place, hire them, for management. If they have tools everywhere, uncompleted projects all over, don't even hire him, he will just go work for himself." )

I interned at a local TV news station doing camera for the morning break ins and writing copy for broadcast. I eventually worked and rose to management positions in a fast food corporation, an entertainment corporation for about 3 years, and as a promotion coordinater for a radio station for about 3 years.

I always left on good terms with an all important eligible for rehire, but my experience in the corporate world really challenged my perceptions. I was blunt, and I didn't kiss ass, which made me someone with no upward mobility (it's not what you know, it is who you know). Corporations want yes men in the upper tier, not individuals who try to make those above aware of the ramifications of their decisions.

Don't get me wrong, I am a team player, but I also don't stand idly by when someone on my team with the ball is going in the wrong direction.

So for the last 3 years I have owned an internet "boutique niche" business and have done internet marketing on the side. We don't have steady business, but when we do, there is a nice profit. At various times of the year, I may be rolling in money, or flat broke and in debt.

I am no accountant, and I don't manage my money well.

SO I take other odd jobs. A headhunter tracked me down to scout me for a marketing position with a corporation affiliated with Disney, but the travel, the non consecutive days off, and the disconnect between people and the corporation turned me off and I declined the second interview. But I have been a waiter at a nightclub, a cameraman for a horse show, audio for a cinimatographers film festival, and other similar ways to boost my wallet.

This year my multi media knowledge paid off and I have been doing well making money off the corporations I despise as an independant contractor. If you saw the equipment and labor costs these corporations gladly pay, just to, in some cases party, it would make you sick.

For instance, one job I did had Elton Job play a private party (with his full entourage and band) for Wells Fargo. This show was one of the largest and most ridiculous set ups I have seen, and the most that I worked. Everyone I know in the area worked that multi million dollar show as well as layer upon layer of subcontracting, for a party of 3,000 or less invited guests(who didnt even know they were seeing Elton John until he took the stage).

So, as you can tell, without getting into my political and ecological objections to major corporations, I hate corporations.

You're Not Your Khakis

Now the season here is over for these conventions. My boutique is on slow season. I could travel 2 hours to work in my field, but being happy at home is a primary reason I work. I am in debt, but not that bad when a good week comes through. But I am at the point where I am contemplating finding some new work for off season.

I am 31, I have no health insurance, and I havent had the luxury of a regular, dependable paycheck for over 4 years. Through that, I have been able to for the most part, live alone in a 3 bedroom rental home. I also don't have health insurance, havent been to the dentist in like 5 years (or longer), the doctor in prolly the same time. I am healthy, but the possibility of my house of cards colapsiong in the event of an illness is ominous.

I have no savings or 401k for retirement. I don't manage money well. And I am imagining the prospect of of getting a regular job at a corporation for the steady income, the benefits, the peace of mind that the bills will be paid on time and I can have a bit more of a social life.

And a quote that struck me from an Kevin Spacey movie, "Swimming With Sharks" stuck with me. "If you don't turn rebel by 20 you got no heart. If you don't conform by 30 you got no brain." (btw, its kinda an unknown and very devious movie, that is often labeled comedy. I only found the ending funny, the rest of the movie is absurd, disturbing, and in some ways blistering in its satire, but certainly worth seeing and Spacey is at his finest)

But then I remember the butting heads, the ass kissing required, the chain of command and egos that live to demean others, the office politics, the two faced manipulation, and I dread the prospect of wallowing in the blood and mud with all the other pigs.

Is this an issue of pride that I need to swallow to improve my status?

For the record, I am pretty simple. I don't life a luxury lifestyle, and don't spend money on extravegant things. I don't believe in the persuit of money because the goal will never be reached no matter how much you earn.

But when I owe people money, or are in endager of not paying one of my bills, it starts getting to me and the prospect of steady pay is temepting, but the frustration, anger, humiliation, and resentment at the corporate hierachy system slaps me back in place. I remember bringing my misery home with me in the corporate world.

I see the stories of people who work 20+ years for a company, get canned, and lose their retirement, so it really makes me uncomfortable to consider it as reality once again.

A few months ago, my oldest freind of over 25 years and I had a conversation (or a bender, depending on how you view such blurry evenings).

I used to do theater, and I played with many bands, mostly ones with my friend and others. He is somewhat on the brink of mainstream commercial success atm in his musical project, but he can't get over a few obsticles in the corporate world.

(there are complex reason why I stopped acting, why I stopped playing music, and why I lost my ability to lower my gaurd to the people I love, but it is terribly personal and at the moment, I am not ready to share. ).

But anyway, my friend and I were medicating on ganja, drinking some beers, and doing some lines of coke reminising about the years behind (i have done coke less then 10 times in my life, and I fully do not endorse its usage by anyone ever. I was weak, but not something I do or have done very often at all).

He bluntly said, "If we ran into the adult us when we were teenagers, we would have either kicked our asses or mocked us because we never became the success everyone around us told us since grade 1" (from relatives, teachers, principles, counselers, other kids parents, the works. )

and he was right (and saying it to himself, as well as to me)

And I question the nature of success. I am generally happy unless I owe someone money or someone hurts me. To be happy seems to be my goal in life now, which is quite the change from the grand ambition of y unjaded youth when I was sure I was going to leave my mark on the world.

Eating the Red Pill

I am 31, and perhaps having a midlife crisis. I never married or had kids (nor wanted to go that route thus far), but have loved some wonderful women along the way (and a couple nasty ones). I also, due to my training in psychology and hypnosis, study and knowledge of the different levels of reality in this world of public relations and marketing and propoganda, see many levels that most people miss.

I see the illusions that are crafted to help "guide" people into happy lives mostly to support the sale of a product, service or idea, that creates unattainable expectations from those who munch the blue pill.

Still, I am restless and not content. Perhaps it is my own mortality (and vulnerability) that is creeping in (as beautifully stated in Harry Chapins masterpiece "There Only Was One Choice" from the brilliant and ominously foreshadwing album "Dance Band on the Titanic.")

Somewhere I became jaded with life, and although I am basically happy just living happily day to day, I wonder what it is I am supposed to do here. I pray to God to help guide me, and I have faith he will. But I feel like I am waiting for a late ship to come in, and wonder if I missed the boat, or perhaps I should be taking an airplane... but I have a fear of flying...



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