Do What You Want. Life is Too Short…

It’s funny how things happen.

 

I’ve spent years dreading the age old question that I always seem to get during job interviews.

 

“What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?”

 

If you had asked me this question six months ago, I might have had to come up with some bullshit answer involving “furthering whatever career I chose to pursue.”  It feels like the kind of thing you say when you’re in your twenties and you haven’t made up your mind on how to take on the world.  It sounds like the type of thing that is uttered when your parents give you the third degree, claiming that it’s “for your own good.”  And maybe it is, but that doesn’t stop someone like me from wondering what’s wrong with me when I can’t come up with a legitimate answer in thirty seconds or less.

 

“Furthering whatever career I choose to pursue” is my fancy way of saying “I don’t know and I think this question is ridiculous.”

 

But maybe it isn’t.

 

From an employment perspective, if you’re the manager of a fucking 7-11 and you’re asking the average job applicant such a question, anticipate some hemming and hawing and maybe even a pair of rolled eyes.  You shouldn’t expect rocket scientists to work for you, and you’re not offering enough money for me to have to scratch my head before you set my ass behind a cash register or make me your fucking gas attendant.  Get the fuck over yourselves, seriously.

 

Fortunately, MOST  interviewers for these kinds of entry level jobs are not seeking deep answers from their minimum wage potentials.  They just fucking know better, and maybe they always did.

 

But unfortunately, others haven’t quite caught up with the notion that someone like me who hasn’t found a job worthy of the blood, sweat, money and tears that they poured into their higher level education may think the question is a farce coming from an employer nowadays.

 

My generation more or less grew up in the eighties.  It was a time when the nation was celebrating its opulence.  The young were expected to go to school, graduate, and be ready to take on the world with their fancy degrees and their ability to charm the hell out of even the harshest of critics.  Parents often scoffed at characters like Ferris Bueller, but they couldn’t help but admire his charm, his good looks, and his resourcefulness.  Even if he was cutting school, we loved him for it, and we knew in the end that he would do alright.  That’s an eighties movie for you, shoulder pads, flock of sea gulls, bad dates and all.

 

But we can’t forget what has happened with our nation’s economy, and we cannot forget that a large part of the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough jobs, but that the jobs that are available  just aren’t good enough for someone who is just starting out or, like me, has to start all over again.  Tough choices have to be made, and people have to start thinking about themselves again.  We like to think that the answer lays in communal involvement and in people “helping each other out.”  Maybe that’s a part of the solution, but it’s not the whole picture.   We live in a country that practically demands that people throw each other under the bus for the scraps off of some rich guy’s plate.  At a certain point, one has to become a selfish bastard or bitch.  One has to rise above what others THINK they should be doing with their lives and decide for themselves what makes them happy.  Let’s talk turkey, here.  Life is too bloody short to spend it in misery just trying to survive.  I know.  I’ve done that very thing for the last decade.

 

What if I was to look you straight in the eye and tell you that I don’t want the Goddamn scraps anymore?

 

Five years from now, I want to be able to look a child of mine in the eye and tell them that I am happy.  If I can do anything as a father, it is to pass along the value of true happiness.  I don’t give a shit about money because it doesn’t bring you happiness.  I want enough to live comfortably, and I want enough to be able to raise a kid or two without having to have them do without for LONG periods of time like I used to.  But above all, I want my kids to be able to hold their heads up high when they finally venture into the world on their own to do whatever it is they chose to do.  They’re going to need that inner strength and endurance.   Even if they LOVE whatever paths they choose, the journey will still be replete with the vicissitudes of living.  That cannot be avoided.  Why add to it, then, with the notion of regret?

 

I want to be able to write fictional books for a living.  Plain and simple.

 

Or is it?

 

Perhaps the question of what I want to be doing five years from now isn’t one that should be coming from an employer in this day and age.  If you’re an employer, you should KNOW how scarce jobs are.  If you can’t surmise that I need to work in order to put food on my table and to add to my sense of adult independence, then you’re either too naive or too ignorant to be my boss and I don’t really want to work for you.   I have no time for leaders who can’t accept the realities of this economy.

 

Then again, if the question has any real merit, it manifests when you ask it to yourself.  Ignore your family for that one moment.  Never mind what some schmuck in a suit and tie might want to hear.  Forget about the woman in the blue dress that scoffed when you told her you graduated with a degree in Psych, and then asked you what you were doing trying to work in retail.  Are you kidding?  Look around you, bitch!

 

Perhaps when you ask yourself the question, it doesn’t have to be about the future.  When enough people pay attention to where they are in the present, they will probably get the answers they need for what to do next.

 

“What’s the most enjoyable  thing you do with yourself when you’ve got all the time in the world and nobody else is really paying attention?”

 

My answer is I write.  Again, plain and simple.

 

Or is it?

 

In the context of where you are, the things that you enjoy the most may or may not be available to you at the times when you need them.  Maybe your attempts to lead a normal life have gone astray because you’ve allowed it.  You’ve’ given too much of yourself to the people with whom you are surrounded.  Maybe the question becomes “what do you yearn for most when you are stripped of your sanity and your means to acquire it?”

 

You can only lead a normal life when you surround yourself with normal people.  I myself am not living what most would call a normal life.  I’ve chosen to write either despite or because of that situation.  Either way, I pull no punches and I have a blast doing it.

 

 

What’s the most enjoyable  thing you do with yourself when you’ve got all the time in the world and nobody else is really paying attention?

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Do What You Want. Life is Too Short…”

  1. Forget the fact you’re my friend. You just damn good at this, Voodoo.

  2. “What’s the most enjoyable thing you do with yourself when you’ve got all the time in the world and nobody else is really paying attention?”

    I have to agree with you, writing. It is definitely the most enjoyable thing to do when you’ve got all the time in the world. Especially when the story writes itself. I love to immerse myself in my own little world. To just get away from the everyday grind. If only for a little while …

    One other thing I love to do … just ‘be’ with the people I love most <3. We don't have to have plans. Just go with the flow and enjoy one another's company.

    I totally agree with E … You ARE damn good at this 😉 Great blog post bestie! LYF <3!

  3. Thanks you for the blog. I was raised two decades before you were and didn’t realize we had gone without until I was an adult and reflected back on my childhood. I guess my parents were very clever, and very wise.
    As for answering your question, I love to make things grow, spend time with dogs and learn about topics I’m passionate about. It took me until the age of 49 to change my life and peruse these and now, four years later, I hold three part time jobs. One is in a garden department, the other helping dog and cat owners have healthier pets and happier lives, both these pay what retail can. The last job I’ve had for ten years, running a dog breed rescue, a 501c3 and it pays nothing in the way of money, in fact costs me some out of pocket. But of all the three jobs, it pays emotionally and gives me a wonderful sense of fulfillment.

    As if those should be enough, I love to express myself and eight months ago I started witting.
    The writer in me would answer your first question this way:
    “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

    I make a show of getting comfortable in the seat, lean in to my potential employer, and clearly whisper, “I see myself owning your ass in five years.”

    • Parents can be very clever when it comes to those things, or they can be very proud. At some point, my parents became very proud, especially my father. He wore our poverty for a number of years as though it were a badge of honor. Sometimes he still talks about it that way. Sometimes, it was fine. Other times, we really did without. We made it though, and I hope to raise my kids with enough sense to know how to make it through thin times.

      I loved the way the writer in you answered my question. I already knew about the other things because I got the pleasure of getting to know you in my brief stint at FM. But I often think something similar when I asked that question by a potential employer.

      “I see you outliving your usefulness to me.”

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