Our world is so full of followers; not many people with original thought. In the US, we have been divided because we have been taught that we must win… and someone must lose. Let’s start with the “American Dream.” The “American Dream” became the goal that everyone was supposed to strive towards; the unit in which we were to measure success. The collective dream that no matter what your circumstance, was supposed to make happen or you would be labeled as an underachiever or worst, an abuser of the system. But to achieve this dream, everyone should have been afforded the same opportunities so that the dream is attainable for all with effort. Our system is broken and in turn, the American dream cannot come true for majority of the dreamer of the world.
Just today, I had my mid-year review with my manager. The review is in place to monitor your progress towards successfully completing or contributing to goals set for the department and organization. Yes, there are personal goals to obtain but the main focus is to ensure that I am doing my part for the Organization’s “dream.” Not by surprise, I am told that I should obtain my goals as well as exceed them in order to set myself apart from others on my team. This is not for personal growth but simply because at year-end, I will be rated against my peers. My manager wants me to work harder than required so that I may maintain their standard of practice. We are no longer required to perform our jobs to the best of our ability (not sure if that was ever a thing) but we are required to perform our jobs above our ability as well as complete tasks unrelated to our job. It makes me sick that I have to put myself in uncomfortable scenarios or step outside of myself before I am ready, so to appear to be a contributing member of the team. But this is the way of Corporate America. My most favorite Bollywood movie, Three Idiots, showcases a very similar theme where Engineer University students work themselves to death for a great grade so not to bring shame to their family and in hopes of finding an ambitious position. We are all forced to work ourselves into depression, exhaustion, and even death, in order to maintain acceptance. No one wants to be the black sheep in the world, So what happens? We reach for the stars without the staircase below our feet; we hit the glass ceiling again and again, hoping that we will break through at last. We neglect our families for the wealth of others; we neglect ourselves by not taking the personal time we need and deserve to clear our minds. We don’t stop ourselves from working to the bone and there is no one there who will stop us from doing the work of others. I pride myself on my work. Not only because it makes me feel good but because I want my manager to praise me for a job well done. It is sickening to know that I yearn for the acceptance from my superiors and beat myself up when I make mistakes. I shouldn’t feel this way but society makes it so.
There is always two outcomes in one’s start. You are either a product of your environment, status quo or continuer of tradition. Or, You are an overcomer of the environment, an instrument of change. No matter where you come from, you are either asleep or you are awake. Sleeping prevents you from seeing the injustices of the world. It keeps one believing that the system, the way things are and have always been, is the way to continue, regardless of the negatives. Being awake allows you to see the change needed in the world and the impact your actions have in breaking down or continuing systematic injustices.
I am awake and I want to be the change that I want to see in the world (original quote by Gandhi)