a personal essay by Chris Guzman
The state in which we find our generation in today is a very ambiguous one. We find ourselves between a rock and a hard place when all our lives we’ve been told to go to schools that are less than adequate and have been for quite some time. We eventually further our education that’s too expensive, to earn a degree that leaves you at a losing position with an insurmountable debt (at least, depending on the degree), and the jobs that pay less than adequate money to effectively live a stable lifestyle, which is the burden we are left with once we graduate from these institutions. My personal experiences are not unlike what I’ve described above, and because I know better, I choose not to follow in with the whole trap that society has blindly accepted as the be all end all to life’s problems. I myself at 27 years old have been through a roller coaster of job search, job landing, of all kinds, from the physical, laborious jobs like moving, and stocking, to clerical office jobs, like mail and file clerk positions. I haven’t been able to hold these jobs for very long due to my ever-curious nature together with gauging which jobs are better suited for me in the long run and a few not-so-nice personalities. My motto is, what’s the point of living life if you can’t experience all that it has to offer?
To me it’s very important that I not be tied down to one path because there is so much unexplored territory that we constantly miss because we as a society are too into our careers and too encumbered by the stresses of life. This goes for my work life but I realize that I carry it over into my general life, as a life philosophy. I feel that society, especially in this country sees your career and associates that with power. Power is thought to last forever when we fail to realize that this power has been given to us through people in higher positions than us, and powers above them, and that they can be revoked, at any time for no reason. We buy big houses, big cars, big screen TV’s, basically shit we don’t need to keep up with the Joneses to prove to others how good we’ve got it. Yeah we’ve got plenty to show for all of our hard work we did in life, but I guarantee you, it’s all because someone in a higher position than us decided to give it to us and just as fast as they gave us that $50k or $60k job, they can take it away. It’s the illusion of power.
As soon as we come down from the euphoria of the “American Dream” or the life we’ve always wanted which is usually by a firing or lay-off, what does all of your “hard work” mean then? Why is it that you get 20k less at the new job you find than what you were making at the job you were laid-off from? People play with your worth, your monetary value. These are things I think about when I philosophize about American life and what it means to me as a young adult in my generation. I’ve also developed this perspective when I changed jobs very frequently and realized the frail reality of what it means to have a position that someone gives you because you have credentials they find valuable at the moment. In the end, when we’ve lost what we’ve worked for, experiences are all we have. People commit suicides over these losses. To me that resembles how closely some people can identify with their belongings and lifestyle. Who gives our experience value? We do, but that doesn’t pay the bills to afford our most basic needs lest we go back to our hunter/gatherer roots.
Tyler Durden in Fight Club had a point when he said “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” To me, that quote rings very true in general and especially when it comes to what it means to work for a seemingly secure position that affords you privileges that can be revoked at any time for any reason. What I’m saying with all this is that we have to live in a more reasonable way that doesn’t involve so much pressure on our very existence. Why is it that other economies can thrive with less money, but less stress, low to non-existent suicide and murder rates, lower tuition rates and we can’t? Eventually I myself will come up with my own conclusions to my own questions but they should only be the foundations for newer questions, but that is what I find exciting about life.
There is always something we can learn about our environment and why we are here on earth to do so. This is what I think about as a man in my generation, and I feel like it gives a very accurate picture as to what I feel should be the very issues that should be talked about more in the general public.