Opinion

9 to 5 Rat Race

By FRANK PELLINO

Guest Writer

The United States of America: where capitalism and consumerism reign supreme in our collective culture. Those themes are older than the Constitution and even the men who signed it, so what has it done to our country as a whole?

 

Well, speaking Frankly, it’s helped make America a global economic power. It’s even helped other countries grow and advance. It has been extremely beneficial to not just our country, but to the rest of the developing world as well. It has also turned our lives into a game.

It’s no secret – we all need money. Beyond satisfying our basic needs, we use this money to consume anything and everything. The need to gain money to get more “things” has turned us all into players in a game. Most of us end up trading our time for money. We do this in accordance to the rules of this game that we all unknowingly agree to play. We buy into the idea that we should just shoot for a good full-time job.

We have all agreed that working full-time is a 40- hour work week. Our days end, or should I say start, at 5 p.m. We play this game and we are rewarded with money, but as we have seen time and time again, money can’t buy happiness. At some point in history we got side tracked. We got stuck in these cubicles and behind these desks at companies doing jobs we don’t like. We are trading happiness and time for money in order to consume more materials in the hope that it fills the void of happiness. We are left to pursue our passions on the two days that we allow ourselves o on the weekend. To quote an anonymous professor from FDU, “You can chase your dreams on the weekends.” That’s a pretty depressing way to look at life, no?

Our culture puts the most emphasis on what we do for a living. We define ourselves, who we are, even social status, based on our occupation. We should be chasing our passion, not working to fulfill someone else’s. Our work lives, for the most part, are secondary to our personal life. But we spend the majority of our time working. And for what? To get those shoes we didn’t have last week, or to get the newest fashion trend that’s going to go out of style anyway, or to buy a bigger apartment to have more space for more “things” that don’t add any real value to our lives. Money becomes the most important thing to us, whether we want to admit it or not.

 

To quote the great Alan Watts, “If money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid,” he said.

We need to do what we love. That’s what life is about. For some it’s being a teacher. For others, it’s being a mechanic or a doctor. Some of us love to play video games. If what you love just happens to be a 9a.m. to 5p.m. job, then so be it. No matter what your passion is, just don’t allow yourself to be trapped in the rat race. We’ve been brought up with this “just find a good job” mentality. There is no shame in having any job, no matter what it is, but know what the cost is. Break the mold! Don’t be another cog in the lifeless corporate machine! Find your passion and let it kill you!

Categories: Opinion