Thursday, June 1, 2017

From My Rogue Mile, Which is Coming Later This Year: "Success"

Note: My Rogue Mile is a collection of thoughts and meditations I posted to Google Plus when I was active there. I'm editing the collection and will release it later this year.



THE CORPORATE, industrial definition of success has always been dodgy to me. What does it mean to "climb the ladder of success"? So your cubicle is a little larger than your neighbor's, or you work in a corner office with a window, or you get to park on the "A" level with the executives, or you can marry that blonde-haired trophy. Who the hell cares?

A suburban existence is a meaningless one. "Success" more than not means, literally, selling your soul.

No thanks. I'll pass.

I remember interviewing for a job at a Greeley, Colorado, high school. The principal, a vile, self-absorbed drunk named John Christensen, sat both me and another candidate down and threw idiotic questions at us: "Are you a people person?" "Where do you envision yourself in five years?" "What are your goals this year?" "Do you have a mission statement? Why not?" "Who's your hero?" "What's your action plan to implement the kind of life you want to live?" and so on.

His last question was the most troublesome. He asked both of us if we were married and had homes with mortgages. I don't recall what the other guy said, but I shook my head. Christensen gave me his famous evil eye. (Which, in his case, truly was evil: he was known for all sorts of nastiness, including interacting with students while drunk, firing female teachers for refusing to sleep with him, blatant racism in a school that was over sixty percent Hispanic, and refusing to clear the school during a bomb threat because he was afraid of how it would look to the media.)

He said, "I'm not interested in you. I'm interested only in men who are snagged, who are caught, who have no choice but to work their asses off because they have a mortgage and a wife and kids. Those types of guys will do anything for their bosses, no matter what. They don't want to lose their jobs."

I very clearly remember thinking: There it is: the real definition of success according to corporations and suburbans: being caught in the great bear trap of modern-day life, and as a result having no choice but to sell one's soul.

Good ol' John Christensen. He was nominated National Principal of the Year that year. Wonderful.


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