Disappointment? Who Wouldn't Trade Places With Me?
Yesterday, someone called me a disappointment to my family because of my chosen profession. Am I a male prostitute? A porn star? Stripper? No, no, I manage a gym. And although no Jewish mother brags to her friends that her son shows people how to lift weights for a living, I have a job that I love going to every day. I work in a bright gym full of sunshine. I can write all day if I want to, as I look out on Biscayne Bay from my office. And if I get bored with writing, I go out and lift some weights. If I could get a tan while I was doing this I believe I would have the perfect job. And, thanks to some lucky breaks and my employers being very good to me, I am making the same if not more (at this point anyway) than I would if I had “used my degree,” as some accuse me of not doing.
Despite all of my complaining and hating on this blog, I actually enjoy my life a lot right now. I go out and drink more than I did in college, I have plenty of time to do the things I enjoy, and I am typically getting paid while I do them. I hardly ever have to sit in traffic; my commute is typically under 10 minutes. I get a 3-day weekend every other week. I have plenty of friends who at least pretend to enjoy my company, and I make new ones every day thanks to this blog. I am making enough money that I am able to do pretty much whatever I want and have enough left over to fix my car if it breaks down. I look good, I feel good, and even possible eviction and a ticket on the way to work don’t really bother me that much. I have two jobs, neither of which require me to do a whole lot. But they both interest me, keep me financially comfortable and, most importantly, do not dominate my life in any way.
Do you know why I am able to live like this? Because I prioritized doing something I enjoyed ahead of making a lot of money. I have a degree. In business management, actually. Unfortunately, I find the actual “business” side of things to be dreadfully boring, and therefore have sought out jobs that involved something that interested me. And anyone who thinks I am not using my degree has no idea what they are talking about. My first job, which dealt with nutrition and science, I would not have gotten without a business degree since it was in the marketing department of a Vitamin Company. The job I have now came down to me and another trainer, who was more experienced as a trainer, mind you, but since I had a degree, and that degree was in Business Management, I got the job ahead of him. So while I am not crunching numbers or figuring out gross profit margins, I am making a return on my parents’ investment. And, most importantly, I am happy. At least professionally.
Good ol’ Larry wrote a piece a few months ago that was, in my opinion, one of his best. Though I disagreed with a lot of it, it basically talked about how life sucked after college and the sad thought of working in a soul-sucking job for the rest of your useful life. It was a bit depressing. But that is what happens when you take a job based on money. You end up doing some shit you don’t necessarily enjoy doing as a means to an end. And I guess a lot of people I know do the same thing.
A friend of mine from Business School who works about 60 hours a week for a bank down here asked me recently “Why don’t you actually use your degree? Like, you are so smart, if you wanted to you could be doing so much better.” Granted, if I wanted to go the corporate route, I could be making more money. But “doing so much better?” Listen, there is no closer version of Hell to me than sitting in traffic for an hour each way, spending 10 hours at a job you don’t like, then driving an hour back home. In traffic. I would take my life now ahead of that life and a higher salary. And I think most others would too.
I don’t ever want kids, and I don’t really care one way or another if I get married or not. I feel no need to drive a fancy car, nor do I particularly aspire to buy any property. These things are just not important to me. So why put myself through hell five days a week to try and support a dream I don’t have? As I look out my floor-to-ceiling windows on yet another sunny day here is South Florida, I wonder if I would be able to do all this were I working in the business world as a strictly business person. Somehow I doubt it. As a matter of fact, I think if I were working in a job I hated just so I could make more money, that would be a bigger disappointment to my family than anything I am doing now.