To paraphrase Nietzsche, "She who has no 'Why' cannot bear with any 'How'!"
A deeply cynical and unkind version of me would say “u wanted this so suck it up buttercup” but since I’m trying to be more *empathetic* these days, I will say, I understand her position. Humans are not meant to live like this.
Soul-crushing corporate jobs suck, but they’re marketed to us as the Good Life and an aspiration for everyone who wants not only material security but all the trappings that signal high(er) status.
I’m GenX and was in this young woman’s place about 25 years ago. I wasn’t commuting to the City but my job brought me there sometimes, and I always had some small resentment that I had to waste extra hours just to commute for a meeting that could have been an e-mail, or in those days, a teleconference. The exhausting effort it takes to go from Princeton to NYC on a daily or even semi regular basis means you barely have time to eat or think or read for pleasure. It’s only been rolling downhill since the advent of the smartphone.
I’ve had a cynical and pessimistic bent for what feels like my entire life. I left globocorp jobs behind and went into education instead. Big mistake. You have to hustle hard as a teacher. I had colleagues who did so many extracurricular activities with students they prided themselves on being “too tired to microwave” but it was “for the kids” so, worth it, I guess. Not for me. I had a principal who was on his third marriage and never saw his own kids because he spent every spare minute with other peoples kids, going to ball games and plays and school events for students instead of being that kind of dad for his own family.
Work-life balance is a lie. Having it all is a lie. You can’t let up for even one minute when you have to plan your day around commute and jobs. And almost all of our social and cultural release valves are scheduled with the assumption of having a 9-5 so if you’re stuck in retail or service work you get FOMO while your 9-5 friends can live it up.
I cringe when she talks about moving to the city. What is the siren song of urban life? It’s powerful especially for young women. If they watched Sex and the City (or whatever today’s equivalent is) with a critical eye, they’d see it was a trap. No one is happy. They chase sex and booze to soothe their empty souls, but it’s dressed up real nice so that’s great, right?
When I was working for corporate overlords I had a boyfriend whose aspirations included me getting breast implants and a nose job so I’d look more like a famous playboy model of the time. He wanted a fiction just as much as I did, or this young woman does, or any number of people in America do. The sooner you get over the desire for fiction the sooner you can move on.
Experience is the greatest educator, and hopefully our experiences don’t burn us up and leave us sitting on the ash heap of regrets. Thankfully mine did not; no surgery scars and no boyfriend! I married someone else and had three gorgeous kids and I work part-time and I love it. Many of my friends and relatives are materially better off than me - kids in private schools, new top-end electric cars, house landscaped and redecorated every few years...it’s all very nice and pleasant and I don’t begrudge them the success, because that is *their* definition of success. But to my eyes, it isn’t merely superficial, it’s artificial.
I wonder what her childhood was like. Parents divorced or still married? Is she upper middle class, it appears so. Maybe had an unhealthy media diet of Go Grrrl cheerleading and promises that she had plenty of time for...
And she is being a drama queen. C’mon. I sympathize but at some point you gotta take a stand and stop letting kultur and FOMO and other people dictate your choices. She’s an adult now and has adult decisions to make. She can root and bloom, or continue to play in the waves u til the riptide carries her too far out to swim home.
She (and everyone else in this predicament) doesn’t know who she is, what her core of Being is. None of us do. Even religious people are largely bereft of anything resembling spiritual continence. I went to Catholic school and practiced the religion for over 30 years and never had a spiritual experience once. Never. I’ve had plenty since then. Does religion need revival, revision, or revolution?
I am glad you added a note about the song Nine to Five. It is definitely not pro-wagie song.
Thank you for always being so supportive!!!
Well, well. This Boomer (slacker-boomer? born in the early 60's but I really have more in common with younger siblings & Gen-X in general) not only had to commute, but wear "dress for success" suits. Dress for Success (TM) suits with shoulder pads. Really, really Big Shoulder Pads. The scarier, the better. And how to take care of those Really Really Big-shouldered Dress for Success suits? Dry cleaning. Don't forget that PantyHose was a requirement for the Dress for Success look. The stuff of nightmares, I say!
Oh, and car loans? I thought I was genius at the time to renegotiate a 14.5% car loan to a 12.5% loan. Ugh! (I was living back then in a small city with traffic jams but no mass transit, so a reliable car was required.)
Seriously though, I have some empathy. It seems that no matter how well-prepared one is, there is occasionally some nasty surprise with a new job. Talking it out helps, but perhaps avoiding TikTok while sorting things out would be good.
You go girl! Go to hell.
TradWives do not have such problems.