Every Business is the Same.

Unless you work for a non profit, you know the routine — business has one motive – to make a profit (eventually.) Business is a mathematical equation which pits the variables of humans against an improbable outcome measured by quarterly earnings and loss. What goes up must come down, despite the general theory of relativity not being related to business, it’s still quite relevant.

It doesn’t matter what product or service you sell, how much it cures a rare disease or makes the sky rain tar,  if you’re in business, you must decrease costs and sell, sell, sell, and compete against others who are your mortal enemies due to deciding to work for a company names X instead of Y, and you have to be so sure why you’re better and why you are the best (despite your products/services known shortcomings) and you all must drink so much of the kool-aid you get a stomach ache and end up in the hospital for gulping down too damn much of the saccharine, chemically-endowed beverage. Drink up.

This — this is what we have spent our childhood’s training for — what all those elementary school projects where we drew what we want to be when we grew up has prepared us to do so well. Forget about those dreams about being an astronaut or ballerina or whatever else kids think they want to be, because life isn’t about dreams, it’s about reducing oneself to become a cog in the machine, to be minimally more creative than a robot albeit slightly less efficient. To convince ourselves that what we do matters, or, to uncover that it doesn’t so we should stop caring and just churn on and hold our breaths until we come home to families filled with lovers and children – children who believe there is so much more to life.

There is nothing wrong with business. It is not morally right or improper. It is not good or bad. It just is – it’s venture capitalists providing millions of dollars to ideas which may generate billions; it’s entrepreneurs who pretend to care about vision when what they really see is piles of money which can only be achieved through the pyramid scheme of stock options and a dream which everyone must buy into. It’s companies that go bust and others that break even and the few that makes its employees wealthy enough to never have to work again, although without the structure and purpose of work it’s even harder to find meaning over the extended period of time which is our waking existence.

I’ve been paid and I’ve been paid well, probably too well, for the work I’ve done – and there is no shame in wanting to acquire enough wealth to have some choice in how I spend my days, even if that choice is often still “to work.” Yet as I end this phase of my life, I find it challenging to want to go back to any of it. Yes, I need to earn a living, but I have no energy or enthusiasm for trying to fit in a faux reality where everyone is catty and political and turns against each other all for this machine which no one truly has any control over insomuch as they control their own or anyone’s fate. People think you’re fucking them over on purpose when in reality you’re just incapable of being a robot.

It’s a privileged statement if there ever was one to feel tired of business and be able to make the choice not to work, at least for a little while. In most of the world’s history and even today most people have to work in the fields, doing hard labor, dangerous labor, and all I can do is sit and mope about how I fail to consistently generate value for the sake of growing a business that is destined to fail, and is built for the purpose of making money. Although there are businesses which offer some redeeming qualities (for profit for good types) when it comes down to it they’re still the same old businesses. They feature the same tribal warfare seen in board rooms and on the stock market. There is no escaping it.

So, I’d like to know – is being depressed so irrational? Is it the abnormal state or is depression a mere reaction to a world forced upon us for better or worse by a species trying to make sense of its animalistic nature paired with intellect and rational? Perhaps depression is actually the natural reaction to all in the world we’ve forced on ourselves, taking away the opportunity to focus on the short-lived beauty of it all, and instead spending our lives chained to desks while convincing ourselves that it’s wrong not to be ecstatic when those desks are able to go up and down at the touch of a button so we can stand up vs sit for the majority of our adult lives, all the while ignoring that we are indentured servants, questionably of our own free will.


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4 thoughts on “Every Business is the Same.”

  1. Please consider spending some time away from work living on savings and focusing on your mental health, as you mentioned thinking about in a previous post! I don’t know if depression is a natural side effect of working in business, because I don’t work in business; I work in the public sector. Have you thought about working in government or education? It just seems like you’ve narrowed your view to looking only at the corporate world, and you’re either ignoring or forgetting the other sectors of work out there. I think THAT’S what’s indicative of depression–not being able to see all the possibilities that could actually be open to you, and only seeing the doomsday scenario. PLEASE take advantage of this downtime and start seeing a counselor regularly for depression. It’s hard to know where to start talking, but luckily you don’t have to; just give her the URL to this blog. It’s important and your health is worth it!

  2. I totally feel the same way! I’ve never been able to find my footing in the work world either. I’m always in fear of getting fired (and I have been twice so it’s not just paranoia). Fortunately my husband has a good job, but my main strategy is to save as much as possible and retire early and then volunteer or work part time because I don’t have a lot of faith that I will ever find a job I shine in (I’m in my early 40s). I’m jealous of people who have found their niche!

  3. There was a scene in a sitcom, Grace Under Fire, I remember, where her boss (Paul Dooley) is listening to her concerns about some situation at the company, and he says “I’m not an unfeeling person, I’m an uncaring person. I feel bad, but I don’t care.”

    You certainly feel a lot, maybe you need to care a little less…

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