It’s a Wednesday morning. Summer has technically passed although the heat that marks it lingers on in typical South Texas style. I have the paper open on my desk and the weather man on TV chatters on in the background about potential, but unlikely, rain so I pay him no heed. I read the day’s news, most of which is consumed by a Papal visit to the States, but don’t learn much so I give it up as a bad job and return to my computer to begin the day officially. This is pretty typical and a routine I’ve grown quite fond of. It centers me and allows me both a period of serenity during which I can drink my coffee as well as a quiet hour during which I can bring myself up on the goings on in the world. What would make this particular morning atypical (or perhaps what we would once have considered atypical), however, was the visitor I was soon to receive as well as the substance of our ensuing dialogue.
He was young, proud and had been working at the company for a little less than a year. This is serious tenure, mind you, for the latest product editions of the American college system. His concern was that he felt he had plateaued here and that there was no room for growth (from the very bottom) and that he felt stagnated. He wondered if he might perhaps have several people working beneath him and undertake more of a leadership position within the company. This is a highly respectable career goal, I admit with pleasure, but simply premature. He wanted to be running meetings, a corner office, parking spot and fat paycheck with which he could dazzle his friends. He had been here less than a year and had no previous experience but these considerations were beside the point, I guess.
Sadly, this is not a unique situation. The young workforce emerging into the job market now are among the most entitled of any that have ever preceded them. They’ve watched their entire adolescence the astronomical rises of people like Zuckerberg, Kalanick, DeWolfe, Systrom or even that piece of shit, Martin Shkreli, who was recently called out trying to cash in at the expense of AIDS and Cancer patients. What they don’t understand is that to do this you have to either win the lottery, like the former examples, or sell your fucking soul, like the latter. What you never saw on the news were the thousands of others with equally marketable products who failed. They didn’t fail because they were worse or less talented, they failed simply because that’s what the mob decided for them. The internet is fickle and cruel and a good idea isn’t enough anymore. The world is awash with them. People have to choose yours, and no one has figured out the trillion dollar formula for that yet. You can roll the dice if you want to play the game but it is likely going to come up snake eyes every fucking time. But I digress. This culture has the unfortunate and damaging side-effect of breeding an entire generation of young people that want to be on the top of the ladder immediately and without work and unfortunately it doesn’t work that way in the real world.
Now, the fundamental problem in this scenario is simple, although not easily corrected. Jealousy. You see a young guy with fast cars, jets and statuesque women (or men) and you say to yourself that you want that, too. Of course you do, so do I. Everyone does, let’s be real here. Jealousy is one of the most toxic emotions and cruelest pranks from God’s joke bag ever to befall humanity. It’s toppled empires, destroyed families, driven people mad and now produced an entire generation of worthless college grads (I’m speaking in generalities, of course, and obviously a bit unfairly, I admit.). It doesn’t have to be that way though. I was thinking about it just recently and wrote the following passage to which all the preceding text has lead us. Perhaps you will take something of value from it. Perhaps not. Either way, it is offered.
Jealousy. It is a poison. Gaining strength continuously through the further destruction of its host body. It is as damaging as it is unconquerable. Hated, transparent but unavoidable, despite the protestations of reason. Paradoxically, people are and always will be jealous of the others among whom they live. A man is jealous of me because I am well-traveled or because I have a nice car. I am jealous of him because he plays more skillfully than I on the piano or simply because he is tall. However, this jealousy does not make me tall nor he traveled. Therefore, logic demands that instead of despising others because they have what we do not we should embrace them so that together we might have everything. Only then will he grab something for me that is beyond my reach or entertain me with his piano. Only then can I share with him my knowledge of the world or lend him my car. Together we are complete, apart we resent each other because we are not.
Thanks for listening.