It’s time for some red pill talk.
When I went into the rabbit hole of FinancialCompany, I thought I could beat the system somehow. Like an undercover cop infiltrating a mob ring, it’d all be an act. I’d just pretend to be like the people around me, earn their trust, and take their money.
In real life, though, it doesn’t work out that way. At least, it didn’t for me.
Unintentionally, I started to become just like the very people I was studying. The assimilation had been in progress for a couple of years, and I was barely aware of it.
Let’s examine some facts. The facts say that if you’re not interested in technology or video games or RPGs or comic books or movies or super powers and fantasy that you’re probably not really a geek. On the other hand, you just might be an Asshole Nerd.
The facts also say that I’d stopped being genuinely interested in anything that I used to be ‘into’ prior to taking jobs in Corporate America.
What replaced these interests? Work. In my first year with FinancialCompany, I merely thought about work most of the time, and I did so with disgust. By year 3 this had turned into all of the time. Worse, I stopped being conscious of just how much I was working or thinking about working. It was so normal for me to be working that I ceased to think it was odd that my entire life revolved around the company. This shift occurred unintentionally, as a part of adapting to the job, transforming me into a different person — a person I didn’t want to be.
I drank too much. I stopped caring about what or who was going to be in the new Star Wars movie. Or when the new George R.R. Martin book was going to be released. Or even keeping my girlfriend — my college sweetheart, the girl that I loved! — the center of my life outside of work. Instead I worried about people at work screwing me over, or the success of various projects, the stability of our trading systems, and clearing time to get smashed in a desperate attempt to decompress.
Most of all, I worried about Cthulhu, and what I could do to reduce the severity of my weekly 1:1 beatings with him. I dreaded them like I’d never dreaded anything in my life. The little hourly blocks on the calendar that I had booked with him seemed to pulse like a black heart, outwardly spreading veins running through the entirety of the week.
When people talk about being “swallowed” by corporate america, this is what they’re talking about. Your goals, hopes, and dreams are replaced by something else. Some companies take over your entire life, bit by bit, until there’s nothing left.
At this point, a little over two years in, I’d allowed FinancialCompany do exactly that.