January 31, 2006

"The Rat Race"

I am a rat.

I became a rat and I didn't even know when and how it happened. I just realized it this morning on my way to work. I have become what I promised myself I wouldn't. I have joined the rat race.

The three-piece suits, the 9-to-5 job, the desire to get ahead in life, the careful planning of the next career move. I live and breathe to work. Yes, I complain about it. Yes, I try not to let work run my life. But it happens. It really does happen.

I tried hard not to be a rat. Tried to stay as true to my ideals as long as I could. But the change was insidious. Even I didn't even know it was happening. Then I realized that the change - the process of shaping our minds preparing us for work - originally started the moment we went to school. Waking up early in the morning, having an hour lunch plus a 15-minute break, eventually going home late in the afternoon. Sounds familiar? Of course! It is also a typical workday. All our lives we've been trained for the workplace. We just didn't know it then.

University was fun because we had the chance to schedule our own classes, shift things around, choose the professors we liked, then party till the wee hours of the morning. Four years out of our entire life. Just four years. No wonder people look back on their university years with fondness. It's the only time in our life when we experienced at least a semblance of freedom.

And then we graduate.

People expect us work immediately. Go find a job, they say. Most people do. Others don't. A few lucky ones get the jobs they really love. Most don't. Yet the system sucks us all. Struggle all you want, it's futile. We don't even like the jobs we eventually get but still we end up thinking of nothing but work.

Even if you end up winning the rat race, it still doesn't change one fact – you're still a rat.

And that's the tragedy of it.

NOTE: Previously posted in my old website, written in 2001.


nandoo said...

How true???? I realise ..even I am rat now.. a successful and lucky rat.. but still am leading the race till now that gives me apologies of even being a rat!!!

good to read such nice posts ..you make me think for a while

Cez..you ROCK!!! keep writing such nice articles

Cez said...

Well nandoo, you're one of the lucky ones then. Most of us feel like we're going around in circles. So much for it being a race huh?

Thanks for taking time out to comment.

Paige said...

at least you are not a Nutra{sp?} Rat