I recently saw a post that read, “Your salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dreams…” I immediately liked it. Why? Because I could relate to it. A few moments later, I saw another post that read, “Your salary is NOT a bribe to forget your dreams. Your salary can help you FUND your dreams. Your job provides experience FOR your dreams”.
Whoa, right? Two obviously opposing sides to a valid and relevant point. I read comments from both posts and even found discussions on similar posts. It seemed to be a hot topic. Rather than wondering if I should have been in instant agreeance with the initial post, I began to think about why it spoke to me.
While there are many who are able to use the resources they obtain from their “day jobs” to fund personal dreams, aspirations, and business ventures, I can personally attest to the fact that this is not always as simple as it might sound. There are corporations and organizations who view employees as little more than workforce drones; there to accomplish the tasks at hand day in and day out.
You come to work and complete your job – which has become so much more than what was stated in the original job description when you were hired. You may have to stay later, but working overtime (or even asking for it) is frowned upon. Your arrival time, departure time, lunch periods, and potty breaks are monitored in a manner that makes you question whether or not you are still there voluntarily. You are entitled to sick days, but when you take one you are contacted by HR and asked to bring a doctor’s excuse when you return…you know, because you went to urgent care for your upset stomach. In addition to those woes, your salary is just enough to cover your costs of living and student loan payments, so setting aside anything to fund those dreams you had is not even an option. You are stuck. You stay because bills have to be paid. Your dreams die.
Unfortunately, I found myself in this exact situation. When I did decide that I no longer wanted to be a robot, I decided to go back to school. The program I enrolled in required me to be in an on-campus residency for a week and a half at the start of each semester. I used as much of my vacation time as I could to cover these days, but in my final semester, I only had a few vacation days, but tons of sick time (because I never called out). I needed two more days to cover my residency. I couldn’t apply any of the surplus of sick time to cover those days. I had to go without pay.
Shortly after completing my Master’s program, I left that job. For a little over four years, I had in fact been bribed by the menial salary they provided. It hadn’t funded my dreams. It hadn’t helped pay for school. It hadn’t even been supportive of my decision to go back to school. It was as if all they wanted from me, and essentially for my life, was that I continued to do what I did for them until my desire for more, for better and greater subsided.
I had several other colleagues who also left to pursue dreams. One became a producer and freelancer who continues to surprise me with all she’s done since making a decision to chase her dreams. Another left to attend law school and has since earned her law degree. Several others have left to pursue their passions as well.
I am a firm believer in God’s timing, and I also believe that he exposes us to certain things precisely when we need to see or hear them. I don’t consider it a coincidence that I saw the original post yesterday as I find myself on the cusp of walking away from my current position as it no longer aligns with my passions and what I believe to be my purpose. I am saying no to the bribe yet again. So whether or not you are one of the lucky ones who can use the salary provided by your job or career to fuel and fund your dreams, or if you’re like me, one thing is certain: the gifts He’s instilled in us will eventually flourish. Some of us just have different ways of getting there.