It’s Called Work For a Reason

In late 2010, I took a job at a for-profit, online college. 

The job was in their call center – and it entailed making 200+ calls a day to people who had vaguely expressed interest in wanting to go back to school. 👨‍💻

I was supposed to connect with these folks, convince them to take out financial aid and student loans, and enroll. 

At the time, the CEO was one of the highest paid CEOs in America…💲

And while I’m absolutely a capitalist…

It didn’t sit right with me that this guy was making so much money by essentially preying on people’s dreams of a better life.😏

Because that’s really what we were doing there: most of the people I called had no business enrolling…

And those who did enroll ended up taking on massive amounts of debt…

To get a degree that was pretty much worthless in most cases.

And that was if they actually finished their “schooling” and got their degree.

But in reality, most folks dropped out after a year or two…

Leaving them with no diploma and a big financial burden.  

Now, given all of this…

Am I a bad person for having taken this job?

I’ve thought about it a lot, and I don’t think so. 

Here’s why: 

First of all, it was a job. In 2010. When jobs were very hard to come by. And I needed a job.

But more importantly, I didn’t see the job so cynically when I first got it. 

Instead, I really tried to convince myself that I was doing a good thing – by helping people go back to college and get their degrees. 

To that end, I actually went out and bought several books before starting my first day with this company.

Some of the books were on how the education system needed to be disrupted…

Others were specifically about online education and why it was the future…

And yet, another book I bought was titled, “It’s Called Work For a Reason.”

That last book, I remember kind of groaning to myself as I picked it up…

Because I thought the title was pretty hokey.

But I got it anyways…

And, the reason why I bought, “It’s Called Work For A Reason”…

Is because I was really looking for any motivation I could find about this new job. 

The whole book was basically just a macho manifestation about working…

And it was written by a syndicated radio host…

Whose mantra was “roll up your sleeves, shut up, do your job, and be thankful.”

Even as I summarize the theme of this book for you today…

There’s a part of my brain that goes, “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT!” and then starts breaking out into a “USA” chant…

Because we all love those stories of the grinders who work their ass off to achieve great things.

So on the one hand, I still get the author’s point…

But, as I’ve gotten older and gained more wisdom…

I’ve also come to realize that the reason this book was so stupid…

Is because it failed to recognize that working can be a joyful, fulfilling, and inspiring activity, too.

In other words…

That book might as well have been called, “Accept the Status Quo”…

And the status quo is something I’ve spent the last decade of my life fighting against.  

So yeah, I never read more than a few chapters of that book…

And I didn’t last very long in that for-profit college call center either.

Instead, I quit after about three months…

And while my family saw this as a sign of me being “unable to hold down a job”…

Or perhaps as confirmation that I was an “unguided missile”…

I saw it as a moral decision that I had to make.

Life is too short and too fleeting to spend it doing something that you hate.

Especially when that “something” is doing more harm to people than good. 

All of this brings me back to Khalil Gibran (who I wrote about in another recent article)…

And his line that “Work Is Love Made Visible.” 

Freelancing, copywriting, teaching, mentoring – I bring my heart into all of those things…

And I’m a deeply happier person today than I was ten years ago…

Because of the conscious decision I made not to follow the status quo…

And to instead, bring love into everything I did. 

 

– SPG

P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link

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