Career: just another dirty ‘C’ word

Eric Vasquez , Entertainment Editor

If I didn’t have to say the word career any more times in my life I could die happy. In fact, the only career I would like to have is a long career of not having one. There’s something about the word, maybe it’s the “car,” maybe it’s the “reer,” that just isn’t sexy. Might be the associations with ties and mid-life crises. And paperclips.

The only time I want to be wearing a tie is if it is coming off in the next three hours, either by a wine-drunk version of me or by a woman. Other than that, the white-collar slave chain can remain at Brooks Brothers for another sucker eager to buy into the idea of American wealth. Someone who says they like wearing a suit is also saying they like dealing with paperclips on a daily basis.

The thing is, I’m not a raging liberal hipster writer in a white v-neck sipping matcha, but if CEOs like Jobs and Zuckerberg can go about their day without wearing a tie, then I think we can stop wasting our time trying to match our baby blue button-down with the right shade of yellow tie. Nothing says “I Don’t Care About World Poverty” like spending $40 on coloured fabric and tying it around your neck.

Unfortunately, and I do mean unfortunately, the powers-that-be have closely associated suits, offices and desks with wealth and security, wrapping it all up nicely into having “a career.”

The strangest thing about earning a business degree is that part of the program is learning to conform, learning to blend with the crusting white men on the top floors. There’s an etiquette class that teaches fine dining, from how to order wine to which fork to use, in case you find yourself eating with an important person with an even more extravagent tie. God forbid you use the wrong fork in front of this person, lest you lose your chance to own that more expensive tie.

The push to teach students how to dress professionally or eat correctly is a lesson in survival. We live in a world where the big dogs wear three-piece suits and drink expensive alcohol. To look like them is to live like them, and to live like them is to not starve. But while our students work on their Windsor knots they’re learning to blend in and take part in a system where the idols are not teaching in underfunded schools or cleaning our atmosphere or growing food in barren lands, they are in big cars and big houses spending big checks.

I’m not against being successful. I’m not against sacrificing a few hours in a suit to be able to support your family, I’m just not willing to accept a career that will provide a paycheck, and not much else. Take away the economy it thrives in and the dollar we so desperately claw for, the same dollar I write for by the way, is worth about four seconds of heat in winter, and toilet paper in the summer—that’s it.

We’re headed into some big changes on this blue planet, and it won’t be until the rivers are dry and the coal’s all burned up and we realize we can’t eat money, then maybe, instead of worrying about how to impress the CEO with our six-figure-worthy charisma and clean suit, we should have been learning how to grow a tomato.

Eric Vasquez may be reached at [email protected].