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  • Susmita

My Choices Under Capitalism 

I know that this can be a very limiting way of looking at my future but sometimes it feels like these are my options.

1. A boring monotonous career that barely pays enough and is mostly bullshit: You don't create much value or contribute much and then you come home exhausted from the day and are too tired/depressed to do anything else in your life. You have to also act like your job is important because or else if your employers find out you have a bs position, you can be fired and cut entirely. Basically, you end up like this clip from Spongebob:

This clip gave me an existential crisis as a kid. I don't feel like I need to explain much more as to why this type of life bothers me. I only have one life and if 50% of my waking hours is spent like this and the other 50% is affected by how much work emotionally worn me out, I don't know how much I will last.

2. Careers at Large Competitive Corporations: These jobs pay good money but have a terrible work life balance where you end up working 60-80 hours a week and you're always on call and if you try to put up boundaries you'll be fired. You will get burnt out quickly and you will always be on edge because you don't take care of your physical or emotional needs. Also, the people there are super competitive and cut throat. Think working in investment banking, consulting, or tech start ups.

And the thing that sucks about this types of jobs is that I feel like I'm being pushed in this direction without many alternatives by family, school, etc. I constantly have to sit through horror stories or basically propaganda glamorizing certain jobs. I get why this happens because a lot of the people in my field of study is aiming for one of these types of jobs therefore those are the jobs getting talked about but for me personally, since I'm kind of an odd ball in this regard, I feel like I'm being pushed into a direction without alternatives while every ounce of my body and intuition is saying NO.

3. The Ethical/Meaningful but Underappreciated Careers: A job that is ethical, helps people, and creates actual value in the world but is completely undervalued and you get paid peanuts. You may or may not have a work life balance but that doesn't matter because either way, you'll still be stressed because you aren't even sure if you can keep yourself alive and pay off any debt you got from school. Think being a teacher, social worker, or anything that utilizes a social science degree. And there is only so much that you can do to create an impact because you are confined by a bureaucracy that doesn't value you enough to give you the resources to do your job properly (think how the government doesn't fund schools enough and how teachers are super underpaid and have to do basically everything on their own)

4. Becoming an Entrepreneur/ Self Employed: You will probably have to work as much as option #2 but it isn't going to be forever. You may or may not create actual value and your work may or may not be useful for humanity, that's dependent on you. Everything from your weekends, health insurance costs, or any other benefits you might get on a traditional job is on you. That can give you flexibility but it also can be taxing because you can't rely on anyone. Also, the chances of becoming successfully self employed and having that be a full time gig instead of some type of side hustle is pretty slim so the odds aren't really in your favor. This option is also really risky and comes with all of the things that hustle culture consists of.

But anyways, even though it is exciting that I'm graduating soon, it is also existential crisis inducing because I don't know what I'm doing.... like at all.... At one point I did have this anxiety about choosing the wrong thing but honestly, I feel like I'm at the point where I just need to start somewhere, anywhere really.

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