Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Day I Cut the Cord from the Job Matrix

By James Altucher

A friend of mine left his corporate job yesterday after 23 years of being trapped in the Matrix. I hate it because I’m envious of that moment. The day I left a corporate job to be on my own for the first time. Suddenly you go from managing a cubicle from the hours of 9 to 5 to having to manage ALL OF TIME AND SPACE. The holograph screens that altered the universe around you peel away to show you what the real world looks like. The extra colors and intensity that had been hidden from you behind tinted-black glass windows and fluorescent lights.

I wish I had done it differently. I wish I had known what I know now.

I was working at HBO. I had a cubicle on the 6th Floor of 1100 Sixth Avenue. My boss was down the hall. His boss was in the room next to his. His boss was in the room next to that. And the real boss (the top guy’s secretary) was in front of all of their offices. I had a view of the McDonalds at Sixth Avenue which is now the big Bank of America building.

Work in the corporate world is like a hazy drug dream to me now. You could get in at 10am. Everyone took breaks downstairs to smoke. I didn’t smoke so I took licorice with me. Then at noon, LUNCH! And then after lunch, chess in Bryant Park. Then my boss left to catch his train at 4:15. So I would leave at 4:16. Before I had my own business on the side I’d take the subway to Astoria and go to Steinway Billiards. Everyone there was Greek. We’d all sit and play backgammon and chess and drink thick Greek coffee until about two in the morning. Sometimes my friends from HBO would come with me and it would be like a party every night. And I loved all the girls in the place but not a single one ever talked to me or looked at me no matter how many two dollar bills I tipped with.

There were goals and deadlines at work. Except for the summer. There was never anything to do in the summer. And all other times the deadlines were mild. Like if you missed one then it just meant a meeting was rescheduled. Nobody would get fired. The saying was, “if you want to get fired you have to stand on Albie’s desk and pee on him.” That was the boss’s boss’s boss. As part of my job I got to go to San Francisco for the first time, Los Angeles, and sunny Orlando (to make the website for the series “From the Earth to the Moon” which was shot right in Disneyworld.)

And then I quit.

Read the rest here.

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