The Indoctrination

I want to have an honest discussion with you about why so many people get trapped living paycheck to paycheck as wage slaves without much fulfillment or freedom to show for it. After all, we all do live in places that promote that freedom, don’t they?

The hard truth of why so many folks get suckered into soul sucking wage slavery without ever pulling their heads up long enough to see they’re trapped is a result of what you are taught from a young age. We will go into that deeper in a moment. No judgement – society conditions you not to question if there could be more to life than mind-numbing work to barely survive. 

Some wage slavery is unavoidable. To survive, especially if you were born with certain social or economic barriers already piled against you, it’s possible you will start out already partially “underwater”. We still have work to do as a society in dismantling those obstacles for the underprivileged so they have more options for their livelihood. But regardless of where you started, what is even more frightening is that too many people remain stuck relying on employers their whole lives without realizing it could be different.

Regardless of where you started, staying shackled to jobs you hate is a choice rooted in fear, not fate. After all, you’ve managed to construct a pretty elaborate mental prison complete with defenses to rationalize why you supposedly can’t escape. Well, I’m here to call out the conditioned and learned helplessness. 

See, society today basically indoctrinates you as a kid into a mindless “shift worker” mindset through school by rewarding conformity and compliance. The school day is designed around the same basic format as a day job. Segments of classes, lunch, more classes and go home with homework. Even adjusting your mentality that it’s perfectly normal to take your work home with you to do on your own time. 

You’re not taught properly how to make money. This is absolutely insane. How to sustain yourself and how to turn what your passions are into a livelihood should be one of the basic tenants of education. So by young adulthood, landing any job regardless of genre often feels like an accomplishment no matter if your spirit dies a little every day that this conditioning starts. 40 or more hours chained to whatever pays the best becomes normal quick. When you begin earning money (any amount), feels like a huge accomplishment. Albeit, at that point your obligations and responsibilities are likely minimal at this point. 

Before you know it, years slip by in a dead end job without building the necessary skills or a network of people to pivot into something that you love. The best hours of your day are spent chopping away at the work the owners and leaders of your company don’t want to do. That’s why they pay you to do it. Monotony sets in. Bills pile up for crap you think you need but bought just because it’s what you are taught you are supposed to do. Lifestyle inflation creeps in and begs you to “treat yourself” for tolerating the daily grind. The cycle of burying yourself deeper continues. We haven’t even touched the debt that gets created – that is for another conversation though.

You tell yourself this misery is only temporary at first. The pull drags on though while the  handcuffs to comfortably staying where you are slowly form out of fear of having to start over. Until suddenly a decade or two goes by of dutifully selling your precious time for whatever wages you can eek out help escape the constant worry about survival and perhaps the ability to take care of a family.

Now maybe you’re scratching your head wondering why everyone else seemed to “grow up” and tolerate sucky work just fine for decades without losing their minds. Well, here’s the secret many don’t like talking about out loud. A whole lot of people are absolutely, devastatingly miserable on the inside. Bored out of their minds, unchallenged, feeling trapped, full of lingering “what ifs”. They’re just kicking the can down the road hoping retirement might one day bring relief. Perhaps a miracle or sheer luck will somehow point them to a new employer that might allow them to squeeze a bit more padding into the paycheck and family time. 

But here’s what I do know after spending a few decades navigating the matrix. Trading 40 of your best waking hours per week to build wealth for someone else’s dreams instead of your own is no way to live a fulfilling life. We all deserve to feel joy by how we spend our limited time on earth, and we absolutely deserve to earn far more than a typical employer will offer you.

The way out of wage enslavement starts by getting fed up enough that you commit to not sleepwalking through the rest of your life. It means reconnecting to that fizzle of a spark inside you that knows settling for mediocrity is beneath you. From there, it’s about getting strategic and creative. Taking the time and envisioning what “thing” to venture out on your own that would actually get you motivated enough to get up and do it. And finally, it means letting go of the fear of failure or embarrassment that holds most people back from going after their boldest dreams.

See, you can pretend that keeping your nose the grindstone is honorable while judging folks chasing passion projects. See past giving up and you’ll notice that a whole lot of your co-workers feel just as trapped and broken as you do. Misery loves company I guess.

Because here’s the simple truth, the biggest risk is not forgiving yourself for not chasing down an existence that sets your soul on fire. You’ll never see amazing things happen playing it safe. Fortune favors the bold and rewards effort. Here’s the deal – no more excuses about past limitations. If you want an existence where inspiration replaces monotony, it’s on you to rewrite the script.

The way out starts by taking a long hard look at why you’ve given away your soul to bosses that many times don’t value you anywhere close to how they should. Where did that defiant spark go saying you deserve better? Next comes rediscovering your passion that could be your normal daily job that is far more aligned with your talents and your happiness. And finally, gathering the courage to tune out the voice saying taking a bolder path means risk.

If not now, when?