I’ve been underemployed for the better part of 25 years now, and I’ve often thought about the various forces that shaped me, moved me, and led me into a deeply unsatisfying job life. How did I become what I became? Why did I decide to pursue X and not Y? Why indeed.
I think many of us have had these thoughts about our lives. Our formative years behind us, we often don’t realize until much later that what we thought was “right” for us, was us actually following someone elses idea of “right” for us. Additionally, even though we may have thought we were on the road to “somewhere,” at some point, deep down, many of us had no idea where that road would lead or what that road even was.
I take responsibility for my lot in life, but I also recognize that we are not islands unto ourselves. Environment matters. Parenting matters. Teachers matter. Peers, society, etc. all matter. We don’t live in a vacuum, and as such I think it’s good to question your roots and your upbringing. Not for excuses, but for context.
John Lennon’s song, Working Class Hero, addresses the way our influences, both subtly and not so subtly, motivate our behavior. The song is also a sharp rebuke to the way we are shepherded through the first 17 to 18 years of our life, and how many of those years are simply in service to continuing a broken and often inhumane system. The song is about those subjects and much more, and like many of John Lennon’s songs, open to interpretation. Take a listen to Working Class Hero, and tell me what you think of it. I’m eager to hear your thoughts.