Thursday, June 16, 2005


I had to laugh at myself at the irony of this…

When I finished university and stepped out into the big wide world clutching my physics degree, I only had one declared ambition – to avoid getting caught up in the rat race.

So how successful have I been?

I studiously avoided positions of status; kept my feet well away from the rungs of the promotion ladder, tossed aside the juicy benefits package and expertly dodged the sky-rocketing salary - thus at the same time neatly side-stepping the risk of being crushed by under the weight of a fat pension.

Pretty successful track record, eh?

Didn’t win ’em all though, there were some I didn’t manage to escape: I cheerfully shouldered the burden of bureaucracy, learned management new-speak and played every nonsensical corporate game, then drank the poison of cynicism and got drafted into the ranks of armies fighting internecine wars.

And no, I’m not feeling sorry for myself. Just enjoying a bit of dark humour. The good has outweighed the bad; I truly succeeded in my intent; I didn’t get caught up in elements of the rat-race I most despised: I didn’t become a corporate disciple or back-stabbing Judas or a brown-tongued sycophant or a power-crazed megalomaniac. But I didn’t really become much of anything else either, although I like to hope perhaps I turned out a reasonably nice guy.

I wonder if I should have put more thought into setting my goals?

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

Extract from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

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