Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/16/d202020116/htdocs/worldwide/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601

Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /homepages/16/d202020116/htdocs/worldwide/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601
Worldwide Ace » Ambition

Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

Entries Comments


Ambition

22 August, 2006 (02:29) | Growing Up

It was always weird to watch my dad. Until I was about twelve, my dad was the breadwinner in the family. When we lived in San Francisco, he worked for two different real estate companies basically getting them organized and running. It’s what he did. When the company he was working for was good to go, he would move on to the next. That’s what brought us back to Boston. My mom, on the other hand, worked as an accountant for various non-profits, be it the temple she started at or the San Francisco Zoo. Sure, her salary wasn’t bad, but it was only 1/4 to 1/2 what my dad made. Still, this left us with plenty of money and made me the spoiled child I was.

Coming to Boston changed it all. My mom began working for a good corporate accountancy firm and my dad continued making bank in real estate. We moved into a big, expensive house in a nice neighborhood known for rich families. If you climbed onto our roof, you could see The Country Club where the 1999 Ryder Cup was held. A few years after we moved there, Liz Walker, the anchor for the local CBS station, moved in two houses down. Of course, I never really took note of how well off we really were.

Eventually, my dad finished his task at his current place of employ, and, disillusioned with the business, decided to go into private consulting. He began writing a newsletter which he self-published and consulting sporadically. Still, over the next several years, it suddenly became apparent that my dad wasn’t making the money he used to and the relation of his and my mom’s salaries had nearly flipped. Soon, despite the big house in the nice neighborhood, we were crunched for money all the time. When I screwed up in school in seventh grade, my parents sold most of their stock to send me to a private school over $20,000 a year. After finally getting the boot from Boston University Academy my freshman year of high school due to a combination of average grades (unacceptable at an elite school) and a minor incidence of cheating on a math quiz, I was back in public school.

This was about when my dad stopped working altogether. He’d spend his time baking, taking care of the house, surfing the internet, and attempted to involve himself in intense technical discussions on Usenet and IRC. Shortly thereafter, my mom left the corporate world and went to a much lower salary at the JCC, once again returning to the non-profit work she had performed before her brief corporate foray. By now, I had realized my family’s finances were strained. I began resenting the jealous chiding of the other kids at my high school. Just because I lived in a neighborhood filled with lawyers and doctors and folks with more money than the Vatican did not mean that we too were blessed with the same wealth. It felt awkward for me to come to school on buses and trains while the other rich kids from my neighborhood got their nannies and parents to drive them in their Lexuses and then pick on me for living in a large house. Many of my close friends from elementary and high school lived in a housing project of brick townhouses a mere three blocks away and often I felt they were my greatest allies.

SIDE NOTE: In San Francisco, I lived on Waller Street, which runs parallel to the famous Haight Street. I was even a mere half block away from the Ashbury cross-section that demarcated hippie-land in the sixties and crack-ville in the 80s. Living in a rich neighborhood in Boston didn’t change my comfort level around rich people. Even as a spoiled child, I’d rather have played with the kids in the projects who could imagine with the best of them than the rich kids in my neighborhood with the latest toys. I remember my jealousy when my neighbor Zack got a Nintendo for Christmas. Though I certainly spent time playing with him, I was always more interested in running around in our shared backyard with a ball or a stick or even with only our imaginations. Like many of the rich kids, I had plenty of toys to play with, from G.I. Joe action figures to my massive Lego collection, but whenever we came together to play, we rarely had any idea what to do with all these plastic dongles and die-cast toys. That’s why I liked the kids who didn’t have a ton of toys and whose family wasn’t wealthy or well-to-do. No matter how little we had, there was always so much we could do.

The combination of having been spoiled and having been poor (in a relative sense) has granted me a nice balance of perspective. By the time I reached college, especially in Boulder where the Trustafarians rule the day, I had come to the conclusion that wealth was always far behind happiness and comfort in the order of importance.

Of course, the entire discussion of wealth is a mere digression from my original intent. For a long time, I wondered why my dad sat there with intentions and no actions. My family could’ve been far better off had he actually worked. And it’s not as if his skill set wasn’t in demand for a reasonably large salary. It was almost with a resigned sadness in his voice that he would discuss his futile search for a job. A couple years ago, he began volunteering at a museum of local history once a week. Shortly thereafter, he began architectural work on the house my parents moved into. This then snowballed into some general contracting work, and, despite it being a distant leap from his real estate work, he seems very happy.

My dad suffers from depression. Not in the same sense that you usually see on TV or hear about in medical journals or pamphlets at your doctor’s office. Not in a sense that can be treated by overmedicating with designer drugs that claim they can fix your problems with only a little bloating, nausea, diarrhea, rubella, and an erection you can’t get rid of as side effects. It’s far more insidious than that. I know because it runs in the family. My mom suffers from depression too, but it is the kind you can treat with drugs. She told me last year she was feeling so good about everything, she felt she could go off her drugs. Sh did this all with her doctor’s knowledge. After a few weeks off, she realized it was coming back and returned to medicating. It was the right decision. For my dad, there isn’t a right decision.

This summer, for the second time in my life, I know exactly how my dad feels. It’s not as though there’s an active sadness about things or a deep seeded notion of failure, but there’s this slow undercurrent of anti-desire. And, like my dad, I’m too stubborn and too aware of it to let it take over my life completely. I still worry it’s taking over more than it should. My dad is a wonderful man: caring, compassionate, always willing to compromise. He’s intelligent and talented in fields that always surprise me. I try and take after him in these respects.

Yesterday I called DU about the job again. Later in the evening, they called back and told me they had offered it to someone else and I was the second choice. They also offered me a part-time as-needed position which I accepted. I spent a couple hours distracting myself and looking for some way to forget that this job was THE job that I wanted; that it was the perfect situation in every way, shape and form. I keep running over her words carefully-that the job was offered to someone else. Did they accept it yet? Is there a chance it could still be mine? Do I really need to go through this awful process of finding a path that will shape the entirety of my future AGAIN? Despite having slept late and woken up at noon, I went to sleep shortly after dinner with these questions bouncing around my head like the multi-ball bonus in a pinball machine.

Perhaps my ego is finally too far out of check. I look at the option available, the various positions on Craig’s List and in the technical listings that get passed my way and I think I’m better than that. I can do more than sit and log tape for 10 hours a week at a menial wage. I can be more creative than sitting in the background following instructions to a T at some crappy corporate commercial shoot. I know I’m better than that, that I can be put on a project solo and wow everyone into understanding that I need more than some flunky tech job. I can design, direct, edit, and, perhaps most importantly, create things. And I deserve that chance because I’m better than what I’m being offered.

But the real question is, am I?

«

  »

  • as you know, i understand the depression all to well…

    but i also understand the resentment of being wealthy, and not being wealthy, and feeling like you don’t fit in with anyone on either side. it’s one of the most frustrating things i still experience.

  • as you know, i understand the depression all to well…

    but i also understand the resentment of being wealthy, and not being wealthy, and feeling like you don’t fit in with anyone on either side. it’s one of the most frustrating things i still experience.

  • Feeling that you do not fit in brings you down, but that tends to be situational. The job market in your area is pretty crappy. Cast your net bigger, and don’t settle on one fish until you absolutely have to. That means start carpetbombing the US with your resume. Even if you get an interview, do not quit following up on other leads until you have an offer letter that you are planning to accept in your hand.

    In Colorado, someone wanted an electrical engineer for $14/hr. No one else wanted an electrical engineer who did not already have extensive experience in what their company did.

    I thought the whole thing at CU about the rich kids was a joke. It was not nearly as rich as Boston was. Also, I considered the Trustifarians to be the ones not going to school– the ones hustling to start a company around some stupid idea.

  • Feeling that you do not fit in brings you down, but that tends to be situational. The job market in your area is pretty crappy. Cast your net bigger, and don’t settle on one fish until you absolutely have to. That means start carpetbombing the US with your resume. Even if you get an interview, do not quit following up on other leads until you have an offer letter that you are planning to accept in your hand.

    In Colorado, someone wanted an electrical engineer for $14/hr. No one else wanted an electrical engineer who did not already have extensive experience in what their company did.

    I thought the whole thing at CU about the rich kids was a joke. It was not nearly as rich as Boston was. Also, I considered the Trustifarians to be the ones not going to school– the ones hustling to start a company around some stupid idea.

  • Finding jobs nationally would be easy, but I can’t leave Boulder for another year due to my lease. And don’t even think about recommending subletting. As I told my friend Sarah, I’m not about to fuck over my roommates.

    The students themselves come from a wide variety of economic backgrounds, but Boston and Boulder are very similar in terms of prices for housing, food, and entertainment. The number of students who are out barhopping regularly and partying on their parents’ money is also surprisingly high. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told an acquaintance I can’t really afford to eat out, and recived a shocked look back. Plus, the kids in Boulder (non-college age) are really wealthy. It was scary how much money these kids seemed to have when I was coaching one of the Boulder High lacrosse teams.

    As for trustafarians, if any are starting businesses, I’d love to hear about it. The whole idea of a trustafarian is that they’re living off their trust funds and don’t care to work, even in a personal business.

  • Finding jobs nationally would be easy, but I can’t leave Boulder for another year due to my lease. And don’t even think about recommending subletting. As I told my friend Sarah, I’m not about to fuck over my roommates.

    The students themselves come from a wide variety of economic backgrounds, but Boston and Boulder are very similar in terms of prices for housing, food, and entertainment. The number of students who are out barhopping regularly and partying on their parents’ money is also surprisingly high. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told an acquaintance I can’t really afford to eat out, and recived a shocked look back. Plus, the kids in Boulder (non-college age) are really wealthy. It was scary how much money these kids seemed to have when I was coaching one of the Boulder High lacrosse teams.

    As for trustafarians, if any are starting businesses, I’d love to hear about it. The whole idea of a trustafarian is that they’re living off their trust funds and don’t care to work, even in a personal business.

  • Ahh, the trustifarians are usually the VCs. Sometimes they start a business but the idea is often totally crackpot. They figure that they will collect fat checks from the VC friends while everyone else does all the work. The idea ultimately fails.

    I think the Boston housing market has outstripped the Boulder one by far.

  • Ahh, the trustifarians are usually the VCs. Sometimes they start a business but the idea is often totally crackpot. They figure that they will collect fat checks from the VC friends while everyone else does all the work. The idea ultimately fails.

    I think the Boston housing market has outstripped the Boulder one by far.

  • hey Ben. I hope this doesn’t sound trite (seeing as I come from a wealthy family and am not unemployed), but I really do feel like I know how you feel, at least to some extent. A couple of thoughts…

    What I think you are describing in your father is what they call “dysthymia” in the world of psychology. It’s used to describe that sort of perpetual/cyclical malaise, as opposed to regular depression, which I believe involves a more intense, debilitating sadness. It’s that feeling like everything has a bit of a cloud over it, even though you’re still able to function and aren’t constantly upset. Now, I don’t know what your feeling is about using medications for these sorts of things, so this is obviously not my decision, but I can tell you that from the people I’ve observed, they have really helped with dysthymia. Both my mother and father had it, and just a mild dose of an anti-depressant drastically lifted their moods without much in the way of side effects. All these things are complex though . . .the root of the problem is probably partially biochemical and partially circumstantial, as is often the case with depression or dysthymia.

    But the job thing obviously won’t be cured by medication. The only thing I can say is to just keep at it – the fact that you believe in your gut that you’re worthy of a great opportunity is a real feather in your cap. That sort of confidence comes across to employers. Try to keep actively meeting as many people as possible and doing the networking thing – ESPECIALLY with those who don’t even have an official job position open. (You’ll be the first person they think of when they do, so they’ll hire you before it even makes it to monster.com).

    As for the money thing . . .I agree that there’s definitely a tendency for wealthy people to be more spoiled, but I’ve actually found “being spoiled” to be a lot more of a frame of mind than anything else. I grew up wealthy, but my parents consciously raised me to value the important things instead of lavish material possessions. I have friends who were less wealthy and constantly complained about how impoverished they were, and yet their parents bought them fancy cars for the 16th birthdays and took them on tropical vacations every year.

    I dunno if this helps, but let me know if you ever wanna talk.

    -Em

  • hey Ben. I hope this doesn’t sound trite (seeing as I come from a wealthy family and am not unemployed), but I really do feel like I know how you feel, at least to some extent. A couple of thoughts…

    What I think you are describing in your father is what they call “dysthymia” in the world of psychology. It’s used to describe that sort of perpetual/cyclical malaise, as opposed to regular depression, which I believe involves a more intense, debilitating sadness. It’s that feeling like everything has a bit of a cloud over it, even though you’re still able to function and aren’t constantly upset. Now, I don’t know what your feeling is about using medications for these sorts of things, so this is obviously not my decision, but I can tell you that from the people I’ve observed, they have really helped with dysthymia. Both my mother and father had it, and just a mild dose of an anti-depressant drastically lifted their moods without much in the way of side effects. All these things are complex though . . .the root of the problem is probably partially biochemical and partially circumstantial, as is often the case with depression or dysthymia.

    But the job thing obviously won’t be cured by medication. The only thing I can say is to just keep at it – the fact that you believe in your gut that you’re worthy of a great opportunity is a real feather in your cap. That sort of confidence comes across to employers. Try to keep actively meeting as many people as possible and doing the networking thing – ESPECIALLY with those who don’t even have an official job position open. (You’ll be the first person they think of when they do, so they’ll hire you before it even makes it to monster.com).

    As for the money thing . . .I agree that there’s definitely a tendency for wealthy people to be more spoiled, but I’ve actually found “being spoiled” to be a lot more of a frame of mind than anything else. I grew up wealthy, but my parents consciously raised me to value the important things instead of lavish material possessions. I have friends who were less wealthy and constantly complained about how impoverished they were, and yet their parents bought them fancy cars for the 16th birthdays and took them on tropical vacations every year.

    I dunno if this helps, but let me know if you ever wanna talk.

    -Em