I realize that this June will mark twelve years of full time work. This feels very strange to me, as it really doesn’t feel like that long ago when I graduated from college, completely green and wide-eyed at the idea of the white collar corporate world. I thought I could do anything then as long as I worked hard. I’ll be fierce and outspoken and prove them all wrong about what an Asian could be. Shrill? I won’t be “shrill” like a woman — I’ll be assertive and lower my pitch so that I’ll be taken seriously. My race and gender won’t hold me back! I’m going to climb that ladder and show them all that I can succeed!
Well, all that got shot to shit. I climbed the ladder… sort of. I started making a lot more money year after year. But none of it really felt that fulfilling at the end of the day. If I knew I was going to die the next day, there’s no way I would look back on my life and be proud of my line of work and felt like I made a true contribution to the world, that I actually made a difference. And to top that off, I had to deal with endless internal politics, perceptions of myself that were just flat out false and fabricated. Oh, and that hasn’t stopped.
Today, I sit at my job, at a company where I know I am deeply privileged and get to experience luxuries like literal free lunch, zero health premiums, the ability to work from home when I want, yet I still feel stunted and like there is more to life than this. I think about my good fortune every single day to acknowledge that I am grateful for what I have, and I am reminded of it even more whenever I meet with friends, family, and acquaintances who cannot believe the types of benefits I get where I work. But I still want to do more, see more, experience more. I want to get away from the politics, the back talking, the gossip, the nonsense of corporations. I just need to keep doing things that are fulfilling outside of work to keep me motivated about life.