Because LinkedIn knows me so well, it suggested the article ‘Stuck in a Job You Hate?’ by Tim Brown, genius innovator and CEO at IDEO, the day after Thanksgiving as if to say “back to the ol’ grind, bish!” Unfortunately, intuitive search data hasn’t yet realized that I don’t yet have a job to hate. Why can’t I be a reality star and be paid to live my life as a crazy person (with occasional scripting)?
I digress. This article—that I couldn’t resist to read—talks about “touching the snake”. Normally, I’d freak out a witto bit if someone told me to “touch the snake”, but, as he explains for his colleagues who coined the phrase, “They’re not suggesting a literal serpent, of course, but the ‘fear of failure’ coiled up in our brains, ready to paralyze us with inaction at the smallest provocation.”
“This holiday weekend, if you count yourself among the disaffected 70 percent of employed Americans, I challenge you do some soul-searching between bites of turkey.”
As I soul-searched while attempting to simultaneously plough through our Thanksgiving leftovers, breathe through my nose, drown out my nephews’ cries for help to switch the channel to Ninjago, and drink my coffee in such a way that it more quickly enters my bloodstream, I thought about my fear of failure. Maybe I do have a fear of flying?
I’ve wasted months of my precious youth since I graduated (intermittently dispersed between periods of employment) trying to build a career that I can’t even define. Everyone asks me, “So, what is it you wanna do exactly?” Depending on whom I’m speaking to, my answer changes. “I want to work in social media, sports, editorial, content marketing…be a jock concubine for a Spanish footballer (soccer player, Americanos)…”
Ahem. Anyway. I want to work for Al Jazeera, reporting on hard-hitting news and being a part of the greater conversation; work for Buzzfeed and write articles like, “The Hotties of The Hobbit”; be David Beckham’s personal bitch so I can help him build his new MLS franchise in Miami and mooch off Victoria’s style (so I can actually acquire some fashion sense); be like F. Scott Fitzgerald (my most current fixation since I’m still reading his biography) and write stories for magazines before moving on to novels; work for Vanity Fair and interview famous people for interesting pieces; or work for FIFA and go to every Club World Cup and World Cup.
Here’s my fear: that my family will honor-kill me if I do what I really want to do—fuck off somewhere and travel and write. My family is very industrious – each and every one of them is an alchemist; they make empires out of rubble. That’s just how we roll. And though they’ve been graciously patient (and lenient) with me ‘finding my own way’, I can still feel their breath on my neck waiting for the return on investment. Fair enough. I mean, it’s hard to reconcile the privilege I’ve enjoyed compared to their collective struggle, having first immigrated to this country on a rickety boat, packed in like sardines with fellow refugees through rainstorm, rough water and hostile hosts. Actually, my fear of failure, or my snake rather, is that I go against what is expected of me and fall on my face, again. I like my face. I don’t know how I can pull off an Owen-Wilson look.
I want to write about things that interest me: interesting content, curated with care, that has resonance with the right person enough to inspire them to do something good. Too much to want? I figure that there’s no way I can achieve such a goal—and achieve any financial stability—unless I go out in the world and experience all the subjects, hidden in dark corners, that need illuminating. Would that be a successful Kickstarter program, funding my own Around-the-World-in-80-Days adventure?
As vague as it may be, should I [Nike] Just Do It?