When Ambitions Change Direction

There was a time when working in a corporate environment was a romantic dream. All those opportunities to wear smart suits, display cool professional gadgets, fly all around the world, drive big cars, rub shoulders with the wealthy & famous, being treated like one, etc. For years, I set my heart out to be one of the corporate figures. It seems the happiest thing to do. Being in a corporate world is the definition of success, and I'm happiest being successful.

When you finally arrive at the doorstep of corporate world and you step in, the dream that you cradle lovingly in your heart shatters into thousands of pieces. All these have got to come with a price - you have to sell your soul, your time & your loved ones to hang on in this world.

For a start, there's work. Work you learn to do but never learn to love. Every day you toil doing something joyless. Then there's the people. The people who are concerned over the dollar they spent. They want to squeeze as much values possible from their money spent, which translated into demands, negotiations, etc. You hate to push people, and you hate to be pushed. But baby, this is all corporate world is about. That's why with all the pushings, they are known as the world mover. The world stands still unless business drives it.

People only respect you when you are in your smart suits. They don't give a hoot when you change into your ordinary clothes, despite the fact you're the same person. The smart suit represents power & status. (No matter the fact I wore my business jacket while riding my CLK). The hypocrisy of everything. What do you get in the end of pretending to be one of the corporate players? You spend what you earn to preserve your reputation. More suits, more gadgets and more of everything just so you can be deemed as equals among corporate people.

In my 15 years of education, I was taught without great sacrifices, there is no great success. That is why I never hesitated to sacrifice what I have to achieve success. Time, money and lately, my soul. Profit vs. conscience. Meeting vs. loved ones. A detailed report vs. rest & sleep. Nothing is spared.

But why am I so reluctant to leave if it makes me unhappy? Is it because the world still defines success as how I once defined it? If you can be totally honest with your own prejudice, who is a more successful woman? A lawyer who has an expensive wardrobe, a big car and a beautiful house; or a simple housewife who raises up five kids with none of them goes hungry, unloved and uncared for despite daily financial limitations? If you tell yourself you want to forego career because you want to raise your kids and give them the best possible love & care, or spend more time with your family members instead of setting business goals to close in a deal, does it mean you're short of ambitions?

I am at a point of questioning my lifelong dream because when I close my fingers to grasp it, it turns out to be such a disappointment. It feels like somebody pricks a needle into a balloon and it bursts and you realize there's nothing inside it. Your dream actually has shattered, leaving you clueless of what exactly is the right thing to do for the rest of your life.

What happens when dreams deferred? What happens when you figured out what you want and work hard towards it only to realize it is not exactly what you want?

It has better be between a confectionery shop or a chicken rice restaurant.

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