Objective. That's that thing at the top of your résumé, before your Experience but after your name. It's what defines what we want to Do, who we want to be - it defines us. We are defined by a set of goals, by a sea of intentions, both short term and long.
We chase that shiny object hoping that it elevates us to the next rung until we smash our heads on that glass ceiling which is now pushing back down on us. Drowned in coffee, chasing an endless paper trail only to see it shredded, laying there on the ground - like your efforts - your spirit - your heart. And in the end, what has been accomplished?
Staring out from the clear glass that those who vacantly stare at dingy cubicle walls would greet with envy. Though, in truth, the bird stained window simply reminds me that I am confined - a prisoner. Captive to my calendar, my duties, my paycheck. I sit here as i helplessly watch my life pass on by. And then the moment arrives. That singular moment when all comes crashing down - all together - at once. Waves burying me, flames engulfing me, life redefining me.
I had spent more than five years inside the machine. Five years of churning and turning my innards outside in. Five years of uncertainty and dread. Five years of different managers revising that which i had first set out to do - to achieve - my Objective. If i have no voice, why then was I here to begin with?
Managers number 4 and 5 - they had become numbers to me as i had to them - set out on a course to steer my path in a different direction. One that no longer involved me existing in their world. I had a number too, but mine was much longer than theirs - more like that of a prisoner or a holocaust victim. With the vindication of Javert, I sing it out proudly 4-1-3-5-0-7-ah!
And the phone rings. I see that all too familiar number. The one that has never led to a pleasant conversation or a happy ending. I look at the glaring screen and I glare back at it, defiantly. This is not how it ends. Not now.
I consider escape. Grab what you can and head for the emergency exit. Run down the stairs, fly down the corridor, race home and hide. Hide from what? I've done nothing wrong. I've excelled in the past few weeks, haven't I? I have been the model prisoner. After all, I'm 4-1-3-5-0-7-ah!
I should have run.
As I walked in and saw the gathering of grim faces at the table, my heart dropped into the soles of my shoes. This was it. No time to plan, no place to run, the ambush was here and now. The end, my friend, the end. I start to jump to my own defenses, but am faced with the futility. Nothing I say, nothing I can prove matters. They just want me gone and I - well, I don't really want to be here either. Number 5 sat there wordless as Number 4 rattled off my crimes. They didn't say it, so I said it for them.
Fired. It's such a harsh word. It screams out 'failure'. Not an iota of pride will surge up within you when you hear that word uttered - fired. At least it came from my lips and not theirs. As I stand up to storm away, i see it neatly arranged on the corner of the desk. That red Swingline stapler. See, before a certain movie, that color stapler never existed. But there it was, mocking me.
The jaws snapped violently as it clenched its fangs into my flesh, leaving me infuriated at being wronged and, worse yet - duped. Duped into this matrix of lies on my resume that tells me that all my goals will be reached - if only i work hard enough, if i do the right things, if i stick to my guns.
Guns. Carefully loaded, crosshairs marked with sniper precision. I push back the humiliation of being the fool on the hill, believing the corporate vow of work hard and you'll go far - they just don't tell you how far they will bend you until you snap.
And snap I did. They played the hell out of this broken down instrument. But out of the ashes arose the Phoenix and rise I shall. Releasing the stress and abandoning the games and rejecting the politics to return to the promise - the only one that should matter. The promise of Me.