The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

I Choo-choo-choose You.

Choices are notoriously difficult for Geminis to deal with, and I’m no exception.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

I Choo-Choo-Choose You - Let's Bee Friends

We like everything.  Beef and chicken.  Cats and dogs.  Drinking and smoking.  And that’s just when it comes to eating.   This bon-vivant attitude makes it hard for us to make decisions, which is why I rely either on a chance flip of the coin (literally), or on a last-minute whim.

This is not to say I never plan anything, because that would be ridiculous, and I’d never have gotten this far (all the way to unemployed-MBA status).  However, my choices usually consist of two or more equally-desirable outcomes.  Naturally, this sort of decision-making hasn’t exactly made my life proceed according to the straight and narrow path (according to Walt, the road that IS taken), but when I look back on it, and even while I’m experiencing it, I can rarely say I’m not fuckin’ happy as shit.  The past 3 years (maybe excluding the last) especially, have been phenomenal, and even last year, which was shitty economically, and perhaps career-wise, I can say I was part of a life-changing, extremely rewarding experience with my involvement on the Campaign.

So what made these most recent years so great?

  • Traveling to crazy destinations.
  • Meeting new, motivated, open-minded people.
  • Having the freedom to make my own schedule, to a certain extent.
  • Beaches and sun.

I guess those would be my priorities in trying to plan out my future life-path.  However,  at the same time, I can’t help but feel that its time to pay the piper.  One can’t continue to have fun forever, can one?  Someone convince me I can.

Herein lies my current dilemma.  Whether to re-enter the rat-race, as a city mouse, or whether to country mouse it up (sorry — too many animated mouse movies lately).  Should I attempt to re-join society (defined as “Western professional society”), by working for someone else (most likely an increasingly-evilly perceived multinational), padding my resume further, and generally starting to accumulate wealth and pay off debt (at least that’s the plan), or should I follow my natural inclination and take educated risks to further my personal career-goals (such as attempting to start one of the many daydreamed business ideas I’ve come up with).  I am a natural serial entrepreneur.  I just haven’t done it yet, and I feel like I need to start sooner rather than later.  Even failures are a learning experience and I love failing… I mean learning.

So lets put these choices forward more coherently, ‘coz I’ve been thinking about them a lot.

  1. Stay in DC: Try to put together a career in the government, specifically in the State Department, which is really where I belong.  So, the long-term in this plan is traveling and making my own schedule, although the short-term involves staying here.  I like the glamor associated with being a State Department employee, although in real life its probably not very glamorous at all, and involves narrowly escaping life-threatening situations (which actually is pretty glamorous!).
  2. Move back to NYC: New York is really where my heart is.  Every time I street-view the city on Google maps, I get heart pangs.  I feel like all my friends there are leaving me behind.  I miss them (even tho I know most of them are paired up, and things’d never be the same), and the assorted hotties I might meet but not hook up with.  What I would do here is more questionable — temp?  Contract?  The city’s economy isn’t what it once was.  But neither can I allow the city to leave me behind.  I must remain “cool” well into my late-30s and connected to the only place I’ve ever felt at home in.
  3. Set out for Asia: The scariest of the three, but perhaps the most rewarding.  Yesterday on Fareed Zakaria, they were mentioning that Asia’s economy will be the quickest to rebound.  That sounds like a prime opportunity to get in while the getting is not-so-bad.  Besides, as far as entrepreneurship, I’d have the most chance at success leveraging my knowledge of the society there, as well as my connections.  But the downside is that my resume will suffer.  Risk vs. reward.

So here I am, trying to take a significant step that, right now, seems like it will affect my life in a HUGE way FOREVER.

Forever is a scary word for a Gemini — too much committment involved.

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VD, and Settling

Ahh Valentine’s Day.

Good — now that we’ve talked enough about Valentine’s Day, we can move on.

So a friend of mine from the campaign has received a job offer in NYC, and has decided to move back there, even though he’d rather stay here, and rather work somewhere else.  And who can blame him.

I faced a similar decision back in August — whether or not to accept an offer with a J&J subsidiary in Brussels, Belgium, for low pay.  My dilemma was whether to take an offer with a good company, but in a field I didn’t want to work in (pharma/medical devices), for not that much cash, in a location that wasn’t that hot.  And I turned it down.  Were I faced with this same decision today, I would… still not take it.  

In my mind, there are three factors to deciding on any offer — at least for me:

  1. Location – location, location.  I’ve always been a huge proponent of living in the right country/city/neighborhood, and I have to say, I’ve done well until now.  Now I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of where to live — DC.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but when compared to Barcelona, NYC, and Shanghai, Washington DC ain’t all that.  This is probably the most important decision for me, but can be outweighed by a combination of the other two.
  2. Salary – the almighty dollar — or Euro.  This used to really be my number 2, but I gotta say, with the jobs that I’m looking at these days, this isn’t that important anymore.  Obama changed me — now I rate power and influence almost equally.  Money will come (hopefully).  And besides, I’ve got lots of rich friends to mooch off.
  3. The work — is it something that interests me?  Is it an industry that I see potential in?  How about the position itself — can it take me somewhere?  This to me is becoming more important to me these days.  Especially in DC, influence and power are very important to becoming a success here.  But just as important, I want to enjoy what I do — I want it to involved communicating with people, working on teams, and managing many different projects concurrently.  

So here’s the question — is my friend doing the right thing in this time of economic crisis?   Is it time to “settle”?  Of course, I’m temping right now for peanuts, so I guess I’ve done the same thing.  Still, I can still not commit and quit if I so desire.  

Still got those commitment issues.

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