Adulting: The act of doing adult-like things. Paying bills on time. Getting regular haircuts. Restricting heavy drug use to weekends, only. Saving money. Knowing when to toss that jar of mayo that's gone from creamy to watery with chunks. Having/renting a home in our name. Letting the 4-year old at the restaurant table have first dibs at the crayons and paper place mat without, I repeat... without sulking and/or giving them the stink eye.
Adulting: The conscious attempt to become something like a mature and responsible member of society, sometimes without actually being one.
As many of you can attest, real adult life can often be... less than thrilling. Sure, it has its perks like wine Wednesdays (or wine any-days), no curfew, uninterrupted significant other "sleepovers", and best of all - unregulated shower time. That's unless you're a parent, in which case I imagine your shower time varies anywhere in length from 30-second YouTube ad to 4-minute extended movie trailer, and during which your mind goes through thoughts like:
Still, between constant work commitments, general "adulting" responsibilities and societal expectations - it can sometimes all be too much; and you start to reminisce on a simpler time when all that mattered was that your Kraft dinner was ready ON TIME and that your "blanky" was well within arm's reach when you planted yourself in front of the TV for your regularly scheduled routine of Saturday morning cartoons.
Expectations of us were much more manageable and realistic back then. But now... oh but now... As an adult? The pressure is ON, yo! We've got to have the social connections, the significant other, the house, the car, the gadgets, the wardrobe, the lifestyle. We are tasked with being 'successful'. And, a big part of being a successful adult is to have a promising career path; to make sure that we've put ourselves in positions where we can move up the "corporate ladder" in order to one day become 'the boss'. True?
But... what if (just what if) you don't want to be the boss at work? What if you don't aspire to become "upper management", "head honcho", "CEO", or "HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge)"? What if that's never really been a life goal of yours? Does that make you lazy, crazy, lacking in ambition, and/or an unproductive member of society? I suppose the question I'm really getting at is: Do we get a failing grade in Adulting 101 if we don't consciously desire or strive to reach the top rung of our respective corporate ladders? Does not actively wanting to be a "top leader" in our work environment automatically make one a failure in the societal context?
I'd certainly hate to think so. In my opinion, there are various groups of people to whom an automatic "adulting fail" may not necessarily apply when it comes to shying away from office boss life. For example:
- those who are working towards starting their own small business (where they only have to manage themselves, and not necessarily multiple employees);
- those who thrive on being in the "thick of things", dealing with day-to-day operations; and don't necessarily feel that overseeing and managing multiple employees would be as fulfilling for them;
- those who may not naturally possess the personality nor the people skills needed to be in an upper management role;
- those who feel the proverbial "cost to be the boss" isn't quite worth disrupting their overall happiness when it comes to work-life balance;
- those whose ultimate goal is just to be able to keep a job... any job and a roof over their heads so that they can simultaneously pour the rest of their energy into something they are actually passionate about. Creatives, I'm talking to you! Sometimes the struggle can be very real when you're not sure how to get your passion to pay the bills.
Truth be told, I know some people who fit into one or more of the profiles above. I, myself, might even be a mix of all of these groups, and I'm not particularly ashamed to admit that I don't really 'see it' for boss life. Would I like to make 'boss money'? Uh... DUH. But, at the same time I just can't see myself in a role where a large part of my energy and time is spent observing, assessing and criticizing (albeit, constructively) the performance of others. I'm barely able to keep my own shit together on the daily! How am I gonna tell someone else how to function? Me, as a CEO? Ha! I could only imagine the phrases that would come out of my mouth during a crisis:
"Oh wooooord? Thaaaaat sucks."
"Hmmm... Ok! What would Beyoncé do?"
"Maybe if we just Google (insert crisis here)..."
... Not super helpful, right?
As I'm sure we've all experienced, sometimes there are people who fall into these positions when they aren't necessarily qualified or well-suited for the job. And, that can make for an uncomfortable, and sometimes hostile work environment. So, shout out to those of you who both covet and are cut out for the corporate boss life! Seriously. I salute you and fully recognize and respect that being a great boss takes a lot of energy, critical thinking - not to mention a specific blend of problem-solving, organizational, perception, people management and change management skills. Fact is: not everyone can really be about that life.
Not. For. Me... I'm good at the moment, thanks.