Punishing Success?

I’ve been seeing a phenomenon in recent years that bothers and confuses me and I hope you all can help me rationalize it.

When did being Broke and Shiftless become something to be admired? By the same token, when did doing well for yourself become something to be shamed and denigrated?

Time was when someone aspired to Greatness. To be more than your circumstances, to fight to overcome your adversities and show the world that you were more than mere external perceptions. Damn it, it’s not noble to be poor.

We’ve all seen the rise of the Occupy Movements. Yes, the oppressive [sarcastic hiccup] 1% is keeping the rest of us down by making us pay for goods and services that we rightfully [another sarcastic hiccup] deserve. I don’t know who’s going around spreading this load of manure, but they really need to stop because as the old saying goes: “There are no Free Lunches.”

I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen. Of course they do and it would be the height of naivety to presume otherwise. But to teach an entire generation to put on the Victim Suit and demand that which they have not earned by blaming a collection of nameless faceless individuals, (there are never specific examples. Believe me, I’ve checked), is the height of Folly.

Look past the big house and nice car. See the work that they put into getting to where they are. Some of these well-to-do people put in triple digit work weeks because they are often on schedules where they are on-call 24/7, don’t get Overtime, and are responsible for entire companies that range from regional chains to multinational corporations. Working on that level is a lot more than simply showing up and punching a time clock.

To those who bring up Trust Funders, I will simply say “So what?” Yes, there are those who squander the gifts that they inherited in outrageous ways. But it’s theirs to squander, not ours to worry about.

Success is nothing to punish. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, striving to improve ourselves should be a primary motivation in our thoughts and deeds. Anything else, in my opinion, is self-destructive and self-defeating. Don’t go down without a fight.

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4 thoughts on “Punishing Success?

  1. Success is not a bad thing but we are all not playing on an even playing field. Right from the start someone born into poverty has less of a chance of going to a prestigious school and getting a high paying job right out of college. Not saying it is not possible but highly improbable. Whereas, college is paid for and connections given to the upper class. They are given introductions into law firms, corporations and tech companies through family members or college alumni where they can serve high level internships. They are not working at restaurants and stores to pay their way through college and hope for an in at a company. We should all strive for success but we need to even the playing field for everyone is some manner.

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    • I won’t disagree with you because all circumstances are different. However, we all start from Zero and how we proceed from that point speaks to our upbringing and character. I wouldn’t let such theoretical situations keep me from trying and neither should you. As you can tell, I’m not a Utopian-minded individual. I believe in getting out there and fighting for what I want. There are no obstacles that can’t be overcome. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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  2. Huge thumbs up. I acknowledge that the playing field is not always level for those of different races, genders, sexualities, etc: I believe in equality of *opportunity*, but what one does with that opportunity is up to them.

    Perhaps pedigree and connections are important if you want to be a gazillionare, but not if you simply want your own version of success. If you want to be a writer, be a writer. That doesn’t even require college. If you want to be a rocket scientist, pretty much any in-state accredited university will do. It doesn’t need to be Harvard. I actually feel like being a female with an exotic sounding last name benefitted me more than it hurt when I was in undergrad for chemistry, and I definitely didn’t go to a fancy university. I followed the money. The state was going to cover my entire tuition (based entirely on merit/high school grade performance – no luck involved. All students who qualify are guaranteed this scholarship) if I want to CofC and majored in science. So I lived at home, went to CofC, and majored in science.

    As a Millenial, I know the job market is harder than it was thirty years ago – it took me a while to find a science position that was more than minimum wage-ish, and I actually had to work a few weeks at a low paying science job in order to find the job I have now. It’s also extremely frustrating that white collar markets are oversaturated and online applications are the only things accepted (and for big companies, they are merciless). But if we were another generation, life would still be unfair in a myriad of different ways. Now and forever, we must accept the unfairness and unpredictability of life and resolve to work around it. Having worked minimum wage jobs, middle of the road jobs, and fruitful salaried jobs, I often get the impression that less-than-successful people just have NO perspective on how much work it takes to get where they want to be, they become complacent in where they are, or they initially ignore the generic “life unfairness” and act personally offended when they realize this unfairness exists. You can’t live with rose colored glasses and then blame some miasmatic class or entity when you lose them. Use pragmatics as a tool.

    On top of that, many think working hard means putting in lots of hours at a place you hate, rather than the degree of how much of it you can leave behind when you clock out. Or the degree of how replaceable your skills are. Or by the amount of money you single-handedly can make or cost the company. That’s why people get paid bank – not by working “hard,” but by selling their time to the highest bidder. Few people are willing to do that to billionaire degrees. To the ones who are, more power to them.

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