When you choose a job don’t ever fall into the ego trap

May 1, 2017

They will never ever teach you this in Wharton or Harvard….they will teach you all other manner of things that is likely to have nominal or very low impact in your life. But this…which I consider the most cardinal and important arcanum….they will never ever teach you…the real trajedy is they should…they must….and if they don’t…this should at least prompt you to ask – how can my education ever be complete?

But like I said, the problem is they don’t teach you these important things….what a tragedy.


‘I worked many jobs to put myself thru university. I worked as a garbage collector…in a funeral parlour…as a morgue attendant..as a cook in a Cantonese restaurant.etc etc.

In univerisuty on those rare occasions when boys and girls get together for socials….usually it’s not uncommon for me to get a lot of attention from the girls. Because I am always very well dressed in a dark suit. But unfortunately it never ever last for very long – eventually girl will get around to asking whether I work and study. I reply yes. She figures it must be quite a glamorous job since I am always wearing a dark suit. Then when I tell her I work in a funeral parlour. There after there’s always a pause….there always is…till today I don’t know why that should be so. Anyway after that there is always two outcomes. First they puke on the cat and I never see them again. Second they manage a weak smile ask where’s the toilet is, I give them directions and like the first outcome….I never see them again.

And this would be a reoccurring theme thru out my whole life as a student in the UK.

It was a terribly confusing period for me….and for many years I used to think it had something to do with my selection of Eau de Cologne….it couldn’t be the way I dressed…couldn’t be my work either as funeral services is a serious city and guilds trade that is highly respected…so I thought.

Besides I wasn’t robbing, extorting money or leading a criminal life. I was simply putting myself to good use by dedicating all of myself to honest labor which I actually derived a lot of pride from….I was terribly confused why no one wanted to go out with me.

I mean I had plenty of reasons to be proud of my work…I was after all on a mission to get myself educated. To the best of my knowledge I never had a single customer complaint (Okay lah….to be fair not that they could…but you know what I mean).

The job paid well. I had plenty of time to study when no one died. It was a peaceful place to work and to cap it off. I was even given free board and lodgings above the parlour and unlike most jobs where the boss is always breathing down one’s neck. The funeral trade is really quite free and easy and so relaxed and whenever I felt like taking a nap – the proprietor didn’t even mind that I dozed off like he himself so often did in one those super deluxe silk lined caskets. I mean you just need to be very careful about not moving too much like turning over, waking up abruptly or stretching out your arms whenever patrons were wandering around the shop, but since no one ever came in – that was never a problem.

I gathered many years later most people suffer from a misplaced perception about some jobs. They tend to buy into the belief some jobs are good just because everyone says it’s good and others are bad just for the same reason that no one ever wants them.

It’s very arbitrarily process. Hardly contemplative, frequently concluded without even bothering to drill deeper into what the trade offers in the way of satisfaction and personal growth and worse of all since they spend so much of their time running away or avoiding these ‘lousy’ jobs that for some reason everyone considers lousy but for some strange and inexplicable no one actually elaborates why they’re lousy….they never get to see the good side of those jobs – like maybe being a garbage collector which incidentally just happens to be one of the most lucrative jobs in the UK. Because the British have the unusual habit of throwing out literally treasures. They would for instance roll out things like a fully functional TV or a washing machine, sofa, bicycle etc etc to the front of the drive way that I never seem to have any problem reselling for a decent price to supplement by study fund. Or working as a technician in a nuclear plant where it’s not unusual to get paid eight hours of labor while one is really only expected to work four hours and no more because of the stringent safety regulations that require you to go for regular test to make sure you’re not growing another head.

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t ever get too hung up on what people say or think about some jobs that most people consider taboo…undesirable…dirty….lowly or even creepy. Above all don’t take it personally when they don’t give you the respect you believe you deserve just because they look down on your trade.

Truth is. There’s nothing actually wrong with your trade, not even if you happen to be cleaning toilets (that I have even done as well) – it just means these people have made the awful mistake to cut off an entire hemisphere of work experience out from their life and worst of all they will never ever get to know what lies behind it all and that incomprehensible attitude can never be the path to wisdom….never.

Because when you’re choosy about your job – you’re just cutting off rich opportunities of life experiences that will open up new fields of possibilities to where you will eventually end up.

You know why because life is hardly linear…it’s not like one of those well planned space missions where you’ve conceived the future and all you’re doing is ticking off a check list as everything just unfolds the way you imagined it…No. it’s never like that. Nine out of ten it’s one part serendipity and two parts when opportunity intercepts luck…you could just be on a train trying to work thru a cross word puzzle, suddenly you overhear two guys in suits talking about how the metals exchange is doing brisk business in African gold…you know a bit about mining, as you’ve got a excavator license and have even worked in a junk yard. You know a bit about how to tame cantankerous machines as well…as you’ve have worked as a mechanic…so with all that experience cut into the inside of your belt – that gives you the confidence and aptitude to try your luck as a gold miner somewhere in Africa….and what I have just described is how ninety nine percent of people find their calling in life.

The key that opens the door is not your degree or even who your parents happen to know…it’s your breadth of experience, to be very specific, it’s your experiential knowledge – that’s the skeleton key that opens the door to oppeotunity.

And what I have just described to you is none other than a treasure map that most people who are choosy about jobs will never know about…nope they have no idea where X marks the spot….not even when they are standing right on it..you know why?

Because from the word go, they have already painted themselves in one miserable corner – this cannot do, that also cannot, must be like this or that, have to be this or that way or cannot again, must modify this or that, must some more die die have this and that etc etc etc – this is how one goes about increasing ones chances of failure to the level of surefire certainty. The irony is most of what they insist to be perfect and ideal work conditions is just the stuff of pure imagination….nonsense…some nebulous blob that they can’t even string into one understandable sentence that they probably cobbled from a mish mash of third hand information from casual conversations with myopic people such as themselves who probably only ever temp in air con Starbucks, from stereotypical images derived from movies, magazines and sound bites to create some semblance of knowledge to derive at a rough understanding of what’s right..perfect and ideal….but what’s important for you to know to enhance your learning outcome from this sharing is – they don’t really know what’s even good, bad or ugly…infact the scary part is they have cut so much of life out from the equation of success…the only place they’re headed is the dodo hall of fame. Let alone figure out how it may all come right back one day to either haunt them or pay out big dividends later on in life…that’s the prevailing attitude that you have to declare war against..total and complete annilahation…to terminate with extreme prejudice even.

What’s important is when you’re young…you should experience as much of life as you can….there are no absolutes…no lexicons…no good, average or bad even….just the act of accumulating as much life experience as you can possibly get like one those ace Pilots that chalks up kill flags.

As everything that you have once done and experienced will all come back one day to serve you……nothing is ever wasted in life. Absolutely nothing.

You may not know it then when you’re working on a Friday on the third shift in some factory when all your friends are out partying and having good time.

But even when I look back on my own averagely miserable life….I wish someone could tell me back then, all this in the moment of my youth….nothing is ever wasted…it will all come right back full circle one day.

Today I can weld, shape metal with a hammer, climb technically like Spider-Man and work confidently hanging from the end of a rope, overhaul an engine, build a bridge, mix mortar and plaster, leather craft, train guard dogs that no one in their right mind dares to even go near and much much more….I can take a look at a project and say to myself…I’ve done that before…gone thru that and it can’t be so different from this or that, that I once saw from A to Z…so I am good to go and one day my hope is that you will be able to do all these things with uncommon pride and a deep sense of confidence as well.

Above all you will cultivate a deep spirited sense of respect for those who work with their hands….you will never disrespect the tradesman or the institution he represents because that was once your brotherhood in the moment of your youth…your fraternity…your hunting ground where you learnt the black arts of how to succeed and you were right there in the thick of it all….it’s not just theory like it is for some people when they speak about the travails of the working man….you’ve lived it from the inside out and you know it so well that, that spirit has permeated the very essence of your soul to be who you are and what you stand for…as a frontier man.

I just wished when I was young like some of you – someone older and wiser such as myself would have shared with me all that I am sharing with you all today…experience as much as you can…as nothing is ever wasted and it will all come back full circle to serve you well one day. If I knew all the things I know today. I wouldn’t have felt so sad back then….but there was no such thing as an internet back then. Today it exist that is why it is my solemn duty to share this all with the new generation in our midst…do not take my words and throw it into the wind…keep it well..as it will keep you.’

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