The Rat Race.


“I don’t want to join the rat race.
Not be enslaved by machines,
bureaucracies, boredom, ugliness.
I don’t want to be a moron, robot, commuter.
I don’t want to become a fragment of a person.

I want to do my own thing.
I want to live (relatively simply).
I want to deal with people, not with masks.
People matter. Nature matters.
Beauty matters. Wholeness matters.
I want to be able to care.”

~ E. F. Schumacher in Small Is Beautiful.

I have a young friend Pravin with all the right qualifications to get good employment in modern India, who has in fact got a well paying job, except that he has to live in Mumbai. He is prolific with his twitter tweets and facebook posts and also a dedicated blogger. He is a delightful person to know and I consider myself fortunate to have him in my life.

He however has a problem that almost all young people in our work force have. A sense of helplessness, living a life of no purpose. Commuting and the repetitive nature of his work is frustrating, but he is stuck.

This is not an unusual scenario anywhere in the world and I am sure that all my readers will know some one or the other in a similar situation.

To cheer him up, I thought that I should post this. I anticipate his response to be, “You can afford to be like Schumacher, after having lived your life and when you are in your retirement. It is different for us younger people in the work force today. Things were different in your days.”

To that, I would like to inform my young friend that no, things were not different and my generation also had very frustrating times, but that is likely to fall on deaf years. So, to at least get him to have a good laugh, let me add this little forward that I received from another young friend who is in a different kind of trouble.

39 thoughts on “The Rat Race.”

  1. I guess we’ve all had the experience of at least one really dismal, unfulfilling job that we were desperate to leave. I hope Pravin finds something more rewarding very soon.
    nick recently posted..Thoroughly decent

    1. No. Ranjan and Pravin are two entirely different types. Ranjan had many advantages that Pravin did not and still does not have. They are both great risk takers and for Ranjan it has paid off whereas it is yet to in the case of Pravin. Pravin’s time is not too far off. I have my money riding on him.

  2. I agree with Nandu – quit the job. I suspect everything else I’m thinking would seem too harsh so I’ll just leave it at that.

  3. Hi Rummy,

    Tell Pravin that things aren’t that different today. We all have less great moments in life (it is part of the process) but we can decide to end the bad phase and move on until we feel satisfied. Take risks, don’t be afraid of sacrificing whatever in pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. I am young too and I learn from the experiences of those who came before me – that is why I know that it’s not that different.

    Superb post, Rummy. Thank you.

    Max Coutinho recently posted..Maxiavelli: CNN International’s Gradual Decadence

    1. Max, good advice and bad advice you give: We can indeed, within limits, “end the bad phase”. You say you are young. How young? You are in favour of “sacrificing WHATEVER in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment”. Let’s hope, for your sake, that those you depend on don’t subscribe to your notion – should you depend on anyone. And I pity those dependent on you.

      Ursula recently posted..Vigilence

      1. Ursula, thanks. How young am I? Given the fact that the 30’s are the new 20’s, I’d say young enough. Ah, the codex of words: “whatever” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Your notion of “whatever” may differ from mine (based on our life experiences) – this being said, Pravin would have to find out what his “whatever” is. Cheers
        Max Coutinho recently posted..Maxiavelli: CNN International’s Gradual Decadence

        1. Be glad I am not my father. He’d take your evasive answer so apart you’d not have a leg to stand on. However, whatever.

          Ursula recently posted..Vigilence

  4. That’s funny and yet so true. I’ve always told people to watch my life and they’ll learn how to be better whether by doing what I do or not doing what I do. lol Still, I know his feeling because I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Blogging For The Right Reasons

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