Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Doorman Refuses to Settle for Your American Dream

August 27th, 2012 is eight months since I took this job. 

Wind the clocks back a year, and I was a 27-year-old, depressed loser living in my parent's basement on Staten Island with a lousy income and big dreams of becoming a full-time actor.

Today, I'm financially independent, living in a gorgeous apartment in the Financial District of Manhattan, with a gym, laundry room, my own doormen, and a rooftop with a panty-dropping view. I have a summer share on a beach house, go out when I want, spend what I want, and am still able to save money. And while I've accumulated some credit card debt over the years, I'm fortunate enough to not have the burden of student loans. 

When that's all spelled out, it sounds like I'm a pretty successful guy. I should be happy! Look at all the STUFF I have!

It's all bullshit. I'm living the life of a settler, and it's all fucking stuff. Stuff. Most guys my age would take all of that and say "well, I have everything, time to find a wife and build some seniority at work and buy a house".

I'm a doorman because I can walk away from it. If I found a job with the promise of finally achieving my dream of supporting myself soley on acting, I would walk away and never look back in a heartbeat. Do I want to take abuse from people forever, just so I could pop off a few funny tweets and write about it in a snappy bi-weekly blog? Fuck, no. I'm making the best of a lousy situation. I'm turning my misfortunes into material, then cashing in my material for a ticket the fuck out of here. 

That's the problem with a lot of people. Not just my age, but people in general. You know how many times I've heard someone say "well, at least you have a job, right?" 

FUCK YOU!!! You think every time I open the door for someone who doesn't thank me, I think "gee, I'm really grateful for this"?!?  

NO. No no no no no NO. Are you fucking serious?!? 

Who in their right mind would be grateful for being treated like an indentured servant?!? It's true that there are some people, even a few doormen that I work with, that genuinely enjoy my work. I can't deny them that. They enjoy being the smiling, comforting face that you see when entering the building. They enjoy being the gregarious personality that is there to answer your every question and breastfeed you through your NYC getaway. I get that, and I respect it. But, god dammit, I'm not that guy. 

I'll never go through life saying "at least I have a job", when I don't feel successful. I'm grateful for the roof that I'm able to put over my head and the food that I put in my mouth, but I won't dare try and tell myself that I'm grateful to be someone's doormat. That's a fucking loser mentality. 

I'm not naive. I know I have a lofty dream, but I'll be damned if I settle for anything else. I know it isn't easy to find a job in this economy, let alone a job as mindless as mine that pays so well, but I won't use it as an excuse to settle for mediocrity. If you grew up dreaming to be a police officer, and you achieve that dream, then I couldn't be more happy for you. Congrats, you're successful. But if I got the call for the same job and I took it because I'm getting older, or I had a patch of rough auditions, or I wasn't making any money, or my co-worker told me I wasn't funny, or I just found that it was time to jump at the opportunity to have a pension, then I'd consider myself a settler and a failure. 

Last week, I got the call for a civil-service job that many people would take at the drop of a hat. It's a great job and I could make a very cushiony living doing so. I could retire at 53, with a pension, 401k, rotating 3-day weekends, starting with more than I make now, and a six-figure top-pay with plenty of room for growth. In addition, I would be part of a life-long fraternity and brotherhood. If I were to perish on the job, my family would never have to worry about a thing financially. I wouldn't have to open doors and carry luggages and be a servant for the rest of my life. Doesn't that sound like the American Dream? 

It may be for most people, but it isn't for me. I know in my heart that it isn't what I want to do with my life, and I have too much integrity to commit to 25 years of a career that I know I won't love. 

I want that panty-dropping view, and the doorman, and the gym in my building, and the great income. Or maybe I want the white picket-fence, the family with the dog, the car in the garage and the barbecues in my backyard on weekends. I honestly don't know which one I want yet, but what I know for sure is that I don't want any American Dream based on how many luggages I carry, or how many black town cars I book, or how many foreigner asses I kiss. I want it to be by doing something that, at the end of the day, makes me proud. I want it to be on my terms, and I refuse to settle for anything less. You should consider doing the same. 

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