Monday, July 19, 2010

Becoming a Ninja

"What do YOU want to be when you grow up?"

That's a very common question posed to children by teachers, parents, aunts and uncles. An astronaut, fireman, policeman, President of the United States, a ninja, Jedi Master, Harry Potter... A slew of delightful answers come out in a flurry of innocence.

As you age, this question becomes harder and harder, and the answers become more and more... predictable:

"I want to make partner..."

And with conditions:

"in 8 years time."

And qualifiers:


And consolatory options:

"If not, a promotion and raise will do..."

More qualifiers:

"A Promotion and/or raise."

"I want to make Partner in 8 years time. Hopefully. If not, a promotion and raise will do... A promotion and/or raise."

Still, a very descent and laudable answer.

But what ever happened to all the aspiring wizards and Padawans? Institutionalized by a society neutered of dreams; Caged in by cubicles and conference calls; Enslaved by social status measured by the kind of mobile phone you use, car you drive, neighborhood you live in and what tells you the time, becoming Gandalf or Yoda just can't cut it for you any more.

Society have made jobs out of careers. To paraphrase Chris Rock: when you're working towards a career, there isn't enough time in a day; when you're working in a job, the day cannot end sooner.

Next time you get the chance, ask children what they want to be when they grow up. Listen to their answers. Bet you won't hear many CEO's or Regional Managers. Look into their eyes and see the unadulterated conviction and joy. Remember the fire and belief? You had it once too!

I'm going to get mine back.

I want to be a ninja again.

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