10 Years a Corporate Slave

(A Dialogue)

Celeste Cav
4 min readDec 11, 2020

“I went to business school for the thought that maybe I could graduate and become a white-collar slave with a decent paycheck. But it’s a pretty soulless journey, not gonna lie.”

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I laughed out loud.

“That’s hilarious. So, what do you really want to be doing instead?”

“At the moment I’m still in school, and I know I should push through but I truly hate being a full-time student. Even if my privileges/living conditions are better than like 70% of the global population, it just drains you.”


“My personal philosophy is if you have to force yourself to ‘push through’ you’re doing the wrong thing. Life is not supposed to be about suffering.”

“That may be the case, but when you want something in life you have to suffer to get somewhere usually”

That set me off. Who taught you that suffering has to be part of the equation?

“Why is that?

I mean, obviously, I’m not an idiot — I know what you’re trying to say.”

I continued.

“But, I’d just like to question that because I think that’s a lie we get sold — if you wanna get somewhere in life it has to be hard, it has to be miserable, its going to be painful, and you have to hustle and SWEAT and SUFFER and EAT SHIT — I think its all bullshit.

I think that that doesn’t work for most people most of the time. I’ve seen it happen in my own life, other people’s lives, the lives of my clients, mentors, teachers, people I chill with — you don’t have to suffer.

You have to put in work, you have to put in effort, but this whole concept of ‘you have to eat shit and suffer and then one day it will be better’ is totally backwards.

I wrote a whole book on this subject and I just want to question you on that.

Where did you really learn that from?

Because I think that’s just something we get told, but what’s been your experience? Have you been sold this lie by someone, or is that your actual experience?”

Photo by Grigore Ricky on Unsplash

“I think it comes from my social upbringing in middle class/bachelor's degree America. My parents are pretty type-A people, and even though they’ve said ‘you can do whatever you want’ it’s sort of like an implied value that I need to turn out at least as well as they did. I’ve also got a lot of friends in this background who feel the same pressure so it just seems normal to me.

I think there’s also just an arbitrary American cultural attitude that you have to “work hard” to be “self-made” and make your life better via materialism. At the very least, money equates to freedom to pursue things (that’s how I’ve seen it) and with my current skillset/net worth, I’m not going to be able to pursue my fun goals like traveling around the world or owning a lake house.”

Photo by Jacob Dyer on Unsplash

“For sure. We’re from the exact same background. Middle class/bachelor’s life — my parents were also like ‘do whatever you want’ but then I noticed a very big difference in their attitude when I was a top student and going to pursue a PhD versus when I was a dropout out of paramedic school.

And what I found was that subconsciously we pick up all these identities and all this stuff that we inherited from society: parents, teachers, guidance councilors, media, etc that serves no one.

None of those people are happy in their life, are they?

None of those people have made their peace with money, have they?

So then there’s you, with all these ideas in your head that you have to live up to these standards. And in my case, you run yourself into the ground trying to live up to them. You always feel like happiness is around the next corner if you can just sweat it out a while longer.

But that’s a losing strategy. I’m telling you, in my life, it got me nowhere. Not only was I miserable, I also didn’t really make any progress on my goals in life.

Because trying to live up to external standards sets you up to always be looking for someone’s approval and permission to know if you’re on the right track. Which works well in school and in 9 to 5 rat race type situations, but doesn’t work at all in ‘the real world’ (trying to build something for yourself).

It was only after I gave up on the idea that everything has to be a struggle that I actually made progress.

Anyways, I feel like I can help you get “unlost” because I basically was you in the past (I studied science not business). Wanna talk about it?”