Fighting Cynicism

July 14, 2018 1:58pm
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I honestly don’t want to be negative all of the time, but sometimes when I look around at the things that affect me the most, it’s hard not to be at least a little cynical.

My therapist and I had a good conversation yesterday talking about this and she suggested that in some aspects as I’ve gotten older it’s almost like I’ve opened my eyes to some parts of reality that were easier to gloss over when I was a little younger, a little less informed, and probably a little more naive…

A couple of examples:

  • Work has me increasingly frustrated because I’ve been up for a promotion for months that I was told has to wait until this fall due to new HR policies, yet the company has been hiring like crazy and promoting executive positions that apparently don’t have to adhere to the same policies that a peon like me does.
  • And frankly, I’m more worried than ever that one day the company is just going to dissolve altogether and I’m going to be screwed because I didn’t read enough of the warning signs and look for better opportunities like so many of my friends and other co-workers have done over the years.
  • Disney has had me surprisingly frustrated – a lot I think because our finances have been incredibly tight – because right now all of the revenue chasing and greed feels like it’s overshadowing “the Disney magic” that I’ve come to love after all of these years. Plus, it pains me to think that as my own family gets larger, they might actually be pricing us out of their market as they continue to press the limits of what they’re able to charge for a trip to Disney World.

In a way, capitalism in general has really kind of got me down lately because I see more and more scenarios where companies disregard their own workers to squeeze out a little more value for their shareholders. Last week Disney had a global computer outage that killed the apps that drive reservations, FastPasses, and a bunch of other features at all of the parks and resorts, and even on their cruise ships. This was a few years after they outsourced most of their infrastructure support in Orlando to a company in India, with modest severance packages dependent on training their replacements.

Or in reading into the demise of Toys ‘R Us to learn that despite some 30,000 retail workers being denied severance packages, the CEO was approved to receive a $3 million “retention bonus” in order for him to stay on through the liquidations.

There’s got to be a balance between corporate profitability and just excessive greed while so many people on the other end of the spectrum are struggling. I can’t roll my eyes hard enough every time someone insists that companies like Walmart and McDonald’s that make billions in profits each year can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage because I feel that if you can’t afford to pay your employees a living wage, you don’t deserve to be in business.

If anything is killing the American spirit right now, it’s greed because in no reality should the richest country on earth be home to both the wealthiest people and those who can’t find a meal and a warm place to sleep at night. We have a federal government right now whose god is money to the point that regulations are passed to protect corporate interests instead of the people, and they pit the peasants against each other to distract them from what’s really going on…

Quite literally – “Watch out – that guy’s trying to steal your cookie!” while wolfing down the other eleven that were on the plate.

I guess I didn’t realize just how important something as simple as loyalty is to me because it’s such a basic, ingrained part of my own life. Just like being loyal in a romantic relationship, to me that same level of respect should exist in all relationships including those between employers and employees. If someone is willing to dedicate their time and efforts toward executing your dream, whether they’re writing code or animating pictures or flipping burgers, not only do they deserve to get paid well for the job, but if they’re good at it they should be able to sleep at night knowing that their job is still going to be there tomorrow, too.

I’d much rather see a company that operates lean and hires conservatively, but doesn’t fire people every year when it comes time to announce their annual profits only to rehire at lower wages the following quarter.

One theory I have as to why this is all bothering me so much right now is because it feels like everything is kind of crashing down right now, whereas when a few things are going wrong but more are going right it’s easier to look on the sunny side of life. The worst part is, it’s hard to make positive changes in your life when everything feels negative, making it feel all the more impossible to try to wriggle my way out of this funk, and even with cynicism aside I think it’s safe to say that most of these societal problems aren’t going to fix themselves on their own anytime soon!

How does one steer an entire culture away from excess and greed to something more kind and supportive, anyways???

I get that you can’t just cap profits or salaries, and even if you did the powers that be would no doubt carve out loopholes for themselves anyways (i.e. “My salary was only $1 million – the other $20 was an incentive package!”).

I want people to be rewarded for the work that they contribute to society – right now it just feels like 99% of that reward is stagnant amongst the very rich and the rest are left grabbing for scraps, and then they’re villainized for it, and then the very rich make a new proposal about how they’d like to squeeze just a little more.

That’s what I’m bitter about right now, and I don’t know how to make it better.

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