As an INFP, my motto in life is “be yourself.” This, for me, means being authentic and living according to my values. Every decision that I make is a reflection of who I am and what I believe in. As well, I despise conformity: it entails giving up on my personhood—what makes me unique—in order to please others.
So you might be a little shocked to hear that I’ve voluntarily surrendered a part of my soul in order to be a better service to capitalism—and I do so happily. This means, instead of always thinking in terms what serves my values and ideals, I now ask what serves capitalism: What does the market want? What skills are employers looking for?
Questions like these used to make me cringe. It feels as if my individuality and values no longer matter. When it comes to the job market, I’m only a commodity, someone who is valuable in so much as they can generate money.
But today, I see myself as both an individual person and a kind of commodity that has market value. If you spoke with me over a year ago, I wouldn’t have seen myself this way. What has made me change?
It’s my realisation there’s this tradeoff between my ideals and reality.
Although I can be very spiritual and find contentment in non-materialistic things, such as nature and art, and anything that feeds my imagination, some of my happiness also depends on stuff that money can buy. I want more adventures, be independent and be able to make purchases without stressing about its price. On top of that, it gives me a sense of pride to be able to contribute to the economy.
I was struck hard by reality upon graduating from university with a philosophy degree. I struggled to find my first real job. I felt like a failure and found myself becoming depressed.
But that experience has taught me something: when it comes to making it out in this world, sometimes I have to put my aside ideals in order to be more practical. Because otherwise, I’d end up miserable.
I used to have a lot of ideas when it came to what I’d like to do, such as being a lounge pianist and writing a philosophy book for children, but I couldn’t implement them. However, I was finally able to land my career after conducting a lot of research about the job market and by promoting myself shamelessly. And today, I work full-time at a marketing agency as a B2B writer.
Am I happier than I was a year ago?
The answer is yes. Although there may be some mundane aspects of my job, for the most part, I’m so much happier. I’ve moved to the city, I’m meeting more people, I get to attend conferences, I’m learning more things about the world, and I’m growing professionally.
I’ve discovered that my happiness lies between two worlds: my ideal world and reality. Even though my imagination can take me to many great places, I also want my experiences to be real. There needs to be a balance. Sometimes that means leaving my dream world for a while, selling my “soul,” and facing reality head on, in order to get more out of life. Reality bites, but I think that’s also a place where true happiness lies.