Everything to gain, and even more to lose
It was a Thursday morning that we met. I walked into your world, bright and early, nervous and ready to learn. I was ready to learn all that you had to teach, eager to see all the things I had only ever been able to imagine during my journey towards my Degree, anxious to start a new life on a new path to the greatness that I thought you would be able to bring. I was younger, fatter and more naive then, do you remember?
No, of course you would never remember.
It was love at first sight, I like to think. I met the people in your world, who intimidated me with the language I couldn’t speak, the camaraderie I would never have, and the experience I wanted so badly to gain. I never quite fit in, but it didn’t matter to me; I had you, and I was happy. I may have been happy for the wrong reasons — trying to escape a failed attempt at love, trying to force myself to settle into my new life in a country I hated, trying to accept that there were some things I just couldn’t hold on to anymore — but I was happy nonetheless, because in you, I found ways in which I could be useful, and I could learn new things in inconceivable volumes. But love, even for something we do, can be so very, very blind.
A mere six months after we met, I noticed you had begun to change — or perhaps, I had begun to change — and I didn’t like it. I think what I began to see had been there all along, only showing itself fully when I finally came to understand and acknowledge it, even if I couldn’t accept it. But I saw the filth, the politics, the corruption, and the single-minded quest for personal advancement that made you what you are: things that I had read about and heard of but hoped I wouldn’t have to see with my own eyes. And I knew that one day, I would have to leave you.
I did try to leave you, you know, a year after we began our affair. I was desperate to escape, but you tempted me back in. You made me believe that if I stayed just a little longer, kept just a little more faith, the tide would turn for the better. I believed you the way I believed everyone I had ever loved, and who had ever lied to me. I forgot the rule I’ve always lived by: relationships end for a reason, and to try and revive them would only bring that reason back. But I wanted to believe that even the most hopeless of cases could still survive if only we worked on them, and so I did my best to regain what we once had; I thought it was better than having to admit aloud that I was stuck in a job I had come to despise, in a country I am profoundly ashamed of. But I suppose that, just because I did my best, it didn’t mean that it was the best I knew I could do.
It’s not entirely your fault. You did offer greatness, and people had so much to gain from you, but greed made them go to unspeakable lengths to take what they could, and in the end it ruined you. I realized that I was not fit for your world; I had become too jaded, too cynical, and far too intolerant and resentful of the groveling, haggling and shameless social-climbing that you advocated. I knew that if I remained here, I would have everything to gain, but so much more to lose.
And so here we are — 2 years, 9 months and 3 days later, and we have reached a parting of the ways. I am grateful for all that you have taught me, and regardless of how I may have felt about you over the years, I don’t deny that you were good for me, and you are the reason I have survived in the years that I’ve been back in this country. You’ve shown me what the good people are really like, and what the bad ones are capable of. And I admit that today, as I cleared out my things and saw my career flash before my eyes, I realized that what I like most about the person I’ve become is largely because of you, and I will forever thank you for that. Leaving is always difficult, no matter the circumstances; you were my first, and that will always stay with me. I don’t doubt that our paths will cross again one day, but until then…
Adieu, Corporate World.