One student’s satirical approach to excelling in a competitive environment
One of the biggest fears of many students is graduation. How does one find a job and survive in this cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world? The “real world” is even scarier if you’ve spent most of your degree studying social sciences or humanities. You’ve been learning about the failings of global capitalism, and then you’re expected to live in this enigmatic economic system after graduation. Without further ado, here are a few general tips on how to win in this capitalist society. Since, you know, winning is all that matters.
The first rule is to constantly assess people by what they can give you. This can’t be stressed enough: people are vessels through which you can find success. Disregard anyone you perceive to be of a lower social standing. Shake the right hands (Tip: when shaking hands, pull the person toward you and ensure your hand is slightly on top of theirs. It’s a fun little way to assert power and dominance). This rule requires a mastery of the social hierarchy upon which every human is immovably placed.
The second rule is to live in utter fear and anxiety all the time. This includes fear of failure, fear of having your ideas stolen, fear of being cheated, fear of not being good enough, fear of falling behind and fear of starvation and/or homelessness. We live in an economic system based on good old competition, and everyone is secretly hoping you fail so their chances of success increase. Remember that people are out to get you, so at your deepest level, you need to truly trust and love no one.
The third rule is to lose any sense of morality or empathy you’ve ever had. You need to get out there and take what you want—and you are going to have to do some morally questionable things to get it. This may include intentionally slandering, sabotaging or even worse. At the end of the day, only one person can get that promotion you’ve been hoping for, so you’d better decide where your priorities lie. You will often see people who have less than you—quite possibly not even enough to survive—and your gut instinct will be to feel sympathy for them. But before you act too rashly, you need to remind yourself that they didn’t work as hard as you. Everyone gets exactly what they deserve, and there are no existing systems that benefit some people more than others.
Following these three simple rules will make you the winner of capitalism in no time. You will develop an unquenchable thirst for consumption in your pursuit for success, but surely happiness lies somewhere at the end of that, right? If you develop an anxiety so deep and fundamental that you can no longer function, you may consider rewiring your brain to be less concerned with monetary success and rigid hierarchical frameworks, but it’s really up to you. I’m sure you’ll find your own way to cope with the realization that all the plucky promises capitalism tells its youth, like “you get what you deserve” and “there’s value in hard work,” are ultimately propaganda to preserve the machine. Either way, happy job hunting!
Graphic by Ana Bilokin