I saw this billboard last week 👇
Here’s how I interpret it -
1 - I got my “dream job”.
I “made it” according to the standards society is setting. Now I can start to enjoy the fruits of my hard work, in a way that most people will agree I deserve.
Oh, but wait…I have this college debt. I went to an obscenely expensive school because that’s what I’m supposed to do and have to do to get my “dream job”. Taking out massive loans to do it is OK, since this is consistent with society’s expectations.
2 - I have to refinance those loans.
Since I “made it” in my career, the next step is to go deeper into debt by taking out an even bigger loan to buy a home. I’ll refinance my existing debt to take out more debt to do this, paying some fees for the “privilege”. This is OK too, because it’s normal and expected. Nobody will criticize or second guess me for doing it. They’ll actually criticize or second guess me if I DON’T do it.
Pushing the Dream for Generations
This is the dream pushers at work. They’re doing what they do best. What they do best is pushing the story that’s been ingrained in generations of us. They’re banking, literally, on the fact we won’t question this sequence.
You can see in the ad how assumed this sequence is. The Dream pushers wouldn’t spend the money to rent such expensive ad space if they didn’t think this message was universal and unquestionable.
In this case, the Dream pushers are pushing the financial services industry. Then they push you toward the pay-to-be-educated higher education system. They then act as the bridge into the real-estate machine.
Each step along the way, they and the industries they push you into profit from you. You go deeper into debt.But it’s OK because that debt keeps you in compliance with society’s expectations. You’ll be happy too and stay that way.
You stay “so busy” making sure you can pay the debt you don’t question the sequence. We’re too busy to take a step back and even consider the path we’re barreling down.
But are we?
Spending some rare time in midtown Manhattan last week brought this question back to my consciousness. Most of the people I saw trudging along among the office buildings didn’t strike me as happy. Many of them looked like I did when I was chasing “the Dream” instead of my dream.
My hope is JRWI encourages more of us to chase our dreams, rather than the Dream.
P.S. - This post was first published in the JRWI newletter. Subscribe for free and you'll receive one post like this each week on Sunday evening. My hope is that it inspires you at the start of your week.