Not For Me

By J.A. McGrath

We joined together,                                                                                  
But not at the hip
Working so hard
To become equipped,
Experiences had
Shifts passed by,
We, were aiming high.
Through the glass ceiling we went
Touching the sky
Thinking back, I want to cry
But not you. 

Your drive is impressive
But it’s not for me
Straight to the top
I hear your plea. 

Like a spring morning
Fresh and bright
Up early, finish late,
To you it seems right. 

Moving on
Moving up
Ideas diversified
Life becomes full up. 

Why does it mean so much?
This mob we work for,
Little thanks we get
Yet you lean on them like a crutch.
Overworked and underpaid
The mediocre management
The patter, so staid.
Selling your soul
To climb the greasy pole
Not me
Despite your plea.

‘You’re wasting your talent’
A lie, I can tell
A bullshitter from a mile,
That I can smell,
Talent given by God
To be appreciated by this bod,
Not to climb an artificial tree,
Despite your plea.

An 100hr week
No thanks to speak,
It’s expected, obligatory
Lasting forever,
Just like purgatory.
Do what you want
Climb high – be a director
And on the shop floor we’ll hear your cry
As for me
Despite your plea,
I want to be free.

I’ll do my bit, but family first,
I’ll not dry out to quench ambitions thirst
By being there for my kids to see
That they don’t have to be slaves, but free.
I’ve three kids, you the one
Fortunate you feel to have that coveted son
Coveted by who? Not you,
A name lives on,
but the company’s number one
The child? A tick in life’s box
With him, you’ve no intention of having fun. 

Corporate ambition I can resist
from management roles I wish to desist
My lavish spare time I’ll read, write, enjoy music and culture
Food for the soul, not a corporate vulture.
You’re a long time dead but shortly forgotten
By that company you love, for their rank rotten.

So I’ll remain despite and because of my brain,
Somewhere safe near the bottom,
Sane, free and healthy
Better that than miserable, stressed and wealthy.
I tried it for long enough
Feeding from the managers trough
No more, no more,
That’s my plea, so hear me! 

On your coat tails I do not ride
I’ve my own name, respect and pride.
I have the qualifications
Degree and all
But this Cinderalla won’t go to the ball
Company car and laptop, a fancy mobile phone,
Day or night, it never leaves you alone
Public holidays, your birthday, Christmas eve
Never a reprieve
You get hassle even when on leave!
I gave it a go for a decade or so,
It wasn’t for me despite their plea.

Ministers, chiefs, directors I’ve met
People, mere humans, in awe?
Not me, not yet.
But you – you love it!
Name dropping, networking,
Ego never above it.
You want to climb that tree, I want to be free.

Endless meetings, paperwork, phone calls and performance
These grey men, leeching on your soul,
Pushing our pens, is this what you propose? 

Compliments, platitudes
‘you’re the best yet’
What part of ‘No Thanks’
Do you not get?
‘You’ll be a great loss
And will regret it you will see’
I’m not so sure of that,
I’m happy to just be.

Too many meetings, sitting frustrated
Grey of face
Like a caged lion,
around the office I did pace.
Thanks for the offer
Thanks for the ride
But I don’t want washed
Away with the tide
Debris, detritus
Footprints in the sand
I’m happy to keep my feet firmly on dry land.
You fly if you want
But take care
You’re not getting any younger,
Now losing your hair. 

The sacrifices you made,
The price you’ve paid,
Too much! Too much!
Although each to their own
I can’t help worrying. 

Of management you said – you had to be in it to change it
I couldn’t feel it
The notion resting like a patient on their sick bed.
The pain in your eyes unhidden,
The pile of paperwork,
Your office a midden.
So the colour has drained

And your energy waned,
Life at such speed
Is really insane,
But the target is so clear,
The end point near,
Stretching out one last time
The price will be dear.

Will your mind be next?
Or your ticker too?
Blood pressure, kidneys, paralysis,
One side or two?
The grim reaper
Knows you won’t quit
The tap on the shoulder
You won’t hear it. 

Normally, so bullish and brave
now it seems your heading
for an early grave.
Good night grey man, good night,
Now you don’t shine so bright.

Society expects that you climb,
To do so you must grasp hard on the slime.
The greasy pole is not for me
Surely, this you can see.

Regardless of how many times you say,
It’s not for me,
despite your plea.
I’m happy to rebel against society.

identity, resistance, work culture, freedom