The Virtues of Vice

| July 24, 2009

In my last post, I wrote about the dangers of dependency: the narcotic effects of a regular paycheck and the false sense of security that comes from working for a corporation. Many RMITs never allowed themselves to get cornered in a corner office, embarking on an independent career right out of school (or during, or before). The best way to kick the habit, of course, is never to start. I found that those RMITs who did spend time in a gilded cubicle, however, looked at the experience in one of two ways: Some saw a stint in corporate life as an apprenticeship (or sometimes as indentured servitude)—an opportunity to learn everything they could. Others hit bottom, and found they just couldn’t go on putting all of their ideas and energy toward someone else’s vision. Some of these, like Bernard Jacobs, who cofounded Home Depot after he was fired from his job with the Handy Dan hardware chain, were forced to go cold turkey. But all of these recovering salary junkies told me something unexpected. What I’m about to say will sound counterintuitive at best, plain crazy at worst: Addiction is a good thing.