Did I Mention my Office Has a View?

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

In a fit of relevance, I’ve applied to blog about poverty in America for Change.org despite potential conflict of professional interest. See, I sell payday loans for a living. Kind of. I write lots of web copy for an advertising agency that promotes a lot of payday lending websites and come home feeling like a sleazy car salesman most days. But the lounge has a Wii and payday loans are only a small branch of the company and I have my own office with a view (of incoming Regional Rail trains and Drexel dorms, but it’s still a view!) and this is the first time I’m actually getting paid to use my writing degree, so it balances out, right?

I had a discussion last week with a good friend of mine over $3 merlot about how the university we both attended awarded us degrees with a huge weight of "Change the world or die inside!" philosophy attached to them. It’s not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. This is a school that grooms the likes of Christian activist Shane Claiborne, who’s deeply invested in reclaiming blighted communities like Philadelphia’s Kensington district with genuine love and charity and now blogging about it and other issues of faith and national poverty for CNN. I’m honored to have interned with people closely connected with him last summer.

But what about the rest of us? Graduates who believe in faith, love, and charity but work standard 9-to-5s trying to love our coworkers as ourselves? Is it wrong to work for Corporate America or Big Retailers or payday loan advertisers (who, incidentally, also promote debt management and online college degree websites so I don’t look like a total soulless sell-out) when we’re called to change the world? What is world-changing, anyway? Is it blogging about complex social issues, or radically changing your lifestyle to support and love the poorest of the poor, or can it sometimes be more subtle than that? Maybe it’s just my guilty conscience speaking as I sit in the air conditioning in my comfortable one bedroom apartment that I make enough money to pay the rent and utilities for on my own.

I want to change the world, but I’m not a Shane Claiborne. I guess I’ll keep the day job for now and find my own smaller ways to influence world change somehow.


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