the rocket ship excuse

A few years back I had a conversation with a friend of mind regarding the merits of bartending for a living.  This particular friend was making a great income that allowed him to live a very comfortable life.  However, his concern was that the perception of bartenders, particularly as they get a little longer in the tooth, is that they don’t have legitimate “careers”.  He got tired of answering questions from people about “…when was he going to get a real job?”  The solution we came up with was simple.  He would start telling people that bartending was just his part time job that would help pay for the rocket ship he was building.  Then, inevitably the person in question would ask about the rocket ship idea, my friend would lie and tell them that he is a struggling rocket scientist working to fulfill his dream of sending the first rocket to Pluto.  This way people would leave him alone about being “just” a bartender.  It also was a safe bet that many people don’t know the first thing about building a rocket to Pluto so my friend could make up any nonsense he wanted to in order to support his story.  It also elevated my friend from “just” a bartender to “aspiring Pluto rocket builder”.

As I continue to manage people I notice that many of them have their own “aspiring Pluto rocket builder” stories that they use to elevate themselves.  It’s not usually that weird of course.  It normally sounds like this, “I have this great idea that is going to really help…I’m just waiting on (fill in the blank here)”  People will use ideas to make it seem as though they are adding more value, but an idea that is never fully realized may as well be a rocket to Pluto.

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