Why I Plan on Selling Out to the Man ASAP

Now ready for salaried work

I’m leaving Egypt for good in about three weeks. My Arabic program, and in fact my entire journey with Arabic, is finally coming to an end, having died a swift but not painless death here in Cairo. Currently, my plan is to go home and marry my sister, or rather, see her married, and then scrimp and save my frequent- flier miles, cushion change, and Chick-fil-A coupons in order to purchase a flight out to San Francisco where I want to “be a writer.”

I was eating dinner at the second-best Thai restaurant in Cairo with boyfriend, friend, and friend of friend, when post-Egypt plans came up in the conversation. I told the friend of a friend that I wanted to be a writer, and he asked what kind of writer, and I said I didn’t know, at which point he burst out laughing. And this is a man who has maintained a neutral face for 98% of his waking life. Apparently my ambitions are a gut-buster. He followed his chuckles with a question, “So when are you going to sell out to the man?”

The conversation turned away shortly after this comment and the rest of the evening was filled with heated yet useless discussion of American foreign policy in which no one admitted that I was obviously right.

At any rate, I pretty much forgot about the remark until this morning, when I was simultaneously looking for jobs and trying to think of something to blog about today. Suddenly, I was struck with my answer to his semi-rhetorical question: “As soon as possible. I will sell out to the man as soon as possible.”

The man has a bad reputation for being a soul-crusher and brilliance-suck, but he (or she) also has health insurance, a steady salary, after-work parties, socializing opportunities with kwards (short for awkward people), logoed shirts, networking possibilities, and buildings to wander through after hours.

He’s also not the only person I could sell out to. I could sell out to yuppies and become a full time babysitter that tries to write short stories at work while the young ones struggle through one of my custom-designed mazes. I could sell out to slightly older yuppies and become a tutor that teaches children to worship the god of standardized tests by sacrificing as many Saturdays as possible to the Great SAT. I could sell out to the coffee bean or tomato and become a barista or waitress, where I will be brainwashed to believe that dinners and lattes are of earth-shattering importance.

All the while, I could be typing furiously on my laptop when I return from work, quipping, editing, and submitting, until finally an obscure literary journal accepts me as an unpaid intern at which point I’ll finally have no time to blog.

So you see, sarcastic friend of a friend who thinks my hopes and dreams are ridiculous and that I need to wake up and smell the black coffee of reality, not only do I like drinking black coffee now (as long as it’s Nescafe Gold), but I also think that selling out to the man (or woman) is one of my better options.

I didn’t say I wanted to starve to death. I said I wanted to be a writer.

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25 thoughts on “Why I Plan on Selling Out to the Man ASAP

  1. *claps*

    There is no right or wrong path to becoming a writer. You do what you’ve got to do to make it happen.

    • edrevets says:

      Thanks a lot….my theory is that I’ll always be a student. Right now I’m reading a lot of interviews with writers to see how they live and stuff. I think it’s helpful. Then I’m going to trap one and make her my mentor.

  2. Dear One of Three, (Emily) don’t give in to the corporate rat race. You have such a gift of writing, like no one I have seen (or read) before. You have a great following on your blog, why not use that for a living? There are many out there that do just that. I am not the best of bloggers by any means, but I am getting better, and I look up to you as a fellow blogger. Visit my blog if you haven’t before for an alternative to your plans of selling out. Moving isn’t bad, but don’t give up the blog writing. Visit my blog here…http://www.empowernetwork.com/mtbeau1955.

    • edrevets says:

      Thanks Mike! I will certainly look at your blog and I really appreciate your kind words. I certainly do fear that “selling out” will be my only option in case I don’t want to starve, but when I hear those ideas coming from other people I see it as a lack of creativity. So I’m going to get more creative and I’m definitely not going to stop blogging. Thank you very much for reading.

  3. jdanryan says:

    Sure, you could sell out to the man, but don’t turn away any of the other folks you mentioned selling out to, because these days the man ain’t buying as many souls as he he/she used to. It’s a better economy than it was four years ago, but it’s not where it should be. The yuppies are probably more likely to want you right at the moment than anyone else, and even the bean-an-motto folk are a little skittish to take on new folk.

    You picked a hell of a time to try and get something to tide you over until that novel/screenplay/graphic novel/polemic gets published, and I wish you all the best navigating what comes next.

    • edrevets says:

      If I’d had the foresight, I would have chosen this path in the early nineties as a young tot. Unfortunately, this is the way the cookie crumbled. And don’t worry, I certainly plan on milking the yuppies and whoever else for all their worth—those can be sweet jobs and I was not kidding about that kiddie-trap.

  4. List of X says:

    Selling out is not such a bad thing. If you can sell out, it proves you are worth something.

    • edrevets says:

      Wise words….my goal is to sell out to someone who will give me a good price and get me more skills so I’m worth more. It could definitely be a win win.

  5. Archon's Den says:

    In their day, both Piers Anthony and Robert Heinlein were accused of selling out to the man. Anthony’s Xanth *trilogy* now numbers over thirty books. At one point he had three books on the New York Times best seller list, simultaneously. He told someone that, like Liberace, he cried all the way to the bank. Heinlein was successful for over 30 years, because he listened to knowledgeable editors, and shaped HIS work to his readership’s desires.

  6. Archon's Den says:

    You may have to endure the mind-numbing ennui that is corporate America to feed your body, but remember that your keybard is always there to feed your mind and soul. Best of luck on both sides. Will there continue to be slice-of-life posts, once you return to the Great Shaitan?

    • edrevets says:

      Thank you very much Archon—I do hope to continue with slice-of-life posts whilst my soul is being dissolved away in the Great Shaitan. Indeed, I think I’ll find more inspiration there than I’m finding here, but we shall see.

  7. I tried to sell out to the man once, but he didn’t want me. Apparently I’m too heartless even for the man.

  8. How about a thesis on Arthropod pick up lines???

  9. tomwisk says:

    You’ve got a dream, follow it. Don’t wind up being one of those shlubs who wind up in a soul-sucking job just because it offered security once upon a time. You have a proclivity for writing. If you can work at what you love and gain some kind of security go for it. From where I stand you’ll be calling your own shots. Your soul has wings, if you don’t use them they wither and die. Fly away and flourish.

    • edrevets says:

      Fly and flourish, two things I love to do. I think career and writing can be friends, maybe even help one another and/or be the same thing. It’s hard to say from here what’s going to happen.

  10. tom says:

    Sounds more adventuresome (read dangerous) than I would care for

  11. So be a writer and take advantage of every opportunity to sell out to The Man, for all he’s worth. Making a good living while doing what you love to do, does not automatically mean you are selling your soul and your identity, and losing both forever. We all need to make a living, and most of us do it by working jobs for years that we hate, because we need food and shelter.

    Those of us who have become trapped in such a way of making a living, are the ones who really lost our souls and our identities. So follow your dream of becoming a writer for all it is worth, even if right now, the details are unclear. And never let any blind idiots discourage you along the way.

    I wish I had been there, when this friend of a friend trampled on your dreams like a mindless swine tramples pearls into the mud mixed with excrement that he fouled it with. I do not suffer fools gladly. And I’ve been quick to verbally slaughter insensitive and cruel pigs, in a way they will never forget.

    Yeah, I wish that I had been there…

    • Go, Girl GO! You’re a damn fine writer, wouldn’t miss an entry here on your fine blog, so much fun to read. So sell OUT and make it good. Just keep us laughing, which you seem to do with ease. OMG and how. Snot Black got knack.

      • edrevets says:

        Haha thanks so much. Without laughing I think I would die, so hopefully I’ll be able to do it for a long long time. Thanks for reading!

    • edrevets says:

      Thanks Chris—I completely agree with you. The question itself precluded the fact that the man and I could help each other. The myth of the starving writer is a bunch of crap, because it’s idealized but at the same time no one wants to be that person, and I don’t think I have to.

      Sometimes people get caught into ruts of thinking: it’s either this, or this, when it doesn’t have to be—sometimes a little creativity is all that’s needed.

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