I'm not sure which aspect of corporate America can be credited as the straw that broke the camel's back and made me decide to "go bamboo." Maybe it was the chorus of co-workers wishing me things like "Happy Friday" or chirping "Somebody could use another cup of coffee!" Maybe it was time I spent studying the walls of my cubical, attempting to conjure up ideas of how any postcard or picture could camouflage the plastic box I worked in.
Most likely, however, it was the unenthusiastic chatter of my fellow 20-somethings every morning on the R5. IPod in ears, the front page of The Metro shielding their faces, they are daily ushered from the suburbs like unwilling passengers on the River Styx. As the doors on the regional rail opened, it was as if the hand of Charon himself ushered them off at Market East, putting on the last leg of their daily journey towards an office, a firm, a corporation somewhere in
Like fellow VoxPop contributor Zach Sinemus, I graduated with a B.A. that would "teach me to think critically and be an excellent, well-rounded candidate" Before the ink was dry on my liberal arts diploma, I realized that my degree in History would give me as much standing in the real world as a Magic Bullet blender in the kitchen of a Stephen Starr restaurant. My mother, through her connections, had snagged me a temporary position as an administrative assistant in the legal department of a large corporation in
I decided to concentrate on working with the skills I have. I knew that I could speak English (well, at least to some degree) so I decided on a career teaching English as a second language overseas.
But where to go? The bohemian nightlife of
Granted, having previously traveled to
As if being constantly judged by an imaginary chorus of my peers, my parents watched as their friends' children earned MBAs, JDs, MDs. The only official sounding acronyms I can attach to my name is that I now have both my Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B shots.
The most common reaction to my plans to teach in
So, to all the young professionals taking regional rails next Monday morning, think of me when you flash your SEPTA pass. Perhaps I'll be tearing my hair out in frustration in a classroom of 40 Thai teenagers. Perhaps I'll be standing at a steamy
Or perhaps it's never too early to "go bamboo."
Greg Pfeffer is a Bala Cynwyd native and a 2010 graduate of