After the deal was closed, her senior colleagues took the first flight out of the capital to head back home. She decided to stay another night to meet up with me and Hubert. She shared how she had not been able to sleep for the past 30 hours except for a few stolen napes. In fact our meeting was pushed a couple of hours later than scheduled because she had overslept, having been allowed respite of a few hours of nap when the deal closed earlier during the day.
She was gracious and gregarious like she had always been. But there was something different about her that was hard to describe. After some time, I realized her demeanor represented a person who was undergoing a whirlwind of changes. She could not look at anyone straight and hold a conversation longer than a couple of sentences deep.
Is this the evidence of what the corporate world can do to you? Her business-class air-fare and 5-star accommodation were all provided for by the company. In addition, she gets invaluable training and a hefty monthly salary that certainly puts her in the top elite of the young and ambitious. But from her eyes, something was amiss.
She mentioned that though hard, she appreciates the intense, sharp learning curve that the company provides. However she could not reconcile that her hard effort only benefits another corporation, or two, without clear benefits for the general people at large. (She had founded an NGO that provided services to poor rural school children in her undergraduate years.)
During the meeting with her, I enjoyed the moment catching up with an old friend-- and to see how far she has
gone up" in the ladder of life. But as she got on the cab and said goodbye, Hubert made a comment that struck me. He said that though she was physically present, her mind was somewhere else. Like a lampost without the lamp. Clearly understandable, considering the fact that she had just undergone the "marine-boot-camp" of her professional career less than 24 hours ago. But what was poignant about his point was, the moment she had with us may not be repeated again for many years, if ever we are to see each other again. But today, it was all just too physical.