By Derek Bonnett: We have all daydreamed about doing it a hundred times. Sometimes it ends with our keys being forcefully slammed onto the boss’s desk. Other times, there is a barrage of witty banter punctuated by a salute and a hasty exit. And still, we all would love to extend two middle fingers toward our superior and say, "Take two of these and don’t call me in the morning."
Whichever version suits you best is immaterial. The universal element involved is that we have all fantasized about quitting our jobs. Whether or not you possess the moxie to do it in a fashion explosive enough to make Steve Slater, the infamous flight attendant, who ended his career with a middle finger, a beer, and an emergency slide, feel outdone is up to you.
Sometimes, the drama comes after one has bid farewell to economic certainty and liberated themselves from their oppressive occupational burdens. Often, the fight to be free leads to a whole new level of fighting.
Nate Houghteling and Kai Hasson, both twenty-six, did what they thought they were supposed to do to achieve the American Dream. The California natives worked hard to graduate from Harvard and Yale University, respectively, and found themselves behind desks at companies unable to fulfill the promise of stability and financial success. The two felt blighted by the capitalistic system embraced by the USA and their dejection festered into a sense of failure. Their response included no inflatable emergency slides, but instead led to the genesis of their Web TV series: White Collar Brawler.
"Kai and Nate have been friends since kindergarten and stayed in touch throughout college," stated Zach Blume, a childhood friend of both men and an employee of Portal A Interactive, the media production company promoting the show. "Quickly after settling into the routine of working, they seemed to have difficulty with the prospect of sitting in front of a computer screen eight hours a day for the rest of their careers. A little over a year ago, Kai talked about walking into a "smoker" (an unlicensed amateur boxing match) in San Francisco and became inspired by the look of accomplishment on the boxers’ faces after they had completed three rounds in the ring. Nate and Kai had already created a popular web show about adventures they’d taken, and according to Nate, they decided right there that their next series would follow their training for an amateur fight."
Nate and Kai aren’t the first men to be discouraged by the exhaustive qualities of the "rat race" known as life. What was it though that set these two men off on an adventure most people would never even consider?
"Since capitalism stopped working a couple years back, a lot of people who had office jobs, and thought that they at least had some stability, have had the rug pulled out from under them," Nate explained. "With this show, we wanted to capture the frustrations and feelings of disempowerment many white collar workers - including ourselves - are having these days. There’s something strange in our society that most men play sports competitively until they’re eighteen and then either stop altogether or relegate themselves to casual leagues. For us at least, we were missing that level of physical challenge that we could really derive fulfillment from."
Intrinsic desires drive us all and, usually, they are far more potent motivators than the extrinsic rewards we often seek. The disillusionment of looking at oneself in the mirror and pondering one’s true purpose in this world can be frightening, but at the same time it can release the individual from their daily routines and the rules through which they purposelessly operated under.
Instead of going completely rogue and organizing their own underground fight club, the two turned to amateur boxing even though admitting to having little knowledge or exposure to the manly art of self-defense.
"We grew up following heavyweights like Tyson, Foreman, and Lewis and have stayed casual fans since then, recently getting into Pacquaio’s rise to the apex of the sport," Nate explained. "Our knowledge of the sport as participants, however, is zero. I had never been hit in the face before our first sparring match, but our coach, Angelo, has been very up front about the dangers associated with the sport and he insisted that we become certified through USA Boxing. We were drawn to boxing, as opposed to MMA, mostly because of the history of the sport in this country and the way previous generations rallied around iconic fighters in times of hardship."
James J. Braddock, the Cinderella Man, inflated the hearts of Americans during the great depression with his heroic efforts inside of the boxing ring. He reminded hordes of blue collar toilers of the insurmountable will of the human spirit. Can Kai and Nate become cult heroes for today’s white collar drones via the web and inspire them regain their autonomy?
"Web TV is a fairly new medium and is in a very exciting place right now where content creators – like Kai and Nate – have the ability to define where the genre goes," stated Zach Blume. "We want to make something unique, something that stands out from the crowd. We think White Collar Brawler has that potential because of how gritty and real it is – Kai and Nate are actually training to become boxers. They are actually going to have to step in the ring with amateur fighters in early December. All the footage you see in any given episode reflects what is actually happening during that week of training. We’re excited to be capitalizing on social media to give our audience the tools to both influence and participate in the show. By the end of season one, when viewers are invited to attend the final fight and see the culmination of the project live and in person, we hope we will have created something unique to this genre of entertainment."
Nate added, "The response to the initial episode has been tremendous and we’ve been blessed with a base of fans that are eager to spread our content throughout the web. We’ve also gotten a tip of the hat from a number of writers and bloggers in the boxing community, which has been very satisfying since we weren’t sure how they were going to respond."
Take a look at what these men have attempted and live vicariously through their aftermath of severed responsibilities or use it to develop enough impetus to make the necessary changes in your own stagnated work life.
Be forewarned, neither Zach nor Nate said anything about reimbursement of lost wages to those who decide to leave their careers behind after watching their creative, new web series.
Decide for yourself by checking out episode one of White Collar Brawler at http://whitecollarbrawler.com/episodes/episode1/
Contact Derek Bonnett on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
October 5, 2010