Devon Gerson loved her job. Her job was to change people’s lives. She held, in her hands, the power to give the less privileged a shot at a better life, a life like hers, as a tier 2 educated worker.
She held this year’s stack of scholarship educations, feeling a wave of power and anxiety. Years ago, she’d learned to not let the rejections bother her. She knew, as a commissioned person herself, that the lives of her peers who did not earn tier 2 education were exhausting, short, and generally absent of recreation, beyond the after-work beer or joint exhaustedly taken while trying to pass out in front of the holoprojector set.
That was the life her parents and siblings lived.
She had worked hard during his tier 1 education, and had caught the eye of someone, a scholarship screener like she was now, and had landed herself the funds to pursue a tier 2 certification.
It had been a hard four years. She hadn’t had time to work during classes, at least not more than twenty hours a week, and as such had slept on the floor of several friend’s apartments so she could afford schooling, even with her scholarship. She’d never forget those friend’s kindnesses. They had risked eviction for lease violations by letting her sleep in their apartments.
The foundation gave her a budget. Five million credits she could assign in this batch of physicist hopefuls. Her following assignment was a hundred million credits for drone operator hopefuls. For every acceptance there were at least twenty rejections, however in luxury trades like art typically everyone was rejected, unless the applicant had a connection to a foundation donor. It was the acceptances that kept her going, gave her a delightful feeling, thinking about the opportunity at life she had given them. Only a third of them would make it through the tier 2 schools, of course, and only half of them would find careers which used their education, but she opened the door that made it possible. A tier 2 education was simply impossible to afford without a scholarship, unless you were born with an inheritance.
His boss, Jacob McFlintlocke, had an inheritance. Jacob was a great and noble man who valued hard work above anything else.
“Devon,” Mr. McFlintlocke would tell her, while squaring up on the ball of his golf simulator, which he kept in his spacious corner office. “Life is like golf. It takes patience, practice, hard work, and you can’t let the bad shots get to you. A person has always got to focus on the present with the future in mind. That’s what you look for in these scholarships, people who don’t let the past bother them, who look at where they want to be and then put all their effort into the present thing that they need to do to set up their goal. They can’t rage about hitting it fat. Take the foundations fund. We lost five percent on RedCorp last week and gained seven on BlueCorp. Some people would look at that and throw all their money in BlueCorp out of frustration. Suckers. I doubled the stake in RedCorp and today, RedCorp rose as BlueCorp fell, and then I switched it back because next week it’ll be BlueCorp rising and RedCorp falling. That’s what separates the haves and have nots, the right mindset and the drive to seize opportunity, not wallow in self-pity.”
Mr. McFlintlocke knew a lot about seizing opportunities. He’d won the club golf tournament seven times by always laying up and never chasing eagles. He’d inherited 70 million credits from his parents and, with his measured approach to investing, his daughter would inherit 210 million. Few people had labored over their short game more than him. While other people chased the dream of a two-hundred-fifty yard drive, he had spent the hours agonizing over the perfect touch to putting. He never lounged on his couch in front of the holoprojector with a beer and a joint like those tier 1 educated slobs, and sponges, who couldn’t even feed their kids without a charity donation. He was always either in the office or on the putting green, and truth be told, he was on the green more, because that’s what it took to be a winner in life. Hard work, dedication, practice, and the vision to live in the present shot.
That’s why Mr. McFlintlocke was a world-renowned philanthropist, and Devon was just a lowly clerk, who will hardly find enough in her 401k to scrape through the first seven years of retirement, and after that she’ll live on charity. There simply is no substitute for opportunity. Devon only ever really had one, and she nailed it.
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