How My Illusion of Work Fell Apart

Casey Connelly
5 min readAug 9, 2021

It was the first day at my new job, and I couldn’t wait to start cleaning toilets.

My over-zealous duty represented the modern illusion that many loyal, good-intentioned, and yet naive employees believe: working for a reputable company means more than the job itself. So, I was like all the others when I told myself, “People will respect me for where I work not what I do. Plus, I have to start at the bottom to make it to the top. Right?”

I fell right into this trap as a teenager when I enrolled in the Walt Disney World College Program. But, I’ll get to that later.

The reputation of my employers wasn’t the only thing cushioning my willingness to bow down to practically any task. I also knew a job meant my very own paycheck and independence from mom and dad.

However, as the years passed and I moved from one job to another, a reoccurring theme developed that reshaped my definition of work. Whether it was a huge corporation or a small local nonprofit I always found that the institution’s budget was the biggest concern, not its values. And each one had a marketing department just for this type of coverup. What you perceived on the outside was merely a facade to attract visitors and donors with the ultimate goal of more money.

Disappointment not fulfillment plagued me at each job as I jumped from one respectable institution to the next in hopes of finding a job that felt good inside — I found more of the facade.

Let me get back to my eager days of cleaning bathrooms as an example of this process.

At Disney World, much of the campaign to paint the company as an image of perfection is projected onto the staff or “crew members.” Rigorous training ensures that everyone plays their role in creating a world where dreams come true.

A mission beyond comparison to any other company on this planet, in my opinion.

So, it was quite apparent to me, in the midst of my orientation days, that this was no ordinary place to work.

The language of Disney also exemplified the need to be exceptional. My job title was a prime example.

I was a “magic maker” in the role of a “street sweeper,” which is just a fancy term for janitor. If you’ve…

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Casey Connelly

I love questioning the world we live in through experience. Nothing exists unless you have experienced it. My writing is personal and filled with discovery.