Monday, September 14, 2015

She Works Hard for the Money

I'm trying to decide right now if I'm being a spoiled little brat, a rebel, or a hopeless dreamer. 

This picture of the wonderful George Carlin is all too true. Many years ago I did hate my job, for a long time, and I drank to forget how much I hated my job. 

Well, that's not the full truth. The full truth is that I draaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyynk to forget how much I hated my job. In fact, I drank my bitter sad self all the way to rehab. When I got out of rehab and could see more clearly exactly how much I hated my job (oodles), I promised myself I would never work at a job I hated again.

Hating your job is the worst. You dread the morning. You dread the nighttime because you know the morning is next. You love vacations and weekends with a kind of maniacal desperation so that anything that impedes on them is nothing less than devastating. And you're tired all the time because faking happiness for hours every day is exhausting, the bad kind of exhausting. 

See, there are two types of exhausting. There's the good exhausting that comes after a sweaty muscle-shaking workout, or a marathon sex session, or hauling boxes all day into your dream house.  And then there's the bad exhausting, the kind that comes after endless sobbing because your pet died, or staying up all night to care for a dying relative, or screaming until you're hoarse at your computer because you read the comments after the article even though you swore you'd never, ever, ever do that again.

The good exhausting is good because you wake up knowing you're better for what made you exhausted. And the bad exhausting is bad because it comes from something that keeps you stuck, so you when you wake up, you're still stuck.

It's been many years since rehab, but by now you're probably expecting me to to launch into a rampage to say I hate my job again. But I don't. Not exactly.

Okay, sometimes I do. But I can handle sometimes. Everyone hates their job sometimes because we all have bad days, but the hope is that the suckiness is fleeting. 

What I hate, and what's dragging me down and keeping me bad exhausted, is that I feel like my job is evidence that I'm blowing it. 

I never, ever pictured myself sitting at a desk for the majority of my waking hours, pounding away at a keyboard and answering phones and writing emails. As a teenager, it didn't even occur to me that I would allow such a thing to happen. But guess what I did today? And what I'll do tomorrow? tap tap clickity clickity tap hello thank you for calling have a great day tappity click send tappity delete clickity click fucking tappity tap

Back then, I was well aware that as an adult, I was going to be obligated to sell most of my time to someone else. While that was not how I wanted things to go, there was simply no way out of it. So while I accepted this absurd arrangement, I was determined to sell my time on my own terms and at least try to have a good time doing it. And the world was just so goddamn BIG, and there were so many people and so many things, that there just had to be something out there I enjoyed doing that I could sell. So I would find that thing, I would learn that thing, I would practice that thing, and I would do that thing for someone and they would give me money. 

Holy fucking shit, who knew finding that thing was going to be so fucking hard?

I know many people like me who enjoy doing things they cannot sell. Dancers, actors, photographers, writers, singers, painters...most of us are screwed. We're destined to data entry, table serving, temp gigs, and folding the fall's it skirt on the store-front display. We do these bullshit jobs because we don't have to check our emails on weekends or fly to a conference in Arizona on Saturday. Instead, we can use those evenings and weekends dancing, acting, photographing, writing, singing, or painting. Bullshit jobs also pay bullshit, but we don't care because we're happy creating. It's a balance.


This is what I've always thought, and it's what I've been clinging to for a long time. But I'm losing my grip now, and I am bad exhausted all the time. (caution: the first person to tell me the answer is to quit gluten gets punched in the throat.) I am wildly jealous of friends who have the drive to just do it, all the time. They divide up an eighteen hour day into bullshit job and fulfilling passion/hobby, and then they get up and do it all over again the next day. What the fuck? (Oh, and you parents out there? You scare me. I will never understand how you do bullshit job and chase children all day and then go write an opera. You are crazy.)

I'm starting to panic. A little. I think my age is starting to affect the way I see my bullshit job, not as just a nuisance, but as actual bullshit. But I am so goddamn lucky to have what I have: my health, a fabulous husband, kick-ass friends and family, a couple bucks in the bank. These are not small benefits. 

Every day that I wake up and realize with a flat dread that it's time to go to my bullshit job, I get a little more restless, a little more panicky, and little more bitter. Because every day is another day that I haven't figured out how to do this. I haven't figured out how to find a way to sell my time that doesn't feel like bullshit. This awareness is making me fragile and sullen. This morning I burst into tears - like, sobbing hiccuping tears - because I lost a receipt. My emotions seem to be shooting out of my mouth and my eyes without prior approval. (I am just a peach to live with right now. My poor hubby.)

So am I a spoiled brat because everyone hates their job like George Carlin says, and I should just suck it up and deal with it and be happy that I even have a fucking job, something many people desperately need right now? Or am I rebel because I refuse to settle and instead demand a job that makes me happy and fulfilled?

Or am I a hopeless dreamer because I think this is within my control?

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