Friday, April 4, 2008

The Price We Pay

So there are two ways people pass time in life.

One is having a career which is usually challenging, but in the good, worth-the-sacrifice kind of way. It's anything from being an artist to a lawyer to a gardener or mother. But it's always something that somebody does because of what drives them.

What we do in the meantime are jobs - and having a job sucks. I know this because I have one. It's a very jobby kind of job.

I think there is a reason they call this state after one of the most afflicted men ever recorded in history. Job - stricken Old Testament prophet. Job - source of the majority of affliction in one's live.

Coincidence? I think not.

Yes you get paid. But most of the the time it's doing something you either loathe, are bored to tears with, feel is sucking your soul out of your ears, or something you hate yourself for, or all of the above.

And sadly the jobs that actually pay you enough to, I don't know, PAY YOUR BILLS, are particularly loathsome because the more you're paid the more somebody else doesn't want to do your job. Which really just means that it's a terrible thing. A very terrible thing.

There are a few things that make the concept of a job bearable.

One is the people you work with and the other is your environment.
Benefits are nice, but I think, in terms of the emotional toll a job takes on you those are the only two factors that could possibly curb the tediousness that is your everyday.

I've worked in offices my whole life. I grew up in my father's law office. They're second nature to me but it wasn't until I was a bit older that I realized how utterly ridiculous they are and an expository of the worst that human nature has to offer.

I work with a few cool people. They're real and funny and chill and we all have the same work ethic and it's awesome. One is my supervisor and the other is my partner in my division. But the rest of the people, including our diabolical Ned Flanders (aka- HR man), are bearers of some of the grossest double standards I've ever come across in my life.

They try to paint a picture of a chill "business casual" workplace but what they say and what you're held accountable to are apparently two different things. And what standard you're held to depends entirely on their mood that day apparently. We're supposed to be on time I seriously can't remember the last time two of the three people I'm accountable to have ever been there when they say they're going to be. There is a myriad of other things I could harp on but it would be pointless, silly, and probably wouldn't make much sense to someone who doesn't spend 8.5 hours of their day in my little corner of the world. Needless to say, power games are constantly being played, and people's punctuality is the tip of the iceberg.

It literally makes me sick if I think about it too hard. Because the reality of it all is that I am subjected to that kind of hypocrisy all day everyday. I mean, it might just be a matter of time before it becomes commonplace to me. Put a frog in cold water.... It's beyond me how people live like that. It's a delicate schizophrenia and one I want no part in.

I don't believe in maniacal games or petty office politics and consequently don't play them or understand them and so when they eventually effect me, they hurt three times as much. But how can little else happen when you work in such a place? No wonder people drink. I really understand that on days like today.

I mean - it could always be worse, and I realize that. I could be mining coal or working for Anne Wintour or be a PA on Jerry Springer or clean out porter-potties. But seeing this side of people day in and out is taxing and depressing. Why are there people like this in the world and why do I always seem to end up working with more than one? I mean - one is enough, but we have multiples.

You know when you look at someone and can almost taste how bitter they are about life and can almost hear the jeers of the adolescent boys that teased him all through high school and regularly pantsed him and shoved him into lockers? And you can see that he is still fighting all of them somewhere somehow everyday? You know he still remembers their names and finds himself gripping is steering wheel too hard on his commute home when he thinks about them. He sees them in the faces of the big Company executives who handed him his pink slip when he had just began to think that he was finally getting out of his loser whimper phase he'd been in for 15 years. You know when you can smell the smarm he developed from pitting his divorced parents against each other his whole life just to get what he wants and he is bent on taking out all of that frustration and powerlessness and consequently power-hunger on people like you who are just trying to get through school and have a bit of fun in between?

You know that guy? Welcome to my office -

I need to move to Africa and help AIDS orphans or do something that actually contributes to the Greater Good (not in the Hot Fuzz sense) and work with people who truly care about things other than themselves.

Designer purses, river houses, an office with windows, and being able to stick it to a subordinate and get a way with it doesn't vindicate anything. It doesn't make life worth living and never has. And no matter how much bullying they do, it won't ever even the score of the real battles they didn't have the balls to fight when they came up. All they're doing is making new enemies and proving themselves to be the EXACT type of person that hurt them in the first place.

I am SO glad its Friday.


Liz W. said...

I totally understand and agree with you. I'm able to stick it out in my "job" because of the people (who are mostly fantastic) and the environment (which is always beautiful). If I didn't have those two things, I would be swimming with the fishes right about now...

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