Saying I am frustrated would be an understatement at this point.
The other day, I had my annual review at my job. The one where every second of every day makes me wonder whether or not I actually have a job. The one where I have a constant feeling of doom, a constant feeling of being on edge, a constant feeling of not being allowed to be myself. And whenever I begin to have these feelings for longer than a day, I get irritable. And when I get irritable, good luck trying to get anything out of me beyond curt words and gritting teeth.
This has always been a flaw of mine. I don’t…do well with faking. This isn’t to say that I can’t pretend, or that I don’t have an imagination. I was in theatre for years. I’m a writer. Etc. But when it comes to faking my personality, compromising who I am, or being pressed to impress for no reason other than to be a Stepford Wife? Be prepared for a good ol’ fashioned middle finger.
I do my best to keep my jaw clenching to a minimum, just get it done. It makes for a rather depressing 8 hours. Especially when most of the day I just think about how I’d rather be doing anything else.
My job is not a tough job. It is a boring job. It is a job doing the grunt work of everybody else. It is being consistently forgotten in every element of the position…job. In addition to all this joy, I have dotted line bosses who get to dictate how I fare in my job with none of the other responsibilities of being a leader–like keeping morale up, or being a mentor.
Everyone has gripes in their job. Of course they do. Even the best of jobs will have issues. And while I have issues with the above, they don’t come close to a comparison of working around people who believe that feeling the above is normal.
I firmly believe that one should not be miserable in something they have to spend 40 hours doing. I also firmly believe that you do what you need to do. And I finally firmly believe that you never, ever, ever give up on your dreams, on what drives you to be a better person, and you take your chances to keep that dream alive. You know. As long as you aren’t killing/raping/pillaging in the process. Sorry, vikings.
During my annual review, my boss and I lightly discussed the conversation we have about every two weeks: my satisfaction with working at the company. Or, rather, my dissatisfaction. I did the job so well when I started a couple of years back. I managed projects with more gusto. I jumped on tasks quicker. I was better on the follow up. What had changed? Why was the past six months so different from the past two years? What made my work so inconsistent lately?
None of this was news to either of us. We’d been having talks the past couple of months about this. And I always come to the same conclusion, which is completely opposite of what my boss comes to.
My boss believes that I haven’t hit the corporate maturity yet. “There are two types of workers, Mallory,” he tells me. “You are either working to live or you are living to work. Very few get to live to work, get to do what they are passionate about. The rest of us are working to live.”
In his mind, I have two options in life.
I believe that corporate life is boring. Sitting in a chair fake smiling for 8 hours a day, staring at a calendar to play Jenga with appointments, and having my Biggest Win of the day being that I managed to score a conference room for 40 people at the last minute?
In my mind, I have infinite options in life.
It was the realization of why it could never work. I have a legitimate different view on the world. My value of life experiences are much higher on the scale in comparison to making money. We don’t have much time to live, so why would I spend most of it making copies? Filling fridges with beverages? Having a monthly blood sacrifice so Outlook won’t crash on you in the middle of writing an important email?
My boss would reply that you would use that time to gain worth in the company, grow, make your way to the top. If you believe in a company, then you do need to go through certain steps. Obviously.
But the most important part for me…I don’t like who I am at this job anymore. I’m angry more often, stressed, bored out of my mind, constantly wishing I was doing something else. Most of the things I do are things that would be done just as quickly if they were to do it themselves. I feel no pride in what I do at my job, no zest. I can’t even sleep properly anymore.
To work in a job where you already feel as if you’re not a fit, and have every moment confirm this feeling…of course I wouldn’t produce my best work in this state. And trying to talk with someone else (i.e. my boss) who doesn’t understand where I’m coming from, you feel as if you’re the gray duck.
When he asked me about my future plans, I kept my mouth shut. There is currently too many issues going on at the company right now for me to trust laying my cards on the table. It was a gross feeling. It bothered me. The whole review bothered me. The past six months bother me.
I got home, set my items down, and sighed. I was tired. Tired of not having a facade, tired of fighting putting on a facade. I changed my clothes, then went for a Reading Walkabout. I came home with a clearer mind and an open heart. I took a deep breath. I practiced my ukulele.
Leaving my job isn’t running away. Although leaving the country to travel is something I want to do, encourage others to do, and ultimately hope to do forever, I had still felt that I was being a coward for not taking my place in the corporate ranks. Physical and mental exhaustion can do that to a person. My review allowed me to see that going down my path isn’t being a coward. It’s being true to myself.
I’m used to people telling me their stories. I get their moments, advice, interpretations, and I keep them for later. I love asking questions, and I love the feeling of when someone comes to a realization through our conversations. Immersing myself in someone else’s moment, fictional or not, is a second nature for me.
This was my own way to detox from the person I wasn’t enjoying any longer, the job that started it all, and becoming comfortable once again within my own story. And it wasn’t going to include the job misery that is “normal”.
You know when you’re reading a book or a piece of fanfiction, watching a show or film, and it just feels like a character is out of their element, that the plot or script isn’t working because the character would have none of that shit happening? That the character is saying words that just don’t feel right coming out of their mouths because they should be saying “Fuck that!” instead of “I’m scared, help!”, but some rando is forcing that behavior just so the plot can move in a certain direction?
People should choose the “Fuck that!” option more often. Passion matters, and life is too short to waste on being scared and helpless. People are going to say things, they’re going to have their own opinions, and they’re going to try to be lobsters to tug you back. Your basic recipe for frustration. People have done it to me, and people will continue to do it. They’re probably scared/helpless themselves.
But, you know what? I don’t care. Fuck that. I’m going to Scotland.