Billy, Clayton and me on stage at The PIT.

Billy, Clayton and me on stage at The PIT.

That face I’m making in this photo, which was taken by my dear and talented friend Keith Huang, and is from one of Harvard Sailing Team’s sketch shows? Is how I feel at my desk job a lot of the time.

Besides my disdain for sitting indoors, staring at a bunch of bright pixels, and smelling copier toner all day, some of the personalities here really drive me crazy. Sure, a few of my coworkers are people I might actually chose as friends in the real world. But a few more of them are people  with whom I wouldn’t dream of spending a moment of my free time. I’m not rude or unpleasant to them, but there’s still a good chance they wouldn’t dream of spending a moment of their free time with me either. You know, different strokes. Offices are like that. It’s like high school. Or family. You’re stuck with these people whether you like it or not.

All that said, I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking about my somewhat negative relationship to this desk job. The truth is, I don’t hate it in the way it’s possible for someone to truly, deeply hate something. Perhaps that’s what I’ve led you (and occasionally, myself) to believe, but it’s really not the case.

Now, I don’t like it, I don’t want to spend my time here, I’d rather be doing a really long list of other stuff with my day. But here I am. Because I have to be. For now. And when I’m operating with mental maturity, I recognize that it’s not that bad. One can do anything for X amount of time.

Something I haven’t addressed much on the blog yet is the impact the current economy could and will likely have on this quest of mine. First, I refuse to let the state of the world deter me from my search. The economy is what it is and I will operate responsibly within its framework. I don’t have another choice. That’s all there is to it.

Additionally, I am more than aware that to have a job at all is a blessing right now. I am employed, with health insurance, and a steady, predictable income. I’m much better off than an unfortunate percentage of the population. That fact does not escape me, nor do I take it lightly.

That’s why I don’t intend to leave this job anytime in the immediate future. I intend to make a plan to leave, but I do not intend to actually leave until I can be sure I’m making a solid decision.

Not only can I count on my salary and benefits, I also enjoy a few perks here, some of which are arguably helpful to me in my quest to leave the job:

  • I don’t have to be here until 10am. Granted, I don’t get to leave until 7pm, which is entirely too late to have a full evening to myself, and finds me scrambling to get to all my practices and shows each week. But a 10am start-time makes my mornings a bit calmer.
  • I can wear what I want. This, as those who know me personally can confirm, is huge for me. I hate wearing “office” clothes. I am not into fancy pants, blouses, dress shoes, or “doing” “my” “hair.” I prefer life in jeans and whatever shirt/sweater is clean. And tennis shoes. (Or ‘sneakers,’ Kevin.) Sometimes I wish I was someone who liked to dress up every day because it seems like it could be fun. Alas, I just don’t. It’s beyond me.
  • I’ve been here for over a year. (Little known fact – I also worked here for a year right after I graduated college. I had a couple jobs in between. Then, last year, I got a call from the office manager here, asking if I was available because they needed someone. I was working as a temp at the time so I took her up on the offer.) Being at a job for a healthy chunk of time earns one a little bit of seniority, which doesn’t hurt when requesting vacation days, calling in sick, or “sick,” or taking occasional trips to the gym on a lunch break.
  • Most helpfully, I enjoy some free time to do personal stuff during the day. It’s not a ton of free time, and I generally try to avoid ogling my facebook page when one of the bosses walks by. But I won’t get into trouble if I’m seen writing a personal email or reading a blog now and again. And let me tell you, I take advantage of this freedom whenever I can appropriately do so. I blog, I email, I facebook, I make personal to do lists, I read CNN dot com – you know, I do my thing. I find that this is the case for almost every office worker I know (perhaps, besides, some members of my mom’s side of the family, who each have the work ethic of a catholic pack-mule). I am lucky to work for a company which recognizes that I will probably inadvertently sabotage their organization if they don’t let me check my personal email. Don’t worry, I am also sure to thoroughly complete all the duties I’m actually paid to do while I’m here each day. (So, spare me the concern, Mom. ;))

Even so, for the last couple months, I have been eagerly creating master plan after master plan to organize my escape route from my career as an office jobber. The constant working and reworking of what I want to do with myself once I am able to leave this job, the list making, the blogging, the conversing is, in and of itself, an incredibly helpful exercise. Almost daily I’ve come up with a new interest to research, a new idea to pursue, a new way to combine the lifestyle I want with the things that make me happiest. Some of them are leads I’m still following, more of them are dead ends, but they’ve all helped to inform this process for me.

And within all that, one thing I keep coming back to is this: I might constantly wish that I could snap my fingers and be *there,* wherever *there* will be that is not *here.* I wished that, too, when I embarked the journey to go back to college to get my degree, and also when I embarked on the the journey to lose 115 pounds. But I could not skip putting in the hours in those situations, nor can I in this one. So if I have to be in some state of professional limbo and work in some environment that does not perfectly suit me while I get my ducks in a row, I suppose it’s best for it to be a limbo wherein I can save money, have health insurance, wear what I want, and research my next job on their watch. Like this one. When I shift my perspective, I realize that this limbo might actually be one of my greatest assets right now.  I am, in essence, being paid to do some part-time mindless paperwork for them, and some part-time trying-to-find-my-dream-job for me. Not a bad set up.

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  1. Pingback: follow my bliss

  2. Pingback: dream a little dream « follow my bliss

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