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A little less than a happy high
I am Jack's wasted life
I’m sitting in my office drained of all motivation, and it’s only now just 9AM. I’m looking at piles of paperwork... cases for my “Drawers of Human Tragedy,” results for my “What, Are You Kidding?” reviews, and files related to my “You’re the Lead on This Because It’s Not Critical” project. It all seems pointless. I’ve been doing this job since I got out of school, and it stopped growing with me some five years ago at least. I’m bored, have no prospects, and I’m really starting to resent working for The Man.

I’m burnt out.

I remember finding a career help book a long while back that had a chapter entitled Burn Out? Cop Out! Maybe, but there’s a very real part of me that feels utterly defeated. Taking stock of my situation isn’t easy. I have specialized knowledge that really can’t be transported to another field, I’ve developed a reputation of having good and bad days with my supervisors, and I’m faced with a job market that’s as bad or worse than the recession of the early 90’s. My special friend has said that this is not a job for young people, and I’m beginning to see why. Sooner or later, everyone internalizes the “I’ve just come here to die” attitude that seems to be an institutional affliction. Stay here long enough and your spirit will be broken.

I ended up having a long conversation recently about how my tenure here was just another manifestation of a series of expectations that have been laid upon me. Go to school. Get a good job. Get married and have the requisite number of children to populate my suburban home. My mother’s dream. My great rebellion was in my insistence in studying history instead of finance. Undergraduate management programs are vocational training, I insisted stubbornly. She was vexed, but she won in the end. In spite of all of my grand ideas about education, or about the pursuit of the Self, I have shouldered her anxieties and her dreams. I am here because I couldn’t stand the uncertainty it would have taken to pursue one of my wacky dreams. I am here because self-doubt kept me from considering becoming a scholar or studying raku in Japan or pursuing my interest in historical restoration. I am here because I had it beaten in my head that plumbers make more than writers. The irony which no one bothered sharing is that plumbers make more than bureaucrats, too. The grand irony is that while I’ve fallen into the path that my mother chose, the way it has manifested itself is feeble and barely recognizable as what it was that she wanted.

There’s a man who graduated with me who recently fulfilled a dream of scaling the world’s seven tallest mountains. On his final trip, he got married on the mountain to a woman whom he had met on a previous expedition. It was a pretty remarkable achievement that was noteworthy enough to warrant an article in our alumni magazine. As I read the article, I kept glancing at his picture at the top of the page, trying to remember why this man looked so familiar to me. He wasn’t someone I knew from my immediate circle of friends, and I couldn’t recall ever having had classes with him. I kept reading and suddenly remembered that I regularly saw him walking on campus with his dog. You see, he’s blind.

I feel very small and weak.

Current Mood: depressed depressed
Current Music: Poe, "Haunted"

9 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 16th, 2002 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
P- Only you have the ability to make me want to kill myself so early on a Monday morning. But I do know exactly what you are saying, and I agree completely. The only other thing in this regard that I hate more than the constant begging on every corner at Christmas is when you go to the movies and the theater corners you and passes around a canister for you to donate to whatever fund they are advertising on the big screen at that moment. Have you had this happen to you? I'm sorry, but at $9.00 a ticket I don't want to be harassed with TV commercials and with the theater forcing me to cough up a couple extra bucks for a charity I do not wish to contribute to. I already feel as if I've been robbed for paying so much $ for the pleasure of sitting in a dirty seat with strangers talking, laughing and coughing all around me.

Hmmm I think I might have some pent-up aggressions to let out.......
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2002 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that really wasn’t the effect I was going for.

I’m assuming that the rest has something to do with Friday’s post. Truth be known, I used to give to the various and sundry who asked (whether street corner or official movie canister) on a pretty regular basis. I don’t fault folks for asking, I just have a problem if in the asking there is a conveyed expectation or judgement. I don’t make assumptions about what brought someone to ask me for change, so I generally appreciate it if I don’t have assumptions made about me when I politely decline.

We all have our pet peeves I guess.
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: December 16th, 2002 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know too many people whose names begin with "S" for any of us to sign a note like that. Wasn't me (just thought you should know)
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2002 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it matters so long as I can keep you all straight.
riverbank From: riverbank Date: December 16th, 2002 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

raised on mad max

so true!

boredom run rampant in the work world. trying to entertain myself i have two sometimes three jobs and i usually change at least one a year.

i have the same fears of uncertainty that have keep me away from traveling. in this state of constant responsibility, i keep a lifestyle i don't really like. i'm in constant fight to gain courage and confidence to truely make my own choices.
komos From: komos Date: December 16th, 2002 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: raised on mad max

So was I... but don't tell, k?

So how do you do it? What are the little things that you do to keep yourself going? I'm really stretching here because it feels like all of my coping mechanisms are starting to come apart at the seams.

And then there's the "everything I want has an excuse" problem. I kind of crumble when I hit barriers.

Why is it so hard?
riverbank From: riverbank Date: December 16th, 2002 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: raised on mad max

don't know why it's hard. i seem to build up to a major/minor crashing through the wall. it's really hard for me to imagine being in a job as long as you apparently have. my longest job is 3 years and that's got it's own fucked up things (like driving up to two hours to get there, only to put lables on postcards and copy tapes all day). now that i've got my xmas bonus, i'm really got to get busy looking for something closer. anyway...i think this deciding what you want and going for it, is something that people who have some sort of spirit inside have to stuggle with again and again, to do something good for ourselves. to find a way we should be living cause we only live once. (now i've gotten into the cliches)
komos From: komos Date: December 17th, 2002 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: raised on mad max

There were many factors that have led me to cling to this job, least of which being that it was stable. The perceived need for the perception of stability is one of the demons I wrestle with. I know that there is a huge sacrifice made in its pursuit. I also know that the perception is an illusion, and that nothing offers surety. Fighting the need is fighting my programming, though, and as much as I intellectualize it, the fear at some point takes hold.

Just an excuse, though.

I think that the big D for me has been all about that creative “spirit” fighting to make itself known and my more careful and plodding self doing everything in its power to squelch that. (I could fit in a whole LotR reference here, but that would be cliché, too.) I don’t know who’s winning, but the fight is taking its toll.

riverbank From: riverbank Date: December 17th, 2002 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: same page

that just might be my great fight as well. sometiems i see clearly my two sides. my forsaking creative life for sence of stability over and over again. do i really need that stability that isn't that stable anyway? after all play, discovery, and creating are what i really want to do with my life.
9 comments or Leave a comment