Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a pretty devastating thing when something that has been dawning on you slowly over time — months, maybe even years — finally hits you with the full force of a revelation, an epiphany.

It just dawned on me yesterday that I absolutely detest my job.

In one sense, it's a relief finally to admit this to myself. I don't know how it goes with the rest of you — there might be as many different reactions to similar circumstances as there are individual people to react to those circumstances; or maybe there are only a few, two or three, types of reactions and perhaps, for all I know, mine is in the majority, is how most folks would try to cope — but in my own case, I spent a lot of time lying to myself about how I feel about my job because telling myself that I liked it, or, on really bad days when I couldn't quite pull off the verb "like", that it wasn't that bad, just made it easier to drive to my job every morning, as I knew I had to, and endure every bleakly soul-crushing and despair-filled minute of working at a place I couldn't admit to myself I hated.

It's what you do to survive.

No, wait. Not "you".

I.

I wrote "you" in that sentence above but I don't know if this is how "you" feel or would deal with a similar situation or even, for that matter, who I mean by "you"; and so I should really make an effort to own what I'm saying here and not cop out by implying "you would behave thus", as though this were somehow impersonal, as though this were happening to some unnamed other, someone else; it's happening to me and it is how I feel and so simple, basic honesty dictates that I speak true by saying "this is how I dealt because I hate my job".

My job is not particularly difficult or particularly time-consuming; I am not compelled to work odd hours or weekends; I get vacation, sick and personal time ... I could go on for quite some time facilely listing the various "advantages" and "benefits" of my job but the very fact that I can do that betrays that I have been doing so in my own head for quite some time in a desperate effort to stave off the realization that I utterly hate working where I work. Because it's all true: The benefits and advantages that I have listed in my head numerous times are all real; there are any number of jobs out there that are far worse than mine, that are more physically demanding, that involve working longer hours for less money and zero benefits ... and that's part of the reason I lied to myself about how I feel about my job. There are people way worse off than I am. What right do I have to whine and complain about my job? What right do I have to hate it?

Because all of that is true, too. But the fact remains that I do hate it and that fact may be far more revelatory of a deep flaw in my character than it is of the nature of my job and that, I realize, is also part of the reason I couldn't admit I hate my job — what does it say about me that I hate and can barely abide this relatively cushy job? Or, to be more blunt, only a whiny pussy would feel he has the right to complain about a job like this.

And that may be true too. And I didn't want to see myself that way and so I lied to myself about how I felt about my job.

But from here, from where I sit, my job does not seem cushy; it feels, in fact, like a plague, a curse. And, not being what you might call a disinterested and objective party in all of this, I'm in no position to say whether that's because my situation is truly as bad as I feel it is or because I am, in fact, just a whiny pussy who should learn not just to suck it up, but to be glad of what he has.

So I can't say whether or not I have a right to feel this way. All I can say with any authority is it's how I feel.

And I've been a bit vague, I realize, as to just why I feel this way about my job, and so I will attempt to articulate just what it is I find so contemptible about it, which, oddly enough, has nothing to do with the job itself per se as it does the people I work with.

Not the public. As a reference librarian, I have to deal with the public all the time, and it can be trying at times, but that is only to be expected.

Not even necessarily the people in my own department because as webmaster I'm pretty much left to myself in IT.

But I'm going to let discretion be the better part of valor here and revert back to form, i.e., vagueness, just in case; because I know I am pretty much stuck with this job unless something comes along or I can find some other position somewhere far from where I currently work — which latter is unlikely, given the current economic situation.

But I will say that I am currently forced to work with people whom I consider to be extremely contemptible, people from whom I have to be able to extract reliable information in order to do my job as webmaster ... people who, for reasons I can't begin to fathom, fight me every step of the way in my attempt to get this information in a timely and usable fashion and then ...

Well, I'll just leave it at that.

I don't work to make friends, but there are 3 or 4 people at my job whom I actually like.

Most others I am basically indifferent to, which is fine. I assume they are indifferent to me, too. It's a job, after all, not a social club.

But there is a core of selfish, self-serving and self-righteous people there whom I find both personally and professionally contemptible, for whom I have feelings that verge on actual hatred, one of whom, through typical backhanded dealings, has just leaped to the forefront of that group.

16 comments:

  1. Preaching to the choir here. The description of the your feelings toward the situation is exactly what I felt for 6 years.

    When my current employer offered me a job, I believe it took me 0.000001 seconds to decide to take it.

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  2. Did I write this post? '

    It doesn't help that everyone keeps saying you should feel lucky to even have a job in this economy. Doesn't make the 40 hours a week I'm here suck less. I'm still trying to figure out how I can get into the beer tasting industry. If anyone knows of any openings, I'll be there in two shakes of a dog's tail.

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  3. @Lauren - ... beer tasting industry ... I'll be there in two shakes of a dog's tail.

    You and me both, sister.

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  4. I'm pretty sure you'll never find a job where you call everyone Fucktards all day long, or where you can use your vehicle as a weapon. Maybe the vehicle weapon thing is viable, but i'm not sure there are openings in the Taliban, what with the economy and everything. besides, you'd have to sell your goat to buy a few pounds of fertilizer and a gallon of bleach, and we know how much you love your goat.

    I kinda think you are acting like a bit of a pussy, but I was one who was in your shoes 6 years ago, so I quit my job and started a Landscape consturuction company. We were relatively rich before the company started, now we are stone cold broke, in high debt with a huge line of cresit attached to our huge mortgage and happier than we have ever been!

    You'll figure it out...

    Just remember to play. There will always be someone to do your work when you are gone, but no one will play for you. (Dr, Ken Beebe)

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  5. The questions to ask yourself are: what can I do to make this job suck less and why am I not doing them?

    Now that I've got that psychobabble crap out of the way (and remember, I've NEVER been gainfully employed), on to why my life sucks more than yours:

    A woman started a conversation with me. This never happens, so of course, I took it as an opening toward a deep and meaningful relationship. It was in a Home Depot. She was wearing a denim vest and Birkenstocks and had a mullet. She was listening to k.d. lang on her i-pod. She was picking out a clawhammer and complaining that the grip was designed for a man; what was she looking for? Something shaped like Jodie Foster's fist, I'm guessing.

    Still, she's miles ahead of anyone I've dated recently.

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  6. "selfish, self-serving and self-righteous people"

    Aren't they EVERYWHERE?! I hate their pretentious nature.

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  7. Ugh sorry about the crappy situation. It's hard when your coworkers are the ones making you miserable because there's not much you can do about that except try to keep your interactions with them to a minimum when possible.

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  8. My general employement seems to last three years or so and I get either bored or start to loathe getting up in the morning to go to work. I think I just need a change every so often and you do too.

    You can start looking for a new job while working at your own. IT guy? You should be able to work almost anywhere.

    By the way - I just passed my 3 year anniversary at my current job and I don't have a strong urge to leave yet...

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  9. I won't bore with my thoughts on this and just say I do not think you are being a whiny pussy, and I think you know me well enough by now to know that I would tell you if I did.

    I am sure you know what needs to be done and will do it. I left an abusive job relationship of almost 10 years (sounds more dramatic than it is, I assure you) to become a teacher, but like you I had responsibilities and a lifestyle that I needed to maintain, so I waited until I had a job to go to. Just coming to acceptance of what was really happening and what needed to be done was enough to maintain my sanity until I could go without my family suffering. (Of course, I took a pretty significant pay cut for the first 5 years, had to pay for more education, and now am vilified by most Americans as the root of all idiocy, but I digress...)

    Run, brew beer, go fishing with your son, and enjoy time with your wife, that is your real life not the 8 hours a day you spend there.

    Take care of yourself, friend.

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  10. For you to vent as much in this post as you have, it must really be bad, and I'm really sorry to hear that. I agree that there's no job that's great all the time, but there have to be better options out there. Then again...grass is always greener, right?
    As for other advice, I guess I'd suggest making the absolute most of the treasured moments away from the work idiots, but I already know how much you cherish and treasure those people found at home, so I think you're already doing it.
    I guess I just hope it works out, and I admire your candor on the subject. Hang in there and
    nothing changes if nothing changes

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  11. What really blows is that in this day and age even if you DO like your job (like I pretty much do for the most part!), the company still tries to stick it to us as much as possible. I know they hire people just to sit around and figure out ways to make our jobs absolute SUCK the most! Oh yeah, they're called HR people!
    Like everyone else states. Figure out what makes it suck and fix it if possible. Otherwise, just stick it out like the rest of us hard working Americans!

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  12. Feel better? Sometimes a good, solid rant makes things a bit more bearable. And sympathy, too, so here goes: Sorry to hear that your work life sucks cat ass.

    Hang in there.

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  13. Been there. Rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself, knowing I was killing myself doing the shift work, I made some changes. Took a 10K pay cut to get a job in the same place that wasn't shift work. Let my biorhythms settle out. Got more education. Started a different job. I've never regretted doing it.

    You said "because I know I am pretty much stuck with this job unless something comes along or I can find some other position somewhere far from where I currently work — which latter is unlikely, given the current economic situation."

    Saying this does not make you a whiney pussy. Coming to this realization is just the first step. If you do nothing, then you will be a whiney pussy. You need to figure out what to do to make a change, and support your family while doing it. That change might be to suck it up till you can retire. Or go out and find or create a way of making enough of a living to support yourself that gets you out of bed in the morning.

    Looking forward to reading about how it goes.

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  14. I agree with most of your commenters, especially Dr. Nic and Keith. But since I am an unemployed student, I'll just leave my words of wisdom at that. Pitifully few, but at least they're true.

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  15. Hey, Dude! We should totally start a band! Like, all Who covers. It'd be awesome. You could tour with teh Bride and pocket-size fisherman and we'd all live out of trailers with roadies doin' all the grunt work.

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  16. @SteveQ: What would the name of the band be? My vote is for the F*ckt@rded Whoo-er and the Nuts@cks. You could be one of the Nuts@cks.

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