Monday, December 31, 2012

Nine to Five

We're gonna get a little serious again this week - but sorry, I need to get some things off my chest:

I've now been employed for over half a month, and BOY am I exhausted.

Pause for laughs.

The sad and true fact is I am genuinely exhausted. Aaaaaaand I might hate my job. Now I know what you're thinking - "Alex, didn't you spend a great deal of time complaining about your lack of job? No matter where you are, you'll find something to be unhappy about. Is it possible that you are just an unwavering grump who will never EVER be happy under any circumstances? "


Um. It's possible. I hope that's not actually true, because being permanently unhappy is just a terrible trait to have from an evolutionary standpoint.

But I don't think I'm incredibly off-base in that when I was searching for a job I was also searching for some small kind of fulfillment - I thought having a job would make me feel less adrift - and that's not what I'll be getting with my current job. Which, for the record, I'm very grateful for - should anyone work-related stumble on this I'd absolutely hate for them to be offended. I needed a job, and it's not my workplace's fault that I quickly discovered the type of work doesn't stimulate me in any way whosoever. It works for some people - I'm just not one of those people. There's no creativity anywhere - not a spark, not a drop. And it's not as though I thought there would be... but only after actually working do I realize how the days fly by and I feel like I've done nothing that I care about. And that's sorta the death of me.

I have this horrible nightmare fear of me working there the rest of my life, droning on and on forever. In a previous blog I had an awful precognition:
I just suddenly felt a part of an endless monotonous drift towards a life with no excitement. I had a vision of the future, That's So Raven-style, only instead of seeing myself falling into a cake or dressed up as old lady like Raven usually does, I saw myself not working or worse, working at a job that I cared noting about and fulfilled me in no way, coming home every night and watching TV, nothing gratifying, nothing to look forward to, and nothing to feel good about until the day I die.
And while certainly overdramatic, it's coming true just a little bit. I get up at seven so I can be at work at 8:30, by the time I get home it's six PM - I eat dinner, watch some TV and then I need to get to bed so I can get up early for work the next morning. Where does the time go? My work certainly doesn't come home with me, I don't think about it once I leave, so looking back my week seems like I did nothing. I barely have any time to think, and on the weekends I'm so tired that I don't want to go out or anything; I'm so happy that I get to stay home. The week passes and I think, "What was the point? What did I do? What is any of this for if I'm not even working towards anything?"

Like I said, jobs like this work for some people. I look around at the people I work with; I barely know any of them, a couple I've been introduced to. A lot of people are young-ish, and as they go about their work and mention how long they've had the job, I wonder - did they have some burning, deep passion once? Did they want something more exciting, something with imagination? Was that passion snuffed out over time? Will that happen to me? Or am I just a different breed than they are? I overheard one guy talking in between work banter about something funny that happened to him in college, and I suddenly felt a knot in my stomach - this guy had been in college not too long ago... and now, here he was, no longer speaking like a college student but instead an incredibly dull old person. Working in an office is watching young people become old right before your very eyes.

I feel like whatever it is that makes young people old, whatever it is that snuff's out people's fires - I think it's creeping up on me. I feel like it's wrapping its hands around my neck as I writhe and thrash about, trying to throw it off. I literally had to say to someone the other day, "the copier is out of toner". What's happening to me? Who am I? I fight it. I never let myself think of work as anything other than temporary... because maybe not doing that is how it gets you. My tasks at work are fairly menial, and so I'm very fortunate that I am, for the time being, allowed to listen to my iPod while I do those tasks. As I stand at the scanner, I bob my head a little to the beat. As I walk down the rows of desktops, I imagine bursting out into song, singing along to my music, then pushing all the computers off the desks and jumping atop one and dancing. I dance and dance, defiant - unleashing the joy that I have no place for all week at work and have accordingly been saving up for some time. The others in the office stare, stunned. They don't understand what I'm doing.

It's worth noting, of course, that I barely know these people - they could be incredibly vibrant and passionate outside of the office. I'm certainly different at work than I am at home. But I have a sinking suspicion I feel differently than a lot of them. I think a lot of them think this is a perfect job for them. And, for the record, if I am a different breed, I definitely don't think I'm a better breed. I respect everyone in there - I wish I could work like that and be satisfied. Life would be so much easier - I'd already have figured it all out. I'd be happy.

But does this make me a privileged asshole? Shouldn't I just shut up and be happy with the work? Maybe yes.

But I'm not. And I can't really change how I feel, as much as my life would be easier if I could. And remember my vision of the future? It's now been updated: I flash-forward and hear people talking - "Remember Alex? What ever happened to him? He was kinda funny and smart and creative? Oh, he never amounted to anything. I think he works in some office somewhere." And it makes me sick to my stomach... the idea that I never become anything. That all my potential just fizzles away as others soar.

It's gonna keep me up at night. So I need to do something - because my weeks are going by with nothing of note, nothing to look forward to, nothing to be excited about. I'm thinking maybe I'm gonna write a full-length screenplay; in the past I've written a short screenplay and a television pilot, but maybe I should take on a big project... because I need something to do in my life that makes me feel at all good or intelligent or fun or creative or smart or witty or special or like I have something to contribute. Without that something, I feel like my soul is shriveling up like a raisin. And not even a chocolate-covered raisin - just a wrinkly, chewy little raisin.

Something besides this blog, of course.

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