Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Dark Side of the Force

So for a while now I've had nothing to say - I still don't. Let's see what happens when I try to write something while having zero ideas or energy, shall we? The zero energy you can thank my job for (I hate you so much, job) but the zero ideas might just be me. I'm so distracted and exhausted by work that my brain isn't spitting out anything remotely exciting or creative.

Another thing I can thank work for is the slow darkening of my soul.

It's hard to be my normal hilarrrrrrious self while the dark side of the force is nipping at my heels.

At first, when I began at my job and found that most (though not all) people were snappy, rude, and generally agitated and irritable, I wondered why; why would anyone start with agitated? How could you wake up that way? Wouldn't you wake up fairly neutral (with maybe a standard deviation of, say, two on the feelings scale) and then become agitated during the day?

Then it clicked: they're irritable because they work here. This job made them this way.

When the head honcho creates a toxic work space, it trickles down. Trickle-down economics may be horse shit, but trickle-down tension is most definitely a thing. It's displacement. It's the chain of screaming. You feel bad and you can't give it back to those above you, so you get pissy with others. Which is maybe why people at my work think it's okay to snap at me on first request. Listen, if you've asked me to do something ten times and I haven't done it, snap away.* But to just start by snapping? I can't fathom it.

*Though frankly, I would never snap at anyone the way people do at me, because I think rudeness is a disgusting, unnecessary pollution that makes the world a worse place and I have NO PATIENCE FOR IT.

Some people deal with the tension in other ways. A fifty-something man in my office literally started muttering swears under his breath and having a mini tantrum at his desk when I asked him questions about the job I was supposed to be doing. At my work, I've been given no training, so people kindly speak to me like I'm an idiot when I don't know how to do something that there's no earthly way I would know how to do. Sometimes it bothers me that people think I'm stupid, and sometimes I just go, I know I'm smart, I don't care what these assholes think. 

The sad cloud of office life does other weird things to people. The same muttering swearing guy asked me a question about a client, and I told him that the client's family member had cancer. After a moment, he dejectedly said, "I'm probably going to get cancer. My dad had cancer. I'm probably going to get it." Stunned by the most depressing person I'd ever seen, I tried to connect with him by chuckling awkwardly and then telling him, "my dad's dad had cancer", having nothing else to really contribute. "Doesn't look good for you", he said. I quit trying to talk to him after that.

It's bad energy. It's smelly, smelly energy and it's bringing me to a smelly place. Now that I'm being forced (and yes, I do mean forced) to work three out of four Saturdays a month, the weeks blur by, no space for me to do anything of any import in my free time. I'm drained - I showed up at my friend's birthday last Saturday in a complete grumpy work haze - she took one look at me as I walked in the door and said, "okay, you need to start getting more excited like right now". I found myself having real, genuine anger at a waitress who brought me a Pepsi when I had clearly said Diet Pepsi. I got grumbly with my own friends for trying to make plans together when I had already made plans for my single precious day off - as if they could know that. Now I'm being rude to my own friends? My friends are all I've got, and if work is making it so I'm not even happy with them, what's the point of any of it? Not worth it, probably.

I'm becoming one of them. It's a disease, a zombie virus spreading and making us all grumpy angry people. The only reason I'm not completely desolate is because I know something that my bosses don't: I don't plan on being there past the fall. I mean, ideally I'm not there past next month, but finding a job, as I can easily recall, is not easy. But in the fall I know I'm gonna move happily the hell away from this job. So when my co-workers tell me, "after a couple years you get used to it", I laugh in my head. When I hear a co-worker tell me that he's soon approaching his five-year mark - even though he'd made a pact with himself that if he was there for five years he'd have to take a dive out the window - I know in my head there's no way I'll get trapped here. It won't be so bad.

I just have to fight the grumpy. I do not want to be the angry people I work with; I'm not that guy. Anyone who's read any of my blogs could tell you I'm nowhere near mature enough to be a stern office worker. I'm way too silly and weird. Gotta hold on to the silly. And the weird.

My insane nightmare boss - the one who says stuff like this - is constantly ranting and raving and yelling and degrading people, and I've taken to writing down every nutbag thing he says on my notepad, because I think someday it'll be useful to me. It's all gonna come out.

Fight the dark side. Fight the power.

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