I have waded through another Monday at My Crummy Job.
I can’t believe my life has deteriorated to this. I don’t even thank God it’s Friday anymore, because on my way home I am already dreading Monday. I need like a year off to unwind, then a year to travel and have a little fun, then a year to get ready to go back. Then I’d like to work half days, from home, for twice as much $$.
I’ve been struggling with the Protest Song for the past few weeks, thinking this shouldn’t be taking so long. I don’t remember spending this much time on songwriting before, and I actually wrote a lot of songs. The quality may have been questionable, but there was no arguing with the quantity. Then I remembered: I used to sleep until ten, have breakfast and drink coffee until noon, and do music all afternoon – listening, playing, writing. Then, when it was time to go to work in the evening, guess what? I played and sang until one in the morning. My whole day was music. No wonder I wrote songs faster. And I was having a splendid time, too. These days I have to make an appointment with myself. Songwriting? Well, the whole day is out, until after 6 PM. Maybe I can squeeze you in from 7:20, after the yard work, until 7:55. I’m sorry. That’s all the free time we have for you and your protest song.
Whose idea was it for me to spend my last years doing meaningless work that I actively dislike, and doing such a fine job of it, too? I am already performing the work of two-and-a-half people. And the longer I stay at My Crummy Job the more work I do, even though I could not possibly care less about any of it. Why do the jobs that pay well have to be so freakin’ crummy?
And what’s up with those guys who say “I love my job! I am so happy to be here, I’d do this for free!” In my experience, those guys are either the owners and CEO’s, or they have high-powered rifles out in their cars. They are either getting rich off my labor, or they are nutcases planning to blow me and half my co-workers away, including themselves. I only hope their aim is true.
I made a smart remark on Emma Goldman’s War On Error blog the other day, and she came back at me with a quote from a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I am not making this up). Go read the post, because Goldie is quite literate and persuasive and if you play your cards right she might one day make you a French pastry, and I don’t mean turn you into an eclair. But here’s the quote, anyway:
So much of what we ordinarily do has no value in itself, and we do it only because we have to do it, or because we expect some future benefit from it. Many people feel that the time they spend at work is essentially wasted–they are alienated from it, and the psychic energy invested in the job does nothing to strengthen their self. For quite a few people free time is also wasted. Leisure provides a relaxing respite from work, but it generally consists of passively absorbing information, without using any skills or exploring new opportunities for action. As a result life passes in a sequence of boring and anxious experiences over which a person has little control.
Right on, Mr. Csikszentmihalyi! But what can you do to fix it, once I have become addicted to the money? I have heard that you should “…do what you love. The money will follow.” I did that, and the money followed someone else.
OK, sorry. I’ll feel better by morning. And I’ll feel great on payday. And I’ll be walking on air when I finish the Protest Song and record it and post it here. Don’t think you can escape this. In fact, you should all start thinking of nice things to say right now. You might want to jot down some thoughts in advance, because if you take too long when the big day arrives, it won’t seem spontaneous. It’s best to get your awestruck adlibs ready in advance.