It’s been a month since I wrote anything here and I could pretend like I’ve been busy and you’re my friend that I really just don’t want to hang out with but…nope, I’ve been pretty useless. Unless you consider drinking too much and re-watching 30 Rock to be useful. Since leaving my job behind and moving to Minnesota in the last couple months I’ve gone through the typical range of emotions from unbounded freedom and optimism about a fresh start to crushing disappointment, sadness, and the compulsion to become forever wedded to my new neighbor Lake Superior. But for better or worse for my mental health and general productivity it looks like I will be going back to work next week. I really had no intention of doing this when I was basking in unemployed bliss this summer but funny thing: I forgot that I still need money. And now that I don’t have any I guess it’s time to start earning (read: looking pensively at the article I’m reading to simulate concentrating at work) that pay check again.
This would be fine if not for just one thing: I don’t want to go back to work. No. I really don’t want to go back to work. No. I really, really don’t want to go back to work. No. I really, really, really…well, you see where I’m going here. It’s not so much that I think I shouldn’t go back to work, it’s that there is no part of me that misses, well, anything about the office. Sure, those moments of reliving Office Space or being in a meeting where someone actually uses the term Synergy un-ironically are worth a good laugh, but I’m okay with keeping them as memories. The paychecks? Never that great, I’ve recently weighed their benefit vs Plan B which involves cashing out my 401k, donating plasma, and hoping that “future me” has something better.
I know that I’m grasping at straws here but I’m desperate. And to be honest, you’re no fucking help. Seriously, for anyone that says “if you are that miserable at the office then you should try a new career”, please consider how useless this advice is before offering it next time. Unless of course you are actually offering a job opportunity to me or another lost soul. You know, an opportunity to someone who has no experience whatsoever in this new and better career because they spent their life doing something unrelated. No, you don’t want to take that risk? Then step the fuck off. Also unhelpful is reminding people that everyone hates their jobs. I’ve heard this so many times but I can’t understand how no one has noticed how terrible of a strategy this is to getting through life. If I ended an unhappy relationship and was hesitant about starting a new one would people suggest that it’s a good idea to just go for it because everyone hates their relationship anyway? Hell, if I wasn’t enjoying my sandwich but couldn’t figure out what else to eat, would anyone tell me “Hey, don’t worry about it, everyone hates their sandwich”? WHY THE FUCK DO WE KEEP EATING THESE SANDWICHES?
It’s not only worthless advice but also enforces this idea that other than a minority of people whom miraculously like their jobs that most of us are supposed to be A-OK with detesting something that we spend 40-60 hours a week. That’s insane. I suppose if we were being compensated fairly for our misery it would less depressing, assuming you either could improve your life in other ways with the additional money, or maybe if you save the extra income from your hellish job you could one day stop going and live off your misery-earned savings. But we know that’s not how it works. Not in this great society. Most of us will live paycheck to paycheck doing something mostly forgettable while repeatedly just waiting for the week to be over. Yes, I’m depressed. Why aren’t you?
I don’t want to go full Bernie Sanders/Larry David on you, but the income inequality going on has really gone from a political opinion to something that actually makes me nauseous and question if working for the rest of my life is really worth it. I think what pisses me off the most is, if we are going to have to do something we hate, shouldn’t we all at least be able to make enough money to pay for a place to live? If you were outlining the tenets of any basic society wouldn’t it be food, water, and a place to sleep for starters? You could argue about where plumbing should fit in these rankings but how can we not even get to number three on the fucking list? In one of the richest countries in the world we have to work for decades to afford a down payment on a place to live? Then work for a few more decades to pay off the rest of what we owe on that home. Then, if we’re lucky, we can finally retire from the place we hate going to (but needed to continue going to go to so we could have a place to live) only to soon have to sell the place we finally own just so that we can afford to live a little longer somewhere else. But, hey, life’s not fair. Yep. Why think about how fucked up it is that someone can make (earned is a misnomer for sure) in one day as much money as you would need to live comfortably for a lifetime when you can rely on cliches to hold down your own class?
But it’s not that bad, you could be making minimum wage. Great, someone is more fucked than me. When did that become the symbol of America? Should I really be happy that someone else is struggling worse than me? That sounds pretty depressing in its own right; that people are so pathetic that the only way to feel better about their situation is to compare them to those less fortunate. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the pricks who spread anti-Fight for $15 memes. Well, sure I get it from the rich assholes who actually own the fast foods corporations, but from regular working class folks who say “The cashier at Burger King can’t make $15, that’s barely what I make!” and don’t realize that the problem isn’t someone fighting for their right to a living wage but the vast majority of us who aren’t putting up a fight at all.
I really can’t fathom how minimum wage workers keep going. At worst I’ll be starting a job that pays twice as well and is probably much easier. And if I was actually tempted by this carrot, I also have the potential to move up in the company and make more money; potential that millions of people getting paid too little have no chance of obtaining. I’m not saying they should just give up on life…I’m just saying that I would. Hell, I’m not sure that I’m not giving up on life now. So that probably makes me a quitter. I guess I have to accept that. And that’s the real problem. Maybe it’s just my distorted, depressed, and confused impression, but it seems that everyone else is just better at accepting. At accepting that life is not fair, that everyone hates their job, and that it could always be worse. It’s nice to accept. Accepting is everything and everything is awesome, therefore accepting is awesome. That’s how that works, right? We accept that home ownership for the middle-class is a dying breed, that the Top 1% own more than 90% of the wealth (Feel the Bern!), and that we can delude ourselves that we’re not that poor as long as someone else is poorer. Me? I guess I just need to accept this job so I keep on accepting. Seems worth it, right?