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November 27, 2007 in business, career, careers, depression, etiquette, happiness, self-help, social situations, work | Tags: business, career, careers, depression, etiquette, happiness, self-help, social situations, work | 7 comments
There’s something deeply heartbreaking about returning to work on the Monday after a vacation. It’s a lot like the Monday before you went on vacation, except that there’s no longer anything to look forward to. Even Christmas, which is only a month away, is ruined by the fact that my new workplace duties and responsibilities (paired with my current paycheck and title) start on the first of January.
I’m going to guess that the feeling – the Monday-after feeling – is created because during our string of days away from work, we forget the crappy things that we’ve gotten used to – our familiar daily routine. Perhaps before Thanksgiving I had almost unknowingly resigned myself to a life of spreadsheets and faking smiles but now, after five days of gravy-filled freedom, spreadsheets seem impossible to return to. You know, I feel like an abused kid who isn’t that upset about his childhood until the moment he discovers what he’s been missing out on: candy, go-carts, love.
Today made me wonder: is work usually this bad, or does it seem worse because yesterday I watched five hours of football and ate four different kinds of meat? I’m not sure. As I read an email from my boss informing me that my new second boss, whose wanton use of emoticons I find unsettling, would be calling me to teach me how to “do totals in Excel,” I wasn’t quite so sure. Perhaps today was a perfect storm of things I hate. Perhaps I hate way, way too many things. Perhaps, in exchange for learning something I already know – namely, how to “do totals in Excel,” I could teach my new boss the word “sum.”
On the other hand, my job paid for that Thanksgiving gravy, and for the apartment that sheltered me, and for the cable that allowed me to watch a Lifetime Movie Network marathon that included Too Young to be a Dad and The Truth About Jane. These facts lead me to believe that my job is a necessary evil in my life and, therefore, something that should be ignored to the very best of my ability.
I think I’ve taken some important steps toward this goal of apathy and sliding by in my passionless job, but I’d like to cover more and more ground in the weeks and months to come – it’s actually surprisingly hard to let go of competitiveness and perfectionism and drive. And I’d of course be thrilled if you’d like to join me as long as you have a job where you are treated kind of like a really high-end photocopying machine.
My first step is to stop checking my work email from home under any circumstances. I’ve just trashed the link to the Outlook site on my home computer. I won’t give any more time to work beyond the hours that I am paid for – no extra time at work and no extra time thinking or reading about work. And if you’re thinking that you’d get fired if you stopped staying late or if you didn’t check your messages at night, I think you better start looking for a different crappy job from the one you’ve got.
In summation, tomorrow’s Tuesday – the day that’s exactly like Monday except for the fact that you’re less rested and that you don’t have to give a one-sentence summary of your weekend to everyone who politely asks so that they can then talk about theirs. I’m going to try to go in to work an embrace my totally mediocre and apathetic attitude. And I’m really, really excited about doing an outstanding job at it.