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Apparently it’s yearly review time here at work and upon looking at my bank statement this morning, something was peculiarly different. Moments later, my (good, non-emoticon) boss called me up and informed me that my performance over the last year earned me a raise (this is normal, I think pretty much everyone gets one).
It’s almost as if they could hear my soul dying from inside my cubicle and decided to do something about it.
But how much is this raise? Is it enough to raise me out of my enraged and depressed funk in which I’m pretty sure I am wasting my youth, energy, and, ultimately, my life? Is it enough for me to rethink this office job stuff?
No. It’s a $24 bump per paycheck. $12 a week. Not even enough to push me into the coveted four-figure paycheck. In other words, it is the most demoralizing raise ever. It is two movie tickets (no popcorn, no sodas). It is FIVE PERCENT of my monthly student loan bill. Most importantly, it does not compensate for the extra work, effort, time, and energy I’ve had to put into my job.
And did I mention that we’re only allowed one raise per year? And that my job has no upward mobility? This is the last bump I’ll see for a while.
The good news is, though, that it serves as a kind of wake up call for me. Even if I am rewarded for my hard work at the office, the reward only further reflects everything else about my job. Four percent of a pile of shit shit is a marginally bigger pile of shit. If I’m going to be poor anyway, shouldn’t I be poor and happy?
I mean, I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Twelve extra dollars a week is $12 I didn’t have before. But at the same time, it makes me feel like Sisyphus, if Sisyphus was given a spreadsheet to fill out and each time he finished it he was handed a blank spreadsheet.
I think a big change might be coming – I’m just not quite sure how to act yet. Either way, I’m planning on taking a week off from work to simply calm down and evaluate things. Who knows, I might even write a less self-centered and money-focused whiny blog entry. We can only hope for the best.
I woke up to what I would term Monday morning suicide weather conditions. Weak, matte yellow sunlight seeping into the room. Drizzling haze of freezing rain. Cold, muddy stale air. An entire week of office work rolled out in front of me like moldy motel hallway carpeting.
I made my way to the kitchen to quiet our early morning kitty alarm with some Fancy Feast and looked out into our “backyard” – a 10X10 back alley area we don’t even have access to. It is overgrown with dead weeds and dead brambles and features a deflated garden hose. It’s a study in dead foliage and shades of grey.
And there it was, clinging to a bit of crappy chain-linked fence in a crappy New York alley – a huge, bright, yellow rose in full bloom. It was like it was the only thing in the universe that didn’t get the memo that it was a shitty Monday morning in mid-December.
I swear to you, it was glowing with life – surrounded by seeping cracked concrete and cigarette butts and peeling paint – totally unconcerned with its inappropriate location or the inappropriate season.
As I said, I don’t have access to the alley, but I tried to take a picture by leaning out the open window. Although couldn’t capture the detail of the flower, I hope I did capture the contrast it made – or, at the very least, that there was actually a rose blooming outside of my window in Queens two weeks from Christmas.
I suppose I could start extrapolating this small, uplifting event into my overall outlook. Perhaps, I could say, this rose represents what my attitude should be at work or how I should look at life on even the bleakest of days and during my most trying and pessimistic times. That we are all roses, reaching up our chain-linked fences of life – nurtured by littered city dirt and nibbled upon by rats! That even in the darkest winters of our despair, we can blooom!
But instead, I think I should leave it as a yellow rose in my back alley that made me feel a bit better all day long. You should have seen it – I swear it was giving off its own light.
Also – I think “December Rose” would be a really great name for an “accidental” baby girl born to a middle-aged couple. Or the name for the debut album of a pop group made up of has-been female vocal artists who are planning a comeback. Or my new signature scent.