Today I go back to my old job.
I worked there for about 6 and a bit years, and I’ve “returned” now a couple of times. This morning I have that same dread I’ve had at other times, but it’s tempered with more self-knowledge and understanding of the Steff Cosmoverse and how to navigate it, y’know?
The dread is this: “Oh, you can’t cut it in the real world. You need to go back to the safety of your little captioning cave. You couldn’t climb the corporate ladder, so here you are: Back.”
I think it’s unavoidable for someone to have that sense of “wow, I must suck because I’m back again” when returning to a situation like this, so I’m not giving myself a hard time for going there. I wish I wouldn’t, but I’m not going to pile onto the already-existing crap sandwich with more guilt and derision.
Hell, that’s the society we live in. I was raised on Bret Easton Ellis and the yuppyification of North America. We’re the original “me” generation. We came of age with cell phones, personal stereos (the three stages: Walkman, Discman, iPOD). We’re all about image, baby.
So, I go traipsing back to the old cubicleland and it’s natural Eau de Failure should be lingering about me this morning.
But then there’s the “fuck you, I’m 34 and I know better than that” voice that crops up and says “the rat race is for pussies who can’t make it out there without excessive approval”. It’s the voice of the chick who grew up listening to the Ramones and Dennis Leary, who thinks she’s seen both the workaholic life and the successful slacker life, and has the scars to show from each.
I mean, I’m 34 in five days. I saw my mother die at 57. This notion that every person gets a golden age, every person’s gonna retire by 60 and live a life of their choosing is a pretty fucking foolish notion. If I go early, I’ll be going after living a life on my terms. I saw myself looking at my most recent boss and thinking, “Wow. That’s what happens when you let life pass you by.” She works all the time. I remember her sitting in my apartment, looking at my intricately decorated pad and saying, “You have too much time on your hands” and realizing she, in a phrase, summed up the difference between she and I.
See, I always thought I had too little time on my hands. If I was unemployed for the REST of my life, I’d be able to fill every single day. I do not need to be validated by work. In fact, I often feel invalidated by work.
So, going back, tail between the legs, to this comfortable old job of mine is me literally putting my money where my mouth is and deciding that, right now, living life is more important to me than selling out. If I’m going to need to work for a living, then, well, this captioning job of mine is the literary intellectual’s equivalent of Kevin Spacey taking on a burger shack job in American Beauty when he decides he’s missed out on too much of life, and being 20 was the best he’d ever been.
Yeah, I’m cutting and running to the security of Easy Street. The question, though, is why aren’t more people?
PS: I’m fighting illness. I’m hoping like hell it’s just the bank of clouds and moisture over the Pacific that’s fucking with my head. Heroes is on tonight and I wanna watch! So, to steal strength and shore up motivation, I’m drinking copious coffee. The good thing about this job is, I go in whenever the fuck I want to. Means I can write when the whim hits. It’s 9:25. At 10 I’ll shower and go. Nice. :) A week ago I’d already be slammed with customer demands and drama. Ha. Bliss.