Caution: readers (all 4 of you) this won't be a funny post. Moments of humor maybe, but this is my attempt at serious writing.
Well, today is my last day at my day job, which is a job I've held for an ongodly year and a half. It's crazy; beyond college, this has been the longest committment I've made in my life. Also, totally just used a fuckin' semicolon. Proud of that.
I've had a salary. I've supported myself in Chicago. I now have a 401K. I (miraculously) passed a drug test. I've woken up at 630 in the morning for more than a year.
And now that's all coming to an end.
This is my last day. I'm blogging, of course, because my Manager has told me to "stay productive." So I'm producing a blog, and this book:
But anywho, I thought, just so in three months, when I've forgotten all of this, I can look back on all this and have learned something, I'd write down a couple reflections on working generally, what was good, what was bad, so that hopefully, going forward, I can find better places to work when I need to.
Let's start with the bad, so we can end with the good:
Things that sucked. Suck. Continually make me hate this place.
A) Getting up early. Some people are just built for this. I am not one of these people. Every time I hear an alarm clock go off at 6:30 AM the options that run through my head are: A) break phone B) call in sick C) just fucking die so I don't have to go through this again tommorrow. Which is not, in fact, a great way to wake up.
So, my ideal job would be one where I could sleep in if I wanted. I can work until 3 am, just not at 8am. Not a deal breaker, really, just a perpetual thorn-in-the-side. Again, I realize some people are built for it, but much like being republican, receiving anal sex, or some strange combination of the two, I'm just not of them.
B) Slow ass computers. Okay, now, when I'm just fucking around and my computer freezes, it's almost karmic. Fine. I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be, I was wasting paid time, fine, slow up and make me reload the page, or check another blog that doesn't have such an epileptic background. Fine.
However, when I'm doing ACTUAL work and the computer stalls, because other computers are to this computer what most human beings are to a particularly stupid jellyfish, I have a problem. Especially when the company posts 3 billion in profits every quarter, but hasn't bothered to upgrade the software or hardware on their computers since 1945. It's embarrassing, and needlessly inefficent.
It also gives the feeling that those at the top could give a fuck about those on the front lines, which is generally the case with people, but God I wish they'd just say it as apposed to bragging about the wonders of the "corporate infrastructure" at every fucking sales conferance we're forced to attend (and pay for parking at, I might add), they'd just be a little fucking honest about it. It would be brillaint to just use my own fucking hardware, or not have to deal with it. But, in this one, i know I'm whining. This next one though, is legit:
C) Middle management. Now, I'm intelligent enought to seperate the character of a person generally and the douchey actions they occasionally perform. The problem that I have is not with the PEOPLE in middle management, who are all usually decent people trying to support families and other such emotionally weighted excuses for douchery. Fine. Don't fault them.
The problem is structural. See, the people in an office somewhere who have never been in a retail situation, make decisions. The middle managers aren't actually decision makers. They have no more control over their job duties, or the way things are run than the grunts do. Lots of people make this mistake, and attribute choice to authority. Nope. Not middle authority.
This puts them rather in the position of enforcer. They have to act like prison warderns, but they're really prison gaurds. Which is unfortunate, only that they cannot adapt and adjust well to changes on the ground.
Let's say we all work in a factory that produces ducks. Yes, ducks. Now, the owner of the factory tells the manager that it's his job to make sure the ducks have...uh...shit, very shiny feathers or something. I don't know, something arbitrary. But the owner is convinced that this is key to selling ducks, and then makes it the manager's problem.
Now, the factory starts churning out ducks that are very shiny, and selling them. But now, people are bringing back the ducks saying: Hey, this duck sinks! All the shellack you put on it makes it far too heavy, and plus, I think it may be dead now!
The grunts, of course, relay these complaints to the manager, having received the brunt of them, being on the front lines. Now, the manager has 2 options. He can:
1. Relay this feedback up the chain, questioning the judgement of the person who writes his paychecks, or
2. Be a dick to the grunts, and insist they continue shellacking the FUCK out of those damn ducks, just to make sure that when the Owner visits, he's blinded and in awe of just how shiny the ducks are, leaving the grunts to feel unheard and disempowered, and undercutting the sales of ducks generally.
Now, he has a family to support. So, he can risk alienating the hand that feeds him (and them), or he can make enemies over people he personally has hiring and firing power over.
It's almost DESIGNED to create butt-fuckery. And not the fun "lets get high and experiment" kind. It's a rare man (or woman) who has the confidence, social grace, and chutzpah (look it up, gentile) to question the judgement of his superiors on a consistant basis and come out of it not stinking like shit.
People with the responsibility of enforcing policy need the flexibility to adjust that policy on the fly. Not necessarily decision making power ultimately, but flexibility without fear or reprisal from superiors.
Now, the thing is, this type of (productive) behavior is good for the company, grunts, and customers, but in NO WAY benefits the manager. So it takes a fucking saint to get this done.
And of course, once you start disempowering the grunts, it becomes habitual and weird values like someone's "attitude" (translation: willingness to eat shit with a smile on your face), and "loyalty" (the unflinching, enquestioning, Nazi S.S. gaurd type) come into play.
Again, just DESIGNED for butt-fuckery.
So, ideal job lacks middle-management. Owners can be ruthless, but at least they and you both have the ability to negotiate terms with employees. This is key. Life is a goddamn negotiation, so the lack therof is fucking DEATH.
D) Monotony- human beings are not age-old computers. Well, some are. We need variety. The same goddamn thing all the time sucks your soul out through your ass.
E) Sales. I know it sounds cliche, but I really to beleive being a salesperson is bad for you. Like, medically. In addition to the boatloads of stress and lack of security, at some point you are forced to, by necessity of paying bills and eating, decide that your need to get money is more important than the person your selling to's right to fully understand and agree with what they're signing up for. Everyone does it. Anyone who says they don't lie.
Business is a dirty, dirty thing, not built on trust and respect, but rather those less favorable human practices that people use platitudes like "beneficial self interest" "motivation" and "self-interest" do describe. Problem is, these terms only describe half the interaction. When you start to include the "at someone else's expense" part of it, it becomes something else entirely.
Mind you, I'm not talking about the ideal here, they way it SHOULD work. I'm talking about the reality of how it does. Now, internet, if you're thinking: the minority of large companies might work like that, but most have my best interests as the consumer in mind: mortgage crisis, bank bailouts, enron, gas prices. Yeah, so fuck off.
Again, the problem is structural. The people at the top's bosses are the stockholders, who could give a fuck about ethical treatment of customers, so long as their brokerage account balances grow. And you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Especially if it feeds you millions of dollars per year.
So, yeah, just designed for butt-fuckery.
F) Annoying co-workers. Okay, so be it the guy who relentlessly steals my and only my sales specifically (and still doesn't hit numbers every month, which is funny) or the late-50's guy who insists, among other things, that a) he sat in a high ranking position on the london stock exchange until his bitch-exwife somehow screwed him out of it b) was a prominent jazz musician until his bitch-exwife somehow screwed him out of it (not even making this up, by the way) and c) was able to fly without the aid of science, until his bitch-exwife screwed him out of it. He also has the great habit of talking incessantly about how his "body feels" after excersizing, like every day, and gawk at 13 year olds (regardless of gender) who come through the door.
And the thing about these people is that they never cross the line. Or, rarely. They get just fucking EXCELLENT about dancing along it, to the point where you never really say anything big. It's not a big enough deal to make a thing out of. You don't respect them enough to battle it out to resolve it, and don't really beleive there to be a resolution anyway. You can't fix fuck-ass creepy.
This isn't a really legitimate complaint, because humanity is creepy, and you're gonna run into that everywhere. So, finally:
F) F for FUCKING CUSTOMERS. OH MY GOD. (fucking as an explitive, not a verb). I don't think I should want to kill old people (except when I'm driving) but my God, I've come pretty close. Young people too. Just, everyone.
Here's a tip though: Karma's a bitch. If you're one of those people who assumes I'm there to serve you, feels entiteled to whatever the fuck you want, and thinks you can get it by being loud or insulting, I will make your life fucking difficult. I've been in far too many sketchy situations to be afraid of you, and I've send people (assholes) to do things that take them 5 hours and cost hundreds of dollars, that I could have done for free in 5 minutes.
So actually, go ahead, be a dick. This is much easier to deal with, and in fact, occasionally fun and satisfying when you really stick it to someone, than the people who are just crazy or inept.Which is fucking everyone.
I think it's clear I've been at this job for two long. All of these things individually would be bearable, it's just all the little butt-fucks chiming it at once that echo in the chambers of monotony to make a veritable butt-fuck cacaphony, drowning out anything but writing funny things on the internet and looking for other gainfull employment.
So yeah. That's the Bad.
Just 2 things, but 2 big things:
A) The Money. Bought a car, had back surgery, supported self, saved and invested a bit. Money is like air and sex, in only becomes desperately important when it's in short supply, but having this job has allowed me to establish myself in a city and give me a decent base to build on, to pursue the career I actually want to have.
B) The People. This is where it gets all gushy, like...well, I can think of several unpleasant and wholly inappropriate images from which I shall refrain, because I mean this sincerely.
There's a person who started around the same time as me, who is in love with Harry Potter (the books, I think) and who is one of the genuinely sweeter people I've met. For secret santa I got her a Harry Potter magic wand, which made her day.
There's another person who's currently traveling Europe, because he's far more awesome than me, with whom I would have endless political debates, and also smoke pot. Cool guy.
There's another person who I spent half the time fighting with, and half the time joking with, because she's crazy, and I am to.
There's another who speakes 8 languages (so he claims. Who the fuck knows, really)
There's another who I've had great talks about religion with.
There's my boss, my ass't boss, and my co-workers who drove into the city to see me in a show.
And truth be told, I love them all. They're amazing, and have turned my time here from something merely bearable to something that was, despite all odds, very enjoyable. And I will miss them dearly for it.
Ah, sad. Well. A year and a half. Another chapter in life, done. It's strange. And sad, and happy too.
Life is a constant state of change. That's the definition. If you're not changing, if things aren't moving around you, you're gone. There's no escaping or denying it. It comes, and it's best to enjoy it, because it's impossible to resist. Well, you can try to resist it, but all you'll end up doing is straining something.
So, the verdict on this chapter?
Well, I don't know if I'd do it again, in fact I never intend to. But it was good. It was quite good.
Fung on Film
10 hours ago