I don’t like my job, and everyone reacts differently when I tell them.
I don’t like my job because they don’t give me enough work to do. Ten years ago, when I was working retail or call center jobs, I would have killed for the chance to be able to complain about not having enough to do. I would have relished not feeling harried and harassed and constantly pressured to be on all the time with customers and callers. But now, I’m 27 and I’m a Virgo, and I like to feel valuable.
At my job, if I miss a day I can catch up on all the work I need to do in about 90 minutes. They pay me for eight hours, but I do 90 minutes’ work. The rest of the time I blatantly text, or surf Wikipedia to learn new things. I often just sit at my desk and openly read a book while on the clock. I know the people walking by or the people reading this will think, “Paid to read? Jealous.” Normally I’d be one of you. But it’s demoralizing. It’s awful, to spend every day waiting for scraps of work to do, for not feeling important or worthwhile. And when I do get work, it’s incredibly menial. It’s scheduling someone’s meeting, booking a conference room, printing sheets upon sheets of paper that I know won’t be looked at again, will just be wasted. So much waste there, waste of time, waste of potential, waste of trees. Waste of life.
When I talk to my mom about job-hunting, she doesn’t understand. I’ve only been there for six months – why should I get to leave? Why, when she worked a job that she hated for nearly thirty years? Thirty years. Imagine waking up every single day for three decades, going through the motions, packing school lunches and dealing with sleepy, ungrateful children and an absent-minded husband and then getting in your car and driving to a job that you hated where you had to spend 8 hours, and then coming home to once again only do things for other people for the rest of your free time. You’d fall back into bed, grateful to do this one selfish thing, nourish your body with sleep. I don’t want children – I don’t even know if I want a husband – because I just want my time to be my own.
When I talk to my dad about how much I hate my job, he says, “Well, you’ve just got to do more to show them that you’re hungry.” He recommends that I request random meetings with bigwigs, go around the office asking questions about projects, scour every inch of the organization’s website so that I know all. I don’t know how to tell him that people wouldn’t take kindly to being interrupted, that the website is boring as shit, and that I don’t care about random projects. And even if I do all this work and gain all of this information – I am not present enough on anyone’s radar for them to take notice.
One woman who asks the most of me, who demands copies after copies after copies and meetings worked around her labyrinthine schedule – she called me Heather the other day.
My name is not Heather. This is how unimpactful and unimportant I am.
I had a meeting with some members of our team and our supervisor, who went around the table to express what she appreciated about every single person individually. She got to me and said, “Well, I don’t know much about you, but you’ve mentioned traveling, and people who travel are the best.” Thank you. I’m glad I’ve made such an impression. Six months may not be that long, but you could at least say I’m funny? Kind? Professional? Professional might be just as big a slap in the face. What does that even mean? It’s like calling something “dynamic.” It’s been used so much that its meaning has become meaningless.
Feeling useless at work means that I feel useless in the rest of my life. I’m no longer sure of my footing, sure of myself. Like that therapist said, before she made it clear that my problems are not priority number one in this world (believe me, I know): I don’t trust myself anymore.
It’s the same with men. I go on dates because I can’t believe that they want to date me. I sleep with them before I’m ready to see if they’re even worth it, because, I rationalize, at least I can see whether they care if I come early on, so I don’t get too invested. The problem is, with each encounter with someone who barely knows me, I only end up feeling bad about myself. My self-worth should not solely derive from who wants to fuck me and how they do it. But it also should not be based on how productive or challenging my work is, because it’s neither.
When I tell other people that I’m unhappy with my job, they ask, “Well, what do you want to do?”
I have no answer for them.
I don’t know what I want to do. I’m not particularly good at any one thing. I’m decent at a lot of little things, which don’t amount to a career of any kind. I like to write, but I don’t have any original ideas or formal training. I care about feminism, but I could never hold a candle to the feminist scholars wielding their minds across social media today. I learn from them.
So really, I feel stuck in each and every regard, and I can’t seem to find the drive to drag my way out. I’m dreading the day when I wake up and find that I’m 40, single, and still waiting for someone to ask me to do something meaningful or call me the right name.