May 22, 2008 :: high on work
I've held many a job in my scant 31 years on this earth. I've been a truckstop waitress (No joke. I was a 15-year old truckstop waitress at a slimy, German-esque restaurant on I-74, on the Ohio/Indiana state line. That's a whole other post.) I've fired and painted pottery. I've sold wicker furniture, "containers" of all shapes and sizes, and bloomin' onions on big platters. I've shelved books and dioramas. I spent 3 years renting out movies in the Ball State Library basement. (That's three straight years watching movies, really.) I once spent a summer cutting people's wedding cakes, chicken-dancing and ushering drunks off a wooden dance floor. I've taught high school kids what nouns and verbs are. (really. they actually didn't know.) I've cold-called construction companies, prayed to the IT gods for mercy over 50 Windows NT workstations, programmed Linux-based phone systems and wireframed websites.
And after all of that, aside from being tired just looking at that list, I am always quite aware of the elegant, whooshing feeling of calm gratitude that having a truly great job brings you. I have one of those jobs now, and I thank whatever part of the universe might be listening every damn day for it. Because I remember the low points from all those others.
Like getting my ass pinched by wiener-schnitzel greasy fingers belonging to road crews and rednecks at the truck stop. Like the ranting, raving, cube-farm harpy of a boss that once called me into her office just to ask me if I was a "f**king idiot?!" The day I spilled a flaming tray of steak fajitas on some poor guy's lap. The evil, immoral control freak I worked for at another creative company here in the city. The endless long nights and ridiculous deadlines, the belittling remarks, the feeling of dread when I entered the building...most of those buildings.
To be honest, until I became a professional writer, I thought I was patently unemployable. I get bored really easily. I am more than wary of the man, and fight a crazy battle with him inside my head at all times. I get lazy and tired of coming to work when the work isn't challenging enough. (And by that, I mean if I am not learning something new every single day.) I don't wear nearly enough flair. I don't take direction well. I'm not a "team player." Flourescents make me surly. I dream about eviscerating powertripping middle management jerkfaces. And then keying their $50,000 cars.
So, when that little google reminder at the top of this post showed up this morning, heralding a meeting with smart, nice people on an awesome project (this one) on the gorgeous roof of this building, I did a little happy dance, right there at my desk, and sent out a warm thought to all the people I know that aren't so lucky.
Keep trying. In my experience, you have to clean up a lot of sauerbraten, watch Das Boot about 50 times, make 1000000 phone calls, be drug all over the country by a mad man with an apparently inexhaustible expense account (ok, i have to admit, that one was fun), and basically, kiss a lot of crappy vending machine lunches before you find the most ahhhhhh-inspiring way to spend your 9-5.