03 July, 2015

required: one small life

i seem to have caught bta's disease - some sort of chronic allergy to civilisation, to societal expectations. work has been beyond drudgery of late - i've gotten into the sunday blerchs, which aren't helped even by taking mondays permanently off - just moving the discomfort, nausea, ennui, misery off by one day - there it still waits, poised over my head like a painfully slow death sentence, and not even that, because at least a death sentence comes but once (barring a particularly incompetent executioner carrying a dull blade).

to think this job was my hope, my dream, the culmination of my midlife crisis/career change! to think i once hated fridays! to think i thought the work itself was exciting, even the dullest bits! to think, to think, to think - all the thinking ain't changing the fact that i am slaving away for mediocre money (this is not the problem - i am lucky to be in a situation where that, at least, is not a problem, although wads of cash do have a tendency to quell some misgivings, if at least temporarily…), doing utterly pointless things to make money for people who are doing their best to do the very least within the confines of our civic bylaws.

turns out (and who'd have thunk it?! not me, that's for damn sure!) i have a strong moral compass and feel supremely uncomfortable doing things i think are detrimental to the urban fabric. equally awful is the realisation that what i am doing, really, is merely perpetuating the bureaucracy that makes up the majority of my profession. a professor to whom i went for help today ("what can a planner do that does not involve…planning?") wrote me that most of what we do is process-based, not outcome based, which is a simple statement that goes a hell of a long way to explain why our outcomes are so fucking atrocious, why we keep doing that which makes financial sense to a chosen few rather than evidence-based sense to the greater society.

a day does not go by that i don't mutter, hamlet-like, in my head: "how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this work world!" yes, sitting here wrapped in my privilege, i do feel bad about hating a stable, decently-paying job that i didn't have to do a blessed thing to get. then again, when wave after wave of misery flows over me, i stop feeling bad. we all die. one day, i will die. i don't want this to be my life, if i have any say in it, and i do have a say. sad thing is, i really don't know what i DO want my life to be. just not this.

you should know by now that i'm not a romantic, nor much of an idealist, but i can't muster enough realism to get me through the day. sure, i want to make the world a better place. right now, though, i'd settle for a new career. stress headaches, muscles aching from constant tensing, stomach twisted into a knot, nausea that comes at the exact moment that i see/hear/read the name of my superior. coming home: drinking too much, fighting with mr. monkey because he's a target i'm not afraid of lashing out at, sitting slumped on the couch with eyes glazedly staring into the middle distance.

bta and i talk a lot. both about how meaningless what we do seems to be, and what huge amounts of resources go towards perpetuating the systemic meaninglessness. if one half of the money the process uses up went into generating outcomes, oh what a lovely world we could inhabit! but alas.

so why not leave? well, there you have it. that self-imposed, societally-supported idea that one must work, and work is hard and unpleasant, and there is some sort of moral imperative to continue doing it. but i'm giving myself a limited amount of time before i leave. i've always had a pretty hefty instinct of self-preservation. let's see where it takes me, and how long it takes me.

so thanks for listening. and sorry for the silence. i've been busy working.


Geneviève Goggin said...

Aw, dear friend, I'm sorry to hear things are not good. I look forward to having a good catch up at folk fest. We can eat green onion cakes and kettle corn and at least momentarily all will be good in the world.

Tom said...

Don't have any answers, but I'll always listen. Sorry to hear you're down.

Zhoen said...

I'm so sorry. The only thing running through my mind reading this was, is there a way for you to get involved with something really meaningful? Volunteering, local council, city planning board. Change things? On the other hand, that kind of bureaucracy is usually worse than a workplace.

Cthulku said...

I've never understood the fetishization of work, and having spent the last year un/underemployed has done nothing to improve my understanding. I've got a lovely rant locked and loaded regarding the changing nature of work, and the need to decouple the means of earning a living from employment, but I don't think that's what you need to hear.

Remember that you are not your work. To keep earning your wage you need to keep doing it, of course, but you are not a planner; you are, rather, someone who works at a consultancy firm doing urban planning/design work. It can take a while to internalize de-identification with a toxic job -- or anything else, really -- but it will make it easier. The fewer things that we allow to glom onto our identities, the better we feel.

That doesn't mean that a job -- and even a career -- change aren't necessary, but hopefully working toward disconnecting your identity from your work will help in the short-ish term.

Jocelyn Appleby said...

Well my my. you ALWAYS are able to put into words what I am internalizing and completely unable to explain to the people who tell me "Well you got out of Fort McMurray and that's what you wanted, so it can't be that bad" and this just hit the damn nail DIRECTLY on the head. Just so you know, you do have a pretty significant gift for words and writing, considering nearly ever word you have said is how I feel about the situation I am in as well, and you were able to actually vocalize that rather than just dumbly ranting and flustering about while getting sweaty to somehow try and legitimize yourself to parents, boyfriend, friends...
I sure do love you!!! If one thing came out of the Planning experience in these last three years, I think we will both agree, its some pretty awesome friendships, and I truly have a great appreciation for who you are.


polish chick said...

thank you all for your kind words. and jocey, i'm so so sorry you're in the same boat. from what i hear, quite a few of our group feel pretty much the same. though, yes, the people we met (well, SOME of them) were definitely worth the two year madness.

having leaked all over mr. monkey this weekend, and feeling like i'm always on the verge of leaking some more, i think this decision is slowly making itself, which, in itself, is freeing.

keep you posted.