Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reasons Why I Love It When I Hate My Day Job


Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Get High On Carpet Cleaning Fumes.

1. Sometimes when I get my notebook out and scribble angry sentences in it, it makes me feel better to know that my employer is unwittingly paying me to write.

I do all my heavy-duty imagining in work time. I might be looking at you with a serious face and an attentive tilt of the head, but inside I’m somewhere else entirely. And it feels right.


2. When I hate my job, I visualise my escape plan. Do I want to be here in ten years? Hell, some days I don’t want to be here in ten minutes.

 I like to imagine working somewhere with luxuries like windows. And a fire escape. You know, things like that. But I’m not going to get mad, I’m going to get even. I’m not making enough money yet to quit my job, but I know that it’s possible and that gives me a goal.

3. Hating my job gives me valuable material for building characters who also hate their jobs.

Sometimes it feels like every character in a book is something cool like an architect or a graphic designer or a doctor: those sorts of jobs where you had a dream as a kid and went to university and pursued it. Fine, but what about the rest of us who slacked off at school, bummed around at uni, and then sort of fell into jobs that pay okay but aren’t exactly a raison d’être?

4. My job gives me an unparalleled opportunity to speak to interesting people from all walks of life. People affected by drugs, alcohol, mental illness and, sometimes the trifecta: the heady combination of all three. A woman once said to me, “I wouldn’t trust him as far as a cheese rolling down the street.”

Please, tell me more. Unburden all your crazy on me. It’s all grist for the mill.

And that is hands down the best thing about being a writer: we can use anything and everything, and we do. And that’s kind of awesome. 

(I don’t really hate my day job. Or I don’t always hate my day job. Well, sometimes I don’t hate my day job…but last week just kinda sucked.) 

*** 

The day job. Passionate about it, detest it, or just figure you'll keep turning up as long as they keep paying you? 

12 comments:

  1. I worked for the worst company (and some of the worst managers) in the world.

    I never thought about how beneficial that could be to me as a writer

    *smile*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've gotta look on the bright side!

      Delete
  2. I'm still milking the crazy for my writing from the years I worked at the Sheriff's dept.. You just can't beat that environment for "stuff you couldn't make up if you tried" details. And I totally get the motivation of hating where you're at to get you to work harder toward your goals. Just keep writing, just keep writing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? It's like digging into a treasure trove. Just when you think you've heard everything...

      And yep, just keep writing, just keep writing... Always!

      Delete
  3. Haha, great post. Going to school definitely inspires me to write more and get an agent before I graduate so I have a good reason not to go to college. ;) The benefits of doing things we don't want - we realize what we do want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! Your focus just blows me away Madeline. I was never that focussed in school -- hell, I don't think I'm that focussed now!

      Delete
  4. I don't find a lot of meat for writing in my job - crazy people etc. - but I did draw heavily on it to portray the bewildering experience of being thrust into a vast and crazy bureaucracy.

    It's a love/hate thing for me these days. I love what I do (or should be doing when I can get around to it) but the environment and "leadership" ("Yes, this project is of the utmost priority, and no you can't have any more staff or $$ to do it with") is teaching me endless patience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bureaucracies are a special sort of hell, aren't they? They definitely teach you all about patience.

      The other day when a Workplace Heath and Safety expert agreed our kitchenette was not ideal, her solution was to remove it entirely (a "solution" that would then have us carrying hot meals up stairs and through several sets of doors instead). Government-think is truly something else.

      Delete
  5. What carpet cleaner do you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. MC, I'm not sure what brand it was, but last night I almost reached total awareness. It might be called Insta-Headache.

      First they boarded up our windows because of the construction site next door. Then they got our carpets shampooed. Then mould broke out. Then they got the carpets re-shampooed with new, interesting chemicals. Then last night there were tiny bugs in the room. The whole thing is getting a real Plagues of Egypt vibe.

      Delete
  6. LOL. Holy Hell, are we twins? I think I had the same week at the day job.

    Ditto to your entire post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good thing, right? If the day job was satisfying, why would we want to write?

      Delete

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