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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I’ll Take Pointless Expenditures of My Brain Power for $200, Alex

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy getting up early, spending the whole of my daylight hours in a very tall building. I’m still really into trying to practice yoga, write, cook, clean, develop the relationships in my life and determine tomorrow’s wardrobe in the five hours between arriving home from work and going to bed.

I even still enjoy the manipulation, how ever much it lacks nuance, used by my employers to make me believe that not only am I a valued member of the team but that I am adequately and competitively compensated for it.

Heck. I’ve always enjoyed works of fiction.

But the company-wide week off between Christmas and January 4th?

It’s completely thrown me off my game.

I’ve been working full time since I was 19 years old. Aside from the 11 months I took off after the birth of my son and a nerve-jangling three-month period of unemployment one winter roughly a dozen years ago, I’ve not had more than two consecutive weeks off during my adult years.

We’ll pause now, whilst the music from the orchestra pit swells and we all reach for our hankies.

As someone who has both worked for and thumbed her nose at The Man, usually concurrently, I can only tell you that once you fall off the I-work-five-days-and-I’m-off-for-two bandwagon, it all seems quite unfair.

This is where the whining in earnest begins: But I don’t wanna go to work! I don’t want my money used to support people with children they can’t afford! I don’t want to pay for a new football stadium! I don’t want to contribute toward affordable houses for people with disabilities! I don't want to be a taxpayer anymore!

Oh, if only I were a cheater or a liar.

And that’s when I stop, visions of callous-handed ancestors rising up before me, their heads shaking at me in disappointment; and I am once more cognizant of the fact that I am able-bodied, able-minded, and composed of sunny to partly cloudy moral fiber.

And that's when I face facts.

I will never not have to work. I will never live a life of leisure. I will never receive one check that I have not earned …

But do I have to be cheerful about it?!

Dagnabit, Grandma!


Douglas said...

sunny to partly cloudy moral fiber

Fiber is good for you, they tell me (whoever they are). Such a way with a phrase. I picture Captain Kirk saying, "Set your Phraser to 'stun', Lt. Pearl!"

And you do. Go fight the good fight. Myself? I was born to be retired.

Pearl said...

Thank you, Douglas. I shall carry your praise with me until at least Thursday, when I will forget it on the bus and lapse into self-pity again -- until I run across a guy in a wheelchair waiting for the bus in below-zero temps.

Erstwhile-ly Practicing Gratitude,


Gregory said...

I guess if I really pushed the point I could live on uncle sam, but why bother, its easier to go to work, earn, yea I did say earn... my money and pay the bills, buy the food and.... just makes me feel like a worthwhile person to help contribute to the existence of those less worthy ;)
yea, that is a wink.

Mandy's Kidding said...

I hate that week off between Christmas and New Year's Eve. I don't know what to do with myself. I get real nervous and start pacing around in circles like a zoo animal.

Ms Sparrow said...

Buck up, dearie. You only have 25 years to go til you retire!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I'm with ya there, Pearl. Kiking and screaming the entire way, so sorry about any vicarious bruising...



Diane said...

Well, if you don't have to be cheerful about it, I don't either! Dagnabit!

mapstew said...

I'm lucky I guess, I love my job. I eventually managed to make a (slight) living from something I would have to do anyway (If just for my sanity!)
And I get to spend a lot of time with my family, albeit outside of 'regular' hours.

I will probably never be rich, I too will always have to work, but, my goal is to work until I cannot do it anymore! As I say, I am a lucky man!

Much love.


powdergirl said...

You haven't had 2 weeks in a row off in your entire working life???!!!

Hell, thats ridiculous! I may have worked about 60 hour a week or more, in my life s working stiff, but Dammit! Come January, it was a month in the sun, come hell or high water.

I'd be right pissed, if I were you : (

Anonymous said...

I always longed to be free of the day-to-day routine so that I could write full time. Now that I have that (thanks to a few moderate investments and a wife with a well-paying job) I find it's hard to adjust to. I'm too conditioned by working to not feel guilty half the damn time. And I miss the people.

Beth said...

Like you, I'm trying to remember my coworkers and figure out my schedule after being home for two weeks. I'm tired.

justsomethoughts... said...

sunny to partly cloudy, huh...
callous-handed ancestors

even in humor you have the words

good stuff indeed

Vic said...

My grandma reminds me she started working at five - raising her younger siblings. Then she had seven of her own, starting as a fourteen-year-old bride.

Now that's a work ethic.
(but she never had a laminated badge and lanyard.)

When I come over to your house, you're going to have to take the week off.

Deb said...

I like the work ethics of people who study work ethics. Long holidays. Semester breaks. Sabbaticals. I don't like it enough to go back to school, but I really wish I did.

Tempo said...

Pearl, you work too hard girl... if I were you I'd call the boss a *%^&$#* and get the sack!

The Jules said...

I reguarly contemplate selling up, leaving work and buying a smallholding where I can be self-sufficient and not rely on money, but The Man intrudes.

In this case, The Man is me, reminding me that I don't know how to hold a small, let alone look after the animals and grow all my own vegetables.

The Man's a bastard.

SweetPeaSurry said...

*points to you* preacher, *points to me* choir, amen sistah!

Anonymous said...

composed of sunny to partly cloudy moral fiber and a few other descriptions in there I love. you have a way with words, and I love that soap box you're on...I'm right up there with you. I love working and contributing to society nad nothing makes me madder than those that know how to use the system to their every advantage and are just as able bodied as the rest of us- I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest.