Gather ‘round, children, and listen to the story of a full-time worker and the conditions that led to the loss of her will to work.
It was a long time in coming, this deflation in her little work balloon. She had been proud of her record, of her ability to see the big picture, and then, one day, she became tired of it all, tired of getting up because the clock said to, tired of referring to herself in the third person.
So what’s up with me and my waning desire to work?
Well, I’ll start by saying that no one sits by me.
But it’s true.
We have an awful lot of people here at Acme Napkins and Grommet who “work from home”.
Perhaps you note the cynicism with which I say “work from home”, the dubious nature with which I use the quotation marks. I have even been known to throw the first two fingers of both hands in the air in order to further emphasize my suspicions around the “working from home” movement.
This does not make me popular with the younger set, the ones who believe that they’ve graduated from college now where’s my 50,000 a year.
Look. I know the world has changed, and I think it’s changed for the better. More ability to be home when a child is sick, more vacation, more flexibility in the workplace. But the truth of it is that it is quite hard on the rest of the office when large chunks of its workers are gone.
Not all jobs are designed to be done from home.
The sound of the heating system/fans is the only distraction in this silence, and it press against my ears until I hum, just for a bit of distraction. Hmm! Hmmm! Hmmm!
This week’s humming theme is movie soundtracks.
Today’s hum-along? The theme from Chariot’s of Fire.
I sit on something of a dead-end. Of the six desks/offices in my sight, only one of them is occupied – and his door is always closed. Sure, it allows me to practice dance steps in private; and I’ve pretty much perfected my recipe for office crockpot chili, but where’s the love?
Where’s the camaraderie?
“But Pearl! Why don’t you work from home?”
I hear you, and don’t think I haven’t thought of this myself.
The problem is that I’ve already worked from home in my lifetime, both as a stay-at-home mother and as a court reporter - both individual kinds of jobs that require long periods of concentrated effort - and working from home is the reason I got an office job.
Court reporting, for instance. Working up those transcripts? You can sit there in your pajamas all day long. This is not as cool as it sounds. You didn't get dressed, you didn’t brush your teeth and you didn’t brush your hair because you went right to work. And when the time came to leave work, you didn’t, because there was no where to leave from, and so you finish what you’re working on – almost done! – and then you go on to doing your housework because it’s 6:30 and where’s dinner and what in the world happened to the carpet was it always this color and what do you mean why didn’t I brush my hair? I’ve been working!!
When you work from home, you’re always at work.
No, sir, working from home is not for me.
What I really want is a job that starts at 10:00, a job where I work with actual people, one that let's me go about 4:00, a job where no one asks me 10 minutes before I leave, if I could just "whip out" a quick letter.
Who am I, Courtney Love?
I'm a professional, people! There is no "whipping" of documents!
But in the words of the Right Rockin' Mick Jagger, you can't always get what you want.
So what's the cure for dissatisfaction? I have no idea. Donate time at a shelter? Learn to live off stray cats and scavenged aluminum cans? Try to pay bills with unpopped popcorn?
You tell me.
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