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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I’ve Lost my Will to Work

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.

Ahem.

So what’s up with me and my waning desire to work?

Well, I’ll start by saying that no one sits by me.

Waaaaah!

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.

38 comments:

L.C.T. said...

Hear hear!

suzicate said...

I would say going to the office at least gives you someone to talk to but they're all at home!

Ms Sparrow said...

Pearl, my dear, you have the winter Blahs. They always set in this time of year. You must ride it out until the sun shines once more and the birds sing in the trees.

simplywonderful said...

I second! or third!
I want a 10 to 4...

savannah said...

*yikes* sugar, i am sitting here at my "desk" aka my nightstand (which is actually a drum table relic from my grandmother) wearing my thermals, thick socks and one of my husband's big ole turtleneck sweaters because i do work from home and i've been working since 5:30am! (time difference with overseas, i'll explain later) anyway, it's 10:45AM and i'm done! of course, after reading this i will go and shower and then get dressed...maybe i'll go shopping...or go to the movies... ;~D
xoxoxo

Under the Influence said...

I could not work from home either. I need noise/people around me so I can get things done. I guess I couldn't work in your office either, since it's so quiet. I feel for you.

My name is PJ. said...

The last person who told/asked me to whip something up/out had to go to the emergency room to have his teeth surgically removed from the hair follicles in the back of his head.

Suzyhayze said...

Oh how this resonates you will NEVER know! :)

Pearl said...

Maybe it IS the winter blahs, huh? And maybe time to move on as well. I truly do enjoy getting up for work (ok, I may have exaggerated the enjoyment factor there), getting dressed up, walking in. I enjoy working hard, I'm great under pressure. Where I fall down? The quiet. The lack of contact. Ack!

Douglas said...

When I worked, I gravitated toward the graveyard shift. Why? Because there were less people around. There were rarely any bosses intruding and demanding things. And, the few times they showed up, it was for an emergency and they were easily relegated to supporting roles. I would have loved it if working from home was an option and would have worked the day shift if most of my alleged peers were not in the office.

Count your blessings, Darlin'

dave hambidge said...

Sounds more like work frustration than the winterblahhsss.

Are you mentally stimulated enough by whatever you do? Time to move on or retrain?

Jess said...

I do have tons of respect for you Court Reporters(former or not) I have my favorite one here and town and they have bailed me out on MORE than one occasion. "Yes, I need that video transcript synced with the video...yes, by the end of the day. Yes, I know it is four hours long. Bless you lovely people!!"

I just hope that when it is time to retire that I will want to retire and not have made that full circle where you WANT to get up at 4:00am and HAVE to stay busy all the time.

I just can't see myself getting that silly though...

Secretia said...

I never get the easy jobs either, the ones with the free lunches and benefits.

Golden To Silver Val said...

From what I've heard from those who do work at home, you have to treat it as though you were going into the office. You should get cleaned up and dressed, at least casually, and then designate certain times for your working and stick to it. At the end of that time...say its 4 pm....then you stop, just like the office. I'm afraid I would be prone to working more if I worked from home as I can't stand unfinished projects. The best part about working from home, I think, would be the fact that you don't have to get out in a blizzard and drive and then after work, scrape ice and snow off your car. Plus, I know I'd be tempted to sleep in every morning....probably until 10. But yes...the winter BLAHS do have a lot to do with how you're feeling. Everyone I talk to feels the same way right now...and so do I. Hang in there, Spring is coming!

The Retired One said...

For you? The answer is simple...
go on the road Comedy Act
or
write a book.
Shit your are way funnier than Erma B and she did it!!!!!! Go PEARL!!!

Molly Potter said...

I always liked bar work.

Molly Potter said...

O.K. that was slightly flippant.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Being that I work in a lab...the working from home thing isn't an option.

So, I'm there with you. You and me, Pearl, still hanging out at "work", slogging through the day.

Debbie(singlemom;complicatedworld) said...

I understand your 'blahs'! I am a preschool teacher! and I love my job! BUT they are all 3 and under! then I come home to my own three...all pre-teeny..and I imagine an 'office' job! the glamour of dressing up ,all the grown up girl time, the talk over the water cooler, the cute salesman flirting with me! *sigh* and yet, its seems that office jobs may just not be all that!!:) hope your blahs pass soon!!!

mrwriteon said...

Wendy is going through the same feelings right now. I, ahem, work from home. I don't know what to suggest. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I do go into an office once a week or so to counsel clients. I like it because I get to hang out with the kids.

GregoryJ said...

Sell your neighbor's blood, the ones that annoy you. They'll be too weak to bother you and you'll have an income.
I've been home for several months. I could probably work from home. I would be like you, always at work. At all hours.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

"Try to pay bills with unpopped popcorn?". Now, I should try that!

Ann's Rants said...

I would gladly ad my dumdumdums to your humhumhums...

Wait. That sounds like a valentine.

Rebecca said...

I was in the same predicament... I worked in an office, when I'd always promised myself I'd never work in an office. Especially one that goes 9-6 with an hour commute (yay traffic) and "can you do me a favor"s at 5:45.

Now I'm looking at teaching. Who was I kidding? It's in my blood.

sassysundry said...

I've been trying to get work from home (having been one of the "victims of the current economy"), but it does take a whole other form of concentration. Sometimes I just go to a library (the Boston Public Library is a great place to work).

Kevin Musgrove said...

I like working from home to actually get things done (I get three or four times as much work done as in the office). The problem is that when I'm working from home I'm working. From home. When I'm in the office, once I've clocked on nobody gives a flying fig what I'm doing until I've clocked right off again, so I get more opportunity to move around, socialise, pull faces at people on the bus as it drives past the window, etc.

CatLadyLarew said...

I work at home when I want to get some serious writing done... I think I'm a little ADHD and get too distracted by everything at work. But if I don't get up and start first thing in the morning, I won't get anything done at all. Hence, I can still be in my pajamas at the end of the day, just like you!

Not The Rockefellers said...

Kindergarten Aide, Pearl! How ' bout it?
Roughly the hours you are looking for, a captive audience for endless Liza Bean stories ( they'd love them!), free hot lunch(maybe), and an excuse to play with playdough and beanbags all day!

Peace ~ Rene

tattytiara said...

I thought I'd hate working from home for the exact reasons you cited when work set me up with a home office earlier this year, but I'm blessed that my dogs have saved me from the trappings I feared. I get up and get dressed because they go outside first thing and you never know what they'll invent to do that they need to be stopped from doing out there, and they very quickly figured out when quitting time is and practically pull me out of the chair right on the hour. It's harder to work late here than it was at the office!

Hey, that's what they should do for you. They should let you have a pet at the office!

Brian Miller said...

i would love to be working full time...

sage said...

The problem with work at home (and I do too much of it from there) is that it never leaves you... I am needing a sabbatical!

Jayne Martin said...

I've worked at home in various capacities for practically my entire (and lengthy) life. And yes, there are those days (today was one of them) that are exactly as you describe right down to the unbrushed hair. But it was raining today. Most days, I work in the morning. Head out a noon to play a little and arrive back about 3:00 to finish up. The flexibility works for me. But you are clearly more of a people person than I am, dear Pearl.

lakeviewer said...

Don't fret. It happens to everybody; mother nature's way of conserving energy for a while. Your mojo will return when you least expect it. Or, when you need to get your act together and show them that you're worth a promotion.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Have you gotten a new boss yet? You mentioned that the one you'd worked with for a long time was leaving.

I'm a major introvert and I need to concentrate for my work-related writing, so I'm happy when the office is almost empty, and I also love to work at home. But everybody's different.

Look around....Who knows what possibilities are out there?

Joanna Jenkins said...

I hear you Pearl. I loved working at home but it can get very lonely.

Maybe you need to redecorate your desk ;-)

xo

Tempo said...

The problem dear Pearl is that you took Christmas holidays... If you hadn't taken that time off it would never have occurred to you what it was that you were missing. The only thing I can suggest is to continue working non stop till 65...or till you drop dead at work. (it's working for me)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This is why no one sits by you. After I read that I wanted to immediately post my resume, get an office job, show up the first day only to JUMP FROM THE HIGHEST WINDOW IN THE BUILDING. I could never work where I didn't have total control over my own destiny. Teaching is great for that. Of course now I don't need to work at all so I am sure you pretty much hate me too now. So we are even. Spazz.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I'm answering your question with a question, which is always a debacle. Why aren't we listening to our happy Ipod music at work and doing a chair jig with a little toe tapping under the desk? Is that not allowed? Is someone there to actually monitor that? If so ... I sing "the bird the bird the bird is the word!"