A real mismatch at work

I do not fit my paid job [but I really fit my unpaid job, doing this (blogging, social media and volunteering) and I love it to boot]. My paid job is DRIVING ME MAD.  I spent the WHOLE DAY attending to forms.  I mean eight hours.  I had a template and I had to run off about a dozen individual FORMS.  Work calls them PROFORMAS.  Why ask me?  Brain the size of a planet and I’m doing PROFORMAS?  I have a PhD  [I’m not trying to be a jerk, just saying]  They know it’s only a matter of time before I throw down the gauntlet and ANNOUNCE that this job is no longer fit for me.  I’m MENTALLY DYING HERE.  Can’t they see the pool of incredible thought blood on the floor in my office?  It’s running from my mind, down my back and onto the ground between the desk and the door.  That’s MY CREATIVITY dying right there.  Leaking out without  stopper.  It’s trying to get out the door.  Maybe I should too…

Maybe I have to be BRAVE and just chuck in the towel and say ‘goodbye’ to the day job and just go.  Who DOES that?  Chucks in the waitressing, the clerical work, the bar job to pursue their dream?  I did it once before, before when I was younger and childless and doing my PhD.  I was going to become an ANTHROPOLOGIST (I DID THAT)!  But do you know how many jobs there are for anthropologists in any medium sized city?  Probably about a dozen.  All in universities, prestigious or otherwise.  If you’re over 40 and doing a mid-career change you don’t stand a chance (someone actually whispered that in my ear once).

The day job has its perks: it pays me.  And having worked on the fringes of academia as a casual for four years, believe me, a regular pay check is unbelievable.  And they pay you over Christmas, and for public holidays.  It just gets better.  This is really SIGNIFICANT.  If you don’t have any work at all, you will really, really appreciate this.

Working at something you love and getting so little reward (financially) because you only work as a casual (ie six months of the year) is SOUL DESTROYING. You can’t pay off a mortgage, buy food and live like an adult.  Maybe I should WANT different things, but I don’t because I too am a product of my environment and seek these things: security, sustenance, pleasure and challenges in my life.  If you continue with insecure work, you’re condemned to living like a teenager.  I HAD to get a REAL JOB.

So what’s a little tedium with the proformas and forms?  I can put up with that.  But it’s a bit like being CINDERELLA, no one really appreciates your cleaning and they just don’t see that inner beauty.  It’s all wasted really.  And that’s not to mention the managers/ugly sisters…

Last year I worked at the same place, but a bit less.  I could ‘value add’ to my work and it was so pleasing.  A little extra to make us think about why we did what we did [and we did good].  A little look at the bourgeoning literature.  A few people talking about their passion and discussing this with each other.  A few extra social functions.  Now, with workplace restructures, industrial amalgamations and following mass resignations and ‘redundancies’ I’m overwhelmed and drowning.  Modern management practices leave me cold.

This might seem like middle class whingeing, after all, what am I complaining about?  I actually HAVE a mortgage, where not a lot of people can do this in my city the way prices are right now.  And I have a GOOD JOB and health care and car insurance blah blah blah.  You kind of do get those things (along with the conservatism that goes into protecting your ownership and things) once you hit middle age.  And I’m so there [but].

I was a teenage rebel, but that’s another post.  Now I’m this.  This is what the road to redemption looks like, but now I don’t care about being redeemed by those whose opinions used to really matter to me once.

I love to fantasise: give up the DAY JOB.  Watch the kids wonder about why they can’t go overseas on school excursions (did you do that when you were at school?  I mean, come on!).  Try to live off what I earn writing, teaching even.  It’s only a germ of an idea, but one I yearn to fulfill.  I’m so weak… BUT one can only continue in a mismatched job for a while.  After a time it becomes so OBVIOUS.  There’s no room to LIE ANYMORE.  The truth always OUTS ITSELF.  And telling the TRUTH is so freeing.  Let’s play a bit:

“I’m off to work in a soup kitchen”

“I’m going to volunteer for an NGO”

“I’m going set up a branch of the CWA ”

“That book is just pouring out of me”

“I’m going to set my house up as cat rescue centre”

“I’m volunteering in the offices of Medicins sans Frontieres

“I’m fostering a young person”

“I’m painting the house black”

“I borrowed that book, you know the one, ‘Teach Yourself Watercolours in a Week‘.  Then I’m going to exhibit”

“I’ve enrolled in a MOOC”

“You’re speaking to the new Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator”

“I’m going to start a blog – wait, I’ve done that”

It’s Friday.  I’ve done my PROFORMAS.  Over the weekend I have more paper meddling to complete.  I think that my mismatch goes deeper: perhaps the managers and bureaucrats were right: you really DO need to have a good fit with your organisation’s VISION STATEMENT or some such thing.  My CAPABILITIES (I mean really, do they know what people are really capable of?) need to fit in with their aims.  Maybe it’s just time to move on…

[This photo was titled ‘Vomitting Diamonds’.  You just have to love that…]

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3 thoughts on “A real mismatch at work

  1. drkottaway says:

    Careful with the working for a nonprofit!
    My grandfather was a psychiatrist and supposedly the first “industrial psychiatrist”. He worked for Macy’s at one point. He wrote a book about the roles in the different jobs in a hospital (including housekeeping) and how they are in conflict and have to be.
    He said something along the lines of “The higher the ideals of an organization, the worse it’s human relations.” That is, many organizations that have super high ideals treat their employees/volunteers like dirt.
    My first job out of residency was for a highly decorated and awarded organization of rural clinics. Out of 15 doctors, i was fifth senior in two years. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? Quick seniority. Any time I tried to talk to the director, she would say “We take care of the poor.” I finally said, “It’s not acceptable to me to take BAD care of the poor.” and I left. I lasted 3 years.

    Like

  2. sounja says:

    This post speaks to me so strongly. I do NOT thing it is just “middle class whingeing”. When your soul and your work are out of alignment for whatever reason, you become depressed. Thank you for writing what everyone is thinking. Just got yourself another follower.

    Like

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