Friday, May 12, 2006

The knot tightens 

Oh dear. I know this is crazy, but I’m doing it nonetheless. Taking steps to tie myself ever more firmly to job that feels so alien to me, and a lifestyle that starves my soul so.


Because I can’t figure out what else to do.

Consider this. A human being needs to be committed to something, just as a newborn needs a mother figure to cling to. A cause, a relationship, a higher purpose, even just a hobby. Do we all need this? I don’t know; I can only speak for myself and make inferences from what I observe in others

So here it is. I have my work; I don’t enjoy it much, I find little fulfilment in it, but I have it and it fills my best hours. Like it or not, work is the biggest single consumer of my time and energy. For the moment, I can’t not have it.

In simple terms there are three ways forward: get on, get out, or do nothing.

I’ve tried the last; I’ve tried to close my eyes to it but that line isn’t getting me anywhere. Followed further, that will turn me – already is turning me - into a tired and bitter old cynic. I open my mouth sometimes and I’m appalled to hear what comes out; I hear the voice of a victim, of a given-up.

I don’t know where to go to get out, and the tension of wishing for one life but living another is becoming unbearable. I tried getting further up the ladder here (goodness only knows why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time), but the feedback I had from my interviews showed just how much my confidence in myself has withered; I’m totally incapable of “selling” myself adequately at an interview, barely even capable of conducting routine business.

How many people on their deathbed say “I wish I’d spent more time at the office?” I might hold values that are reflected in that question, yet I’m deliberately gearing myself up to become more committed to work– in spite of the fact that I resigned from one of my previous jobs here precisely because I could tell I was slowly turning into a workaholic. In spite of the fact that I feel like a spare part here.

Why, why, why?

It seems the least worst option.

I need to go home at the end of the day knowing I’ve done more than occupied my seat and looked busy; I need to know I’ve achieved something that someone, somewhere holds to be of value; I need to go home not feeling guilty that I’m receiving money in return for my pathetically meagre output. Even if I can’t feel part of something which I value, I need to feel valued by others - how else can I hold myself in high regard?

The motorcycle is part of this plan. It frees up time, it consumes less physical and mental energy (I must be getting old – cycling 30 miles a day is getting to me), but paying for it ties me to a salary for another 3 years – well, another 5 years; I can only justify the expense on the grounds that it breaks even compared to a season ticket over 5 years.

I suppose I should be grateful for having a job at all, and living in one of the most privileged parts of the globe. Some days, though, I feel I’d trade it all for the life of a hermit in some hovel somewhere.

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