I Said No

The last week or so at work has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I’ve felt good, then bad, then good again, and then bad again, back and forth in more ways than one. The company is very stressed right now as we are less than two weeks from a brand new acronym I encountered: EOFY (End of Fiscal Year). As part of the effort to improve things, I was first asked to work the Martin Luther King Jr. day holiday, which I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to do after my boss offered me to “comp” me a day off some other time. However, then I was asked to also work straight through the next weekend. Twelve solid days of work.

I said no. I’m a little worried about that. Fact of the matter is, I’m just not that devoted. I see no real benefit from working more. I don’t earn more money and I’m not exactly having a ball. Frankly, I can’t understand why the people who said yes actually said yes. I did feel the pressure to say yes, and though I still don’t know if I would have done so, the fact that saying yes would have meant that the last time I saw Sara until she returned from Australia would have been tomorrow closed the argument. There was just no way I was going to give up the last weekend I could spend time with her in over a month for…that.

Consolingly, Sara told me I could explain that this situation isn’t typical and so my refusal is a special case. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t want to say that because if I am asked to do many more of those such things, I intend to say no just as often. My job should only be my life if I am doing only what I want to do and nothing else. There’s so little reason in this day and age why people should ever, ever do anything (significant) they don’t genuinely want to that I’m growing increasingly frustrated seeing such pointless things around me and as a part of my life so often.

I love technology and I love learning more about it, solving problems, working on implementing solutions, and documenting them thoroughly. There’s no question I’m better off today than I ever have been before. But it’s not good enough. I’m still doing and putting up with so much of other people’s bullshit that I shouldn’t have to–that nobody should ever have to–that I know I’ve still got a long way to go.

The way I see it, there are only two ways I can ever make doing what I want and only what I want a reality. The first is to work for myself, freelance or start-up company or something. For the several years that I did that, I was actually much happier for a much longer time than I’ve ever been when I worked as an employee of any company, big or small. I think that is because I focused on solely what I wanted to do and deemed worth doing. The only issue was that my income was not steady and ultimately not profitable enough to sustain a living doing the kind of web development I was doing. I’m not going to be an exceptional web developer; there are too many other people out there who are far better at that than I am. I lack the graphic design skills to be a designer and I lack the programming skill to be a one-man developer of anything beyond small projects.

The only other way to ever do only what I want, then, is to join an open source or open source-like organization where I get paid for it. Unfortunately, I am too unskilled and thus unknown for anyone to be that interested in me right now. Hopefully, this will eventually change, and I’ll get better and better and become a uniquely qualified individual for some uniquely specialized task that I enjoy doing. However, there is no doubt in my mind that this will never happen if I work for a company that still functions in the old-model of thinking, closed source and closed minds. It is a requirement that I task myself to ensure that I only receive tasks that I enjoy, and that is only possible in groups when collaboration is voluntary.

I am also not yet over being incredibly bitter and resentful at the world at large and at certain past situations in particular for making this sort of thing a constant battle for me. The majority of my life has been a constant struggle to make others see the most basic, fundamental, obvious things. I resent that most of my memories of growing up are about fighting with parents and teachers about my own well being. I am angry that I have had to parent myself to such a degree that I feel so much older than everyone my own age. I felt like I was 20 at 12, like 30 at 16 and now like 45 at 22. I am tired of fighting.