I am in a state of iffyness about my job. Or rather, about its environment. I like the computer work a lot. I love having work that involves command lines and requires not only an understanding of advanced computing but also stresses learning new stuff all the time. That part is amazing and I really enjoy it. But I am having a really, really, really hard time with the formal dress and the office environment. I can even get behind the desire to look nice and sharp, and damnit, I think I do look pretty good and sharp in my work clothes, but what’s to make me appear sharp if there’s no freakin’ laid back and everyone’s constantly so uptight about everything?
It is more than foreign. It is alien. It feels a little bit like I’m a bird under water, or a fish out of water, or some such analogy intended to imply an absurdly misplaced object. I don’t feel like an office denizen, and, more disturbing, is the fact that I honestly don’t think I ever want to feel like one either.
I keep trying to make the situation better in small ways like keeping a sense of humor about myself and the work and the situations we find ourselves in — like my Family Feud research notes which fell totally flat — but the most I get out of it is perhaps a guarded smile from the guy at the next cubicle. The office is so amazingly bland. All the furniture is beige and the entire floor is filled with a grid of cubes. The only thing worth looking at all is the New York City skyline out the window. At least my cube is right next to the window. Of course, the desk and computer is situated such that I have to sit with my back to the skyline, an interior design decision I can only imagine was made by some “productivity” company that figured people would be more productive if they didn’t look out the window at the river too often.
So basically I have found the other side of my golden coin. Now I have the salary I want and deserve (though why stop here?), the job is technically demanding and offers tons of opportunity for growth and learning, but the environment is all wrong, in almost every single way. Past jobs were shitty money (especially for my level of expertise), way too easy or too dead-ended, but the environment was better. Why is it so hard to find a balance for these things? I refuse to believe that I am just that hard to please.
And I am having a hugely difficult time pursuing my own projects, too. In the past it was still a challenge, but it was one I enjoyed because I was practicing at it and was ultimately successful, but now I only eek out little things here and there instead of the (relatively) awesome personal accomplishments of the past. It’s because back then I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Now I can only do whatever I want between certain hours of the day, and only if I’m not too tired or actually feeling up for it at the right time.
I used to stay up all night and do personal projects. I can’t do that anymore. I would get all into these projects and they would distract me and keep my occupied. I’d like that, and I’d also like working on the project. But now I can’t schedule things that way anymore because of work. God, I hate having a 9-5 job. I hate it so much sometimes it’s just unreal. It’s so fucking not true what people tell you when you’re little: “You can do whatever you want when you’re grown up.” What a load of crap that is. It should be, “You can do whatever you want on your own time when you’re grown up, but you’ll also sell a large chunk of your time to other people for money.”
I keep telling myself things will get better, but how likely is that really if what I’m really having a problem with is the environment of the place to begin with? If the environment were really awesome at this job then I’d probably feel differently about it. I think. I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t and I’d just find something else to complain about. Damnit, then, why can’t I find something to do or make that I enjoy doing and makes me the money I want to live off of the way I want to?