9:59 p.m. - 2005-04-07
The temp job has been silly. They are paying paralegals somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 an hour...to put together boxes, label them, and fill them with paper, in between strenuous bouts of sitting around doing absolutely nothing while the temp who has been there for two weeks and accordingly thinks she is Queen Shit of Turd Mountain has "meetings" with the paralegals who actually are employees of the corporation.
However, today, that changed.
We got paid $17 an hour to sit around in front of a computer and do mostly fruitless word searches in between taxing stretches of waiting for the stupid online data to load.
Despite the new proximity to a computer, which has been strangely absent for most of the week, we still really can't surf the net between searches. This company blocks all the good websites (i.e., video games), and you feel like, if you check your e-mail, the thought police will shortly arrive from some part of the building and interrogate you mercilessly about what you were doing on company time.
As an additional deterrent to net-surfing, the program we are using is a secure server that has all these secret passwords and shit. Seriously. We have these little things that kinda look like your car door lock remote, and they have random number passcodes that change every minute. To log into the program, you have to type a PIN plus the passcode, and you have to do it BEFORE the passcode changes, or alarm bells will sound and you will instantly self-destruct. And whenever you try to get on another website, it will kick you out of the secure one, thus necessitating typing more numbers and waiting even longer for the data to load.
The data is a bunch of scanned documents. It's that "due diligence" shit the company has to make available to prospective buyers. Our job is to yank the documents which are attorney-client privileged.
These documents are beyond boring.
And they want us to work overtime. Lots of overtime. We probably wouldn't need to if the fucking computer was not so fucking slow. Ugh. Well, it's money for the ROO, I guess.
Then, when I get home today, there's a message from my placement chick. The company I interviewed with on Monday wants to hire me....but they are trying to lowball my ass on the salary. Plus, I'm not sure I want to work there. It seems like a decent environment, they don't give you shit about smoke breaks, the people seem nice enough...but, it's a small office, and I'm very afraid that I will be bored out of my skull in short order. Plus, I probably won't have a secretary. That blows. I liked having one. I never realized how much I truly loathed doing all that crap until I didn't have to anymore, and the thought of having to make copies and file and all that shit makes me want to spew.
It's funny. Earlier in the week, BFRB and I were talking. She's been surfing a lot of the Bonnaroo message boards. One of the recent threads has to do with a rumor that MTV may be there. All these little 19-year-old college students are pissed off that the Roo might be "commercial" and "corporate."
When I was 19, I probably would have thought the same thing. But now, I want to work for the man. Know why? Because the man pays better. And the man gives you a secretary and an office with a door that shuts and voice mail and business cards and health insurance. These are things you don't think about when you're in college and your parents are sending you money and you're still on their insurance.
It's not that life is ALL about money. It's really not. However, poverty pretty much blows the goat ass. Having a decent paycheck gives you the freedom to not worry about whether or not you'll have a climate-controlled roof over your head, a car that doesn't break down every five minutes, books to read, a computer to surf, a phone, and decent medical care if you get sick. I've been in that place...with the crappy car, the on and off utilities, and the reluctance to go to the doctor unless you see actual lung tissue emerge when you cough, because you know it will take half your paycheck and it may just be a virus that they can't do shit for anyway. Sorry, but that's not cool. I want to have a job that I can leave at the office, which pays the bills, and leaves me a little left over to do fun shit like go out with my friends, see some movies, buy some books, hit the mall, take cool vacations, go to concerts and plays, etc.
Ironically, if you look at it from that vantage point...that money gives you some freedom...the truly exploited workers are not the employees of big corporations. They're the ones working for small businesses, not getting paid worth a crap, unable to take their vacation time because there is no one to cover for them, and being among the huge percentage of Americans with no health insurance.
In a perfect world, everyone would get paid to do the things they love. However, since the things most people love (like art, or music, or writing, or nature, or making crafts, or whatever) are highly difficult to successfully do for a living, most of us have to work to be able to afford to do the things we love in our spare time. It's easy, though, to get caught up in the drama of everyday employment, to think that everything you're doing is so important that the world will end if you don't get it done, that you forget why you really have the job. The job becomes you.
I guess I've learned something...both from having a non-stressful job and being unemployed...and that is: defining yourself by only your job is very empty. If you're lucky enough to be one of the people who truly feels a passion for their profession, you're ahead of the game. But if you're just substituting a profession for passion, it's time to take a step back and reconnect with yourself and your family and friends and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Am I going to take this job? I don't know yet. I am just afraid that it will be jumping right back into living for work instead of working for life. When I had the horrible, stressful, crazy jobs, they made me too mentally wrung out to do anything beyond sit in front of the computer during my off hours. Sure, I do that now, but it's not all I do. I see friends, I go out, I work out...and I sleep a lot better as a result.
It's weird...thinking about all this has made me realize how much alike most of the battles we fight really are. My battle with food? I still don't trust myself. My first instinct in times of stress or depression is to eat. My battle with finding a balance between work and life? I still don't trust myself to maintain the proper perspective. I'm afraid that, because of the boredom from not working, I'll go to the other extreme and it's all I'll think about or do. Even with this temp job, it's hard not to try to be the "star"...hard not to seek approval and validation, despite the fact that this is completely temporary and there is absolutely no chance of permanent employment.
I was hoping that writing all of my swirling thoughts out would help.
Now I'm just more confused.