Midway through my second year at FinancialCompany, I’m kind of losing it.
I know from my experience with my first employer at SoftwareCompany that drinking makes life generally worse. I mean, it’s simple to prove: Just add a hangover to an already crappy day and it’s always harder to bear.
But I have a problem. The issue is that I can’t turn off the work thoughts at night. I get home at six or six thirty if I’m lucky. Eat something, take off my monkey suit. Call my SO and complain about work. Then it’s probably eight at night.
I’ve been plugged into work and thinking work thoughts all day. Work work work work. Now all of a sudden I’m supposed to be able to switch gears and magically get interested in learning a new language or beating a video game or my mother’s struggles to remove poison ivy plants from her backyard or fictional characters’ imaginary lives on a television program.
I couldn’t. My internal machinery had frozen in place and could not be adjusted. Cogs had become specialized at resolving work related problems and it wasn’t possible to repurpose their efforts.
After a while I was willing to do just about anything to break things loose in my head, to get things unstuck. So I started drinking again.
The type of drinking I did at FinancialCompany was very different from anything I’d done before. At SoftwareCompany, I drank socially. I’d go out with a few co-workers or friends and do what nearly everybody does from time to time: blow steam. Sure, some nights I might have a few too many, but for the most part, it was pretty normal binge drinking, even if it was three or four nights a week.
At FinancialCompany, on the other hand, I drank alone, and for the express purpose of getting drunk. I did it even though I knew it was bad for me. Even though I knew it was probably going to make things worse.
On some rare nights this strategy worked. My brain would get unstuck and I’d finally be able to watch movies and sitcoms and get lost in the stories. But most times it didn’t, and I’d find myself obsessing over work bullshit, hating Cthulhu — hating everything! — wondering if I should quit.
I drank in an attempt to achieve conscious oblivion. Sometimes I reached it, but most of the time it eluded me.
Either way, I always regretted it the next day.
Note: I fixed this problem for good, eventually, but not before it caused me some legitimate trouble in my personal life.
I like your comment about just wanting to do the work instead of managing the work. I feel the same way. It seems like people think you’re some kind of weirdo if you’re not constantly striving to advance to management level. Personally, I find the actual work itself much more rewarding and less stressful than having to deal with personnel issues and being responsible for other people’s work.
“some kind of weirdo” — exactly. When I did finally leave FinComp. I remember telling my Dad that I was going to take a pay-cut to work somewhere else with potentially more satisfying work. His head nearly exploded: between the loss of title-based status and the drop in compensation, he just absolutely could not comprehend the rationale behind the decision. He’s one of those guys that thinks “work is a misery no matter what, so you might as well get paid as much as possible.” PS, it turned out to be a good move anyways.
“It seems like people think you’re some kind of weirdo if you’re not constantly striving to advance to management level.” So true. Try being a secretary, always having wanted to be one, being really good at it and never having had any desire to manage people at all. So many people seem to just kind of fall in to secretarial/admin work because they can’t get anything else and then try and use it as a stepping stone to other work (should I blame that Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford film?) that, yep, managers seem to think you’re some kind of weirdo if you don’t want to do what they’re doing. I think at some point I came to the realisation that it’s only natural, since people will judge you by their own standards, so to speak, and if they have the ambition or desire to manage and move up in a company, they struggle to understand those who don’t.
Glad I came back to finish reading through your archives, by the way. It’s very useful and I think I’m going to try and do something similar. I have no FU money and will never retire early but nonetheless will be handing in my notice by the end of this quarter (have a three months from end of quarter notice period). I just reached a point recently where I realised it’s the same old shit starting to happen that sent me to the brink of a nervous breakdown three years ago and it’s just not worth it. I think it’ll be really good to look back on not just this but all of my jobs till now and try and remember the good and the bad about each of them. It’d be good to have that stuff clear in my head when choosing my next one. Thanks.
So, were the coins really as big as your whole body (Mario graphic ref)? No wonder we like VG so much, you get to travel to inventive places and get rich just by jumping up and grabbing floating money. Interesting comment about your Dad, mine would be pretty surprised by my financial situation. He knows we’ve had it good, and he had it good too, but I don’t think he knows how different the working world is. Also, not to be to random in this comment, but I like how you are treating this as ‘the work experience’ – it’s just one of many options available. I hated my previous choice, but is was necessary and I would’ve chaffed at it being called an experience, but my latest gig is definitely an open ended ‘experience’.
Video games aren’t an improvement over many parts of life (hiking, eating, and hanging around with my wife come to mind), but there’s no question they’re better than office life, hands down, all day, every day. On the subject of the parents — I can’t even tell my Dad what’s going on with me financially — he would shit a brick if he knew I was on the edge of retiring, and I’m not sure there’d be any way to calm him down. It’s weird — he dislikes work but simultaneously accepts that it’s a mandatory part of life to be endured, at least through age 60. For me to tell him I’ve just short-cutted the misery, well, I’m just not sure what he’d say. My first guess is “lazy.” If you ever tell your dad, I’d love to read a post about the experience… To your ‘random’ comment (love random comments btw): absolutely, even within a certain field or industry, things vary quite a bit from job to job, and each option ends up having its own distinct feel. Glad you left your own bad fit job and you’re somewhere that feels better now! Good for you, EV.
What am I missing? This is not a long post… is it somewhere else now? Was it removed? Thanks for any info you can give me.
There are links to pages underneath the all of the wordpress.com stuff at the end of the page.
I just added some navigation tip reminders to the opening pages of the job experience posts to help folks find their way.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Durr got it! Haha can’t believe I missed it. Thanks for the help! I’m going through all your posts and quite frankly… they’re awesome.
Your blog is really entertaining so far. I’ve been reading it from A-Z. You make me laugh!
I’ve been reading through your work stories over the last few days. Found my way hear after reading somebody else’s particularly entertaining work stores on MMM and fellow posters talking about “Doom.”
I’m really enjoying them but Cthulu’s behavior makes me a little physically sick. We all know there are bosses like that out in the world. But reading a detailed description of it is quite disturbing.
On a lighter note. I love the stories! Very entertaining writing with lots of introspection and interesting observations.
“JUSTIFY YOUR INACTION IN WRITING” had me laughing for a good minute. Great writing.