…so what have you done?
For various reasons having to do with my psychology…and you could write a book on it…this season is always a very nasty stressful time for me, but doubly so this year. I find very little to look to as a blessed thing. The year started off with a bad attack of gout (which flared up at least once more during the year), ended with one of the worst allergy attacks I’ve ever suffered, complete with post-nasal drip and insomnia from coughing, and the coda to the entire year is that I have this awful taste in my mouth about nearly everything I can think of.
Including this fucking coffee sitting on my desk. Blech.
From failing to finish a few bike rides that I challenged myself on to failing to sell my book (which is in its second draft) to an agent, to facing an enormous challenge at work in the form of my new boss (aka Bag of Salted Rat Dicks), this year has been so bad that I’ve been able to find the positive in it.
Yes, the positive. It’s been so bad that I’ve put it behind me (actually weeks ago) and mapped out 2014 already, from leaving my job, to being more forceful about making my own way in the world, earning money for me and not for some other shmuck with a checkbook, to taking care of my health.
I am, in the words of Danny Glover, getting too old for this shit.
See, I’ve always been a little maladjusted to the working world, but maladjustment is appropriate when the world is unjust, and lately, the working world has become grossly unjust. I look around me, and I see friends of mine, of my age – good people, hard-working and experienced – getting the pink slip left and right. In the past, I’d be all “There but for the grace of God,” but I realize through my tears of goodbyes and guilt over not being let go (did I mention I’m maladjusted to the working world? I’m maladjusted. Usually it’s me going away.) through my tears that I’m envious a little.
There’s a trust, an unspoken contract, in work that says that if I or you take a job, we agree to work for a given amount of money for a given amount of time and that we will give our best effort. In return, we ask, we contract for, that employer to give us their best effort.
And it seems for decades now, but in particular now to people of a certain age, that effort is lacking on the boss’s part. In a blindly capitalist system, our experience, our value, to the enterprise would be immeasurable, and our compensations both material and not would reflect that.
But we’re treated like children, and watch our salaries be frozen or cut and our bonuses fritter away, if indeed we ever get any. Meanwhile, we’re asked to pay more towards our health insurance (Obamacare, thank God, will help here) and to pitch in more of our precious free time to avoid having to hire someone who will simply end up replacing us should we balk or dare to age at all.
So WTF is the point?