Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Only Thing Worse Than Having A Shitty Job Is NOT Having A Job

There are certain things that will set off my PTSD (Post Traumatic Shitty job Disorder), and one of them is being in a grocery store and hearing the Seal song Kiss from a Rose.
Of course, this really only manifests in the form of me flashing back to the shitty job in question for a moment, then going on with what I was doing.
About 11 years ago I started a shitty job working the overnight shift in a 24 hour grocery store.
At that time, the movie Batman Forever had come out and the aforementioned Seal song was part of its soundtrack (as was, I just discovered, a song by Nick Cave, who seems to pop up in the most unexpected places) and was extremely popular.
The PA system in the store, when not being used for announcements, piped out music for the customers’ pleasure.  The music was provided via something known as DMX, or Digital Music Express, commercial-free channels of CD-quality music delivered over cable from the local cable company.
The music channel of choice, at that time, was one that played the popular music of the day and the very recent past.  It would reset frequently, so it wasn’t unusual for me to hear some songs, such as the one by Seal, as many as three times in the course of eight hours.
Another popular song of the day was the theme from Friends.  That one I heard even more frequently, as it would be on the radio on my drive in to work (at the time an AM/FM radio was all that was available to me), would play three times during my shift, and would be on the radio in the morning when I drove home.
The music I suffered though was just one of the aspects of the job that made it shitty, but it was a pretty potent aspect, one that only got worse as time went on.  
For example, the day after Thanksgiving the channel was switched to Christmas music, and that’s where it stayed until January 2.
After the Christmas music, it was switched to the Oldies channel, and that’s where it stayed until the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas music started up again.
The thing is, as irritating and repetitious as the popular music was, at least every once in a while a new song was brought into rotation and others fell out.
Not so with the oldies.  In fact, by definition there would never be anything new on the oldies channel.
Other aspects of the job that made it shitty were the lousy hours, the low pay, the mind-numbing tedium of it, and of course the fact that my boss hated me.
Why did she hate me?  I’ve never been sure.  I suppose it’s because then, as now, I was a smart ass, and somewhere along the line, early on, I said something that rubbed her the wrong way.
That aspect of it went away about a year after I’d started as she left the company (to be replaced by my sister, who made for a much less hateful boss), but was immediately replaced by me being trained to work as a cashier.
After not quite two years I moved on to a different, less shitty job, but the scars of my time in that store (a place I briefly returned to before making my move to Tucson), are still with me, and when I’m in a grocery store and I hear Seal, they itch.
What’s the point of all this?  I suppose there isn’t one, really, I’m just thinking about the many jobs I’ve had throughout the years as I consider the prospect of having to find another one.
The thing is, I don’t want to find another job.  Granted, my current job isn’t the most intellectually stimulating or emotionally rewarding, but considering that it is the best-paying job I’ve ever had and that the amount of time off I have, coupled with the fact that the job itself isn’t especially demanding, it’s as close as I’ve ever come to having the freedom of being unemployed while retaining the economic stability of having a job.
Who would want to give that up?
Beyond that, though, is the fact that there really isn’t anything I want to do, no burning ambition or hopes or aspirations.
They say that to be happy you need to find a way to do what you love for a living.
That’s the problem; at best, there are only things that I kind of like to do.
Once upon a time I wanted to write for a living, but that dream, if it ever really qualified as a dream, has, if not died, at least fallen into a persistent vegetative state, and finds its only expression in these entries, which pretty much fall into the category of involuntary responses.
Or something.
When it comes to writing, anything that I have to say has pretty much already been said by other people and put more eloquently.
As for drawing,…well, for all of last month and so far this month, Heroic Portraits has had a whopping 2 visitors.
There are some who might suggest that it comes down to having faith in myself.  They might be right.
But if the problem is that I don’t have faith in myself, what is the solution?
Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say.
Anyway, knowing that the axe may yet fall, I have actually been taking a look at what’s out there.  So far nothing’s clicking, and more than anything I find myself just hating the thought of having to find a different job, having to get used to a different schedule, getting to know different people, and hoping that this time I’ve finally found what it is that I’m going to do for the next thirty years or so.
So even if I were to find something that I love and do that for a living, first I’d have to go through doing a bunch of stuff I hate.
Speaking of doing things, I’ve pretty much devoted today to not doing things.
Not really unusual for me, I know, but I decided that I’m absolutely not venturing out into the world for anything.
I did, at least, manage to force myself to take a shower, though.
And now I’m starting to think that there’s nothing finer I could do with my time than take a nap.
Now there’s something I wouldn’t mind being able to make a living doing…

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