Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's not that I'm lazy, It's that I just don't care.

Is there a reason that there are a million youtube remakes/remixes/revisions of the printer smashing scene from Office Space? 
As someone who has held a few soul sucking desk jobs, I can definitely say yes, yes there is a reason.
I recently came out of a two year stint at one of the most menial, repetitive, monkey jobs* ever and the whole experience has been like a bad breakup.
Three months later, and that job keeps popping back up to bite me on the ass; to shove me around; to make it damn near impossible to move on; to push and poke and taunt and pull 'til finally I just want to march up to the building and yell,
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any...."
I mean,
"What the fuck? I worked here for almost two years! I did a job no one else wanted to do, fighting papercuts and files and folders and computers and scanners in a little cave cut off from the rest of the office, like I was some crazy aunt locked away in the attic, like I was the office's dirty little secret,; all the while I was patronized and talked down to and avoided unless you had another menial task to send my way or wanted me to train a yet another temp that you were going to fire a day later, and in spite of being belittled and ignored and treated like a piece of equipment, I didn't say jack! Why can't you let me get on with my life? I am a person! I am a person! I AM A PERSON!!"
except I am pretty sure I wouldn't get beyond "What the fuck?" before a security guard rode up on a golf cart to usher me away.
While I can never be sure that they were intentionally being dismissive assholes, I can say for certain that I am glad to be not locked into the security of a desk job anymore. And it is a trap- they trap you with guaranteed pay and group benefits (although you still are paying for a part of them) and the idea that as long as you have a job, you can rest assured knowing you aren't a self indulgent slob like all those other lazy jerks out there. All you have to give up in return is your happiness, your self respect and the notion that you deserve to be treated like a human being.
Okay- maybe it isn't like this in every office, but the majority of them seem to be filled with miserable people who are usually working to pay the rent or support a family or to have at least decent, alcohol soaked weekends and couldn't begin to fathom the idea of having a job that is fufulling and nourishes your mind and creative spirit. And I suppose they have made their peace with being walking talking pieces of equipment (again, I can't say that this is what it is like for everyone).
I couldn't. I am glad to be released from all that, even if I do only have $31 in my account to last me until my next job. As goofy as this sounds, every desk job I've had has chipped away at my spirit and after each one there was a period of adjustment where I taught myself how to be a real person again.
My apologies to those who think I should can the corn and stop complaining. It wasn't that I was not grateful to have work in a struggling economy- because I was. I was grateful everyday. But I was gradually losing my self worth and now, I am grateful for the opportunity to gain it back.
Of course I want to be of service to society, but I don't want to have to do it grudgingly. I hope this makes sense to anyone who has known what it is like to drag yourself to a shitty job every day until the day they decide that you are no longer of any use. You don't have to accept that- you are a person, dammit.
Move on and regain your sense of self, guy. You are totally worth it.

So in honor of not being ruled by soulless objects, and in honor of not becoming one yourself:

Office Space Printer from Shang Xiao on Vimeo.

*Monkey Job: A job so easy and boring and repetitive, a monkey could do it.