February 28, 2011

What I'm Looking For

Yet another post on the work change. Sorry. It's a rather big step at this point. There is still a legitimate question about being on my feet for a whole shift (it's 3 13 hour days folks. That's kinda scary. A little). Health issues. Stuff I didn't have 14 years ago, the last time I was in a print shop.

I'll be working on equipment as pictured here, btw.

I don't want to have to have an opinion. I don't want to have to talk to young entrepreneurs (most of whom - by my experience - are selfish, conceited, snobbish, unaware of their own foibles and sometimes just outright pricks) any more. I don't want to produce a number out of thin air or sit in meetings where people spend hours looking at charts and Power Point and coming to the same decision they would have four hours before anyway.

I don't want to sit in a bar at a convention and have people look at my watch or other people's watches or talk about how much they nailed down in new commissions last month. I don't want to sit at booths at trade shows and say the same thing over and over again to people who are just trying to look interested but really just want to go home.

I'm tired of having to look and sound like an expert at anything. Tired of talking about politics. Tired of caring about the latest news going on in the country or outside the country, or who said what to enrage who about what on the radio or the TV. Who is screwing who in Hollywood.

I remember standing in a gas station about a year ago this time and listening to people talk. Listening to their cadences. The words they skipped over. The fact that nobody talks in complete sentences. I started putting it into what I was writing. The way people actually talk. Not what reads best. Using the exact phrases and expressions. I remember how the book Huckleberry Finn used the language of the time to create a masterpiece. I remember seeing a couple guys standing there talking about the work they were going to do that day. And I remembered all the times people in one strata of the working world would go out of their way to cut down people like these. And I recall participating, being so smug and special now that I was wearing clean shoes every day, in those days.

And every once in a while I'd feel a little envious of the surety. The 1 -2 - 3.

I used to say - wow, what a relief it would be to be on the clock again. Just come in, do your work, punch out and not have to generate a plan of attack for tomorrow. A presentation in the morning. An organizational excuse. To not have to have a strategy. A four step program to greater success. And then have to have other people judge you on what you think and how you think it.

Of course you're not supposed to take steps back. I can tell you right now that people are already working on how they're going to explain themselves at our high school reunion this year. You can count on it. Well I started out on the crew but now I'm the General Manager to the Vice President In Charge Of Looking Out The Window. Well I'm between jobs right now but molecular epidemiology is my field of expertise.

I'm going to say I print and cut and fold stuff. Let people figure it out from there. Say what they want. Think what they want. Kick themselves for pumping up their status and their position so it sounds real good in the program.

But that's not what I'm trying to say in this post. It's not even where I wanted it to go. It's what I'm looking for that counts right now.

Since the late 90's, when I started on the road to corporate/national sales and blah blah blah, I never did jobs I wanted to do. I did the jobs I had to do, and jumped on every opportunity that just laid itself out for me. And I kind of got away from myself in the bargain. It wasn't until I started saying - admitting - that this wasn't the direction I ever wanted that I started back into seriously, purposefully writing again. I was too busy pushing my energy into travel and sales goals and taking this ridiculously unattractive persona and making it presentable to people. Meeting decision makers. Talking to people with those stupid tassels on their shoes.

And I'm sure I'm romanticizing it. But I do remember being in a mix of people I understood, for all their faults. And my faults. And our warts. You could bite into a wet Italian beef sandwich (it's a Chicago thing, sorry) and drip down your chin and onto the wax paper it was wrapped in and no one is sitting there going "oh heavens, how uncouth." You could stop in a tavern on a Friday and the first thing you buy with a paycheck is a big greasy Reuben with a pitcher of beer. For yourself. Go to poker games where there weren't mixed drinks. Or go to poker games at all. Bowling. What about bowling? You could go bowling.

It's relative, of course. This milieu is full of it's own bullshit too. But at least it'll be my bullshit. The bullshit I'm used to, instead of the rarefied kind I've been in for the last 14 years. There's something to that I think.

We'll see.


flask said...

i cannot for the life of me think why you'd start this with an apology for talking about your job change.

it's your blog; write what you want to write. that's why i come here, anyway: to read whatever you feel like writing.

yeah, 'coz you can tear it off with some style. talk about toothpaste if you want.

and have a nice day.

Mrs. Hall said...

I wanna be the "Vice President In Charge Of Looking Out The Window. "

but alas, my office is in the basement.


that being said. work is just one part of life.

a teeny weeny incy wincy part of life.

the rest comes from awesome marital life, family, going outdoors and shouting in the woods, and sammiches.

the rest is more awesome then the work will every be.

rock on my bloggy blog friend!

SK Waller said...

"I'm tired of having to look and sound like an expert at anything. Tired of talking about politics. Tired of caring about the latest news going on in the country or outside the country, or who said what to enrage who about what on the radio or the TV. Who is screwing who in Hollywood."

Thank you for so concisely stating my new manifesto.

Gino said...

a old wise man once told me, after he had been disciplined and demoted to a less skilled position and i had offered my condolences (i was about 23 at the time):

he said... "paycheck is a paycheck. fuck 'em."

my words to you: wear the most comfortable shoes you can get, and dont look at the price tag before you buy.

Brian said...

Some of us who work in the "knowledge economy" (I don't actually know what that is, but as far as I can tell, I pretty much get paid to know stuff no one else wants to bother learning, and occasionally produce more stuff to know that nobody knows that they don't know yet, and probably never will) love nothing more than to blow the first few bucks of our paycheck (OK it's direct deposit, but you get the idea) at the bar on Friday, and also go bowling. Just sayin'.

Also, if you can get a fatigue mat next to that thing, your back will thank you.

sybil law said...

As long as you don't use Orange Crush as a mixer...
Oh, wait.

No, seriously- pretentious people sicken me more than anyone. As soon as you said tassels, I got it. Well, I got it before that, but the tasseled shoes - ugh. Exactly.

Now you get some steel toed kickass boots, right?

Dave2 said...

In oh so many ways, I envy you. To have a job where you get up, go to work, do your job, then come home and can just be satisfied at having put in a day's work for a day's pay without all the bullshit? I just can't fathom it.

I do dream about it. And often.

B.E. Earl said...

I don't know nuthin' about nuthin', but I'm totally buying myself a greasy Reuben sandwich and a pitcher of beer this Friday.