The Office: How spectacularly I have failed. But, why?

Office life.

How spectacularly I have failed to assimilate to it!

But, why?

It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. I’ve worked in four of them now (five if you count the poker table as an office – I do, most don’t). Recently I resigned from my latest attempt at list-ticking office-living after nearly experiencing a total breakdown (true story).

I’ve come up with five reasons why I’ve failed so spectacularly. These reasons are “lick-my-finger-and-put-it-in-the-air” guesses as opposed to results of a comprehensive analysis of the facts. I’m coming to realise finger-licking is a good approach to take in life. Some might even say, a finger-licking-good approach…

Sorry…couldn’t help myself.

The finger-licking approach is about getting things mostly right, rather than all-the-way right because mostly right is usually good enough. Trying to get shit all the way right seems to be a recipe for finding oneself drowning in anxiety cuddling a teddy bear under the desk repeating the mantra “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like…”.

So, here are the five finger-licking-good (mostly-right) reasons I’ve failed to inhabit an office:

 

  1. I don’t like people

It’s true. I don’t. I LOVE them. Surprisingly, this is the problem. I love people and, without sounding like a hippie but also wishing to convey this as a sincere message, all I want for them to do is love each other. I don’t like them because they don’t.

Instead many seem enamoured with bitching and moaning. Within the office environment bitching runs rampant as if it were a Hippo given free reign at the Caesar’s Palace buffet. It’s called “office politics”. And I can’t stand it.

Let’s use my buddy Brad as an example. Brad is a made-up dude. I don’t know ANY Brads, other than of the Pitt variety and he’s got no reason to bitch (good-looking fucker what an ass-ho… oh shit, I just contradicted myself). Anyway, here’s what made-up Brad said to me the other day:

“Shitty weather we’re having lately huh? Mate, do you know what Bob did to me? Bob didn’t put milk in my coffee, again! And Steve sent a grumpy email to Sally and now she’s angry at me, because…”

Please, oh please, Brad, will you stab me in the face with a rusty soldering iron rather than subject me to another utterance of this trivial bullshit.

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

Yes Brad, it’s true, Bob did forget to put milk in your coffee. And yes, he probably did it on purpose because he told me he thinks you’re an ass hole. But Brad, let me say to you this: Fuck Bob. Why the feck do you care? Drink the coffee or don’t. Then take a gander outside. There’s a world out there. Can you see it? It’s just past your milk-less coffee.

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I’ve lost my appetite for Brad’s indescribably tedious musings; the anti-Oliver Twist if you will… please sir, no more!

No offence intended to the Brads out there. I still love you. I do.

Prefer milk in your coffee? I love you AND I’d love to hear why.

Don’t like milk in your coffee? I love you AND I’d love to hear why.

Want to bitch about people? I love you BUT keep it to yourself eh?

Here’s the rub: I won’t not love you because you choose to bitch about others (and yes, this is a choice). But I don’t need to listen to you either. Life’s too short for such nonsense.

 

  1. I don’t do well in cages

When I was a child we took our cat Valentine to the vet. In order to transport Valentine to the vet, we needed to put her into a cage. One of those small plastic box type things with metal caging in the front. Valentine clawed and struggled as we tried to put her into the cage. Once in the cage, I remember the hopelessly petrified look on Valentine’s little cat-face – maybe worried she might be trapped in there forever!?

I don’t know. I’m not a cat-psychic. But she definitely did not like it one bit. Regardless of the good intentions we had in putting Valentine in the cage, she simply was not meant to be put in a cage.

Valentine and I see eye to eye. Except in my case, the cage is figurative.

 

  1. The (my) definition of productivity = creating, not facilitating

At High School I had an English class where I’d look out the window. The window overlooked a patch of grass with a tree planted in the middle, behind the tree was a rock wall, and beyond this the street. I used to stare out the window, and dream grand dreams. Actually, that’s a lie. To be totally honest, I was thinking about drawing dicks in my friend’s work book. But they were grand dicks. Cock-a-saurus Rex. Centipenis. The Moby Dork. These were creative dick-drawings. Not just your stock-standard cock and balls number.

“Mark! Stop staring out the window!” my white-haired English teacher would yell “focus on the books”

He had a point. Books are definitely better than dicks. Books contain powerful learned knowledge. Yet, if you think about it, there is nothing new in there. There is valuable information definitely, and things which may be new to you, but there isn’t anything new. You dig?

After you’ve read a book, how do you expect to create anything new from it in your life, other than by staring out a window? In other words, it’s simply not possible to create without first giving space to let the creative process happen. If you constantly distract yourself with new information, gadgets and blah, this is all you’ll ever know.

I truly believe, to be creative one must sit and stare into space. This is when the magic happens. In a 9 to 5, where bosses loom, how is one meant to sit and stare into space at ease?

I’ll tell you how…

…They aren’t!

Because the office doesn’t give a fuck about your Cock-a-saurus Rex.

I’ve only recently learnt that in order for me to feel productive, I must create. I must be left alone to stare out the window. Thankfully, I’ve moved on from Cock-a-saurus Rex’s. I’m now onto the Rhi-cock-erous, a Rhino with a dick as a horn (Trademark pending).

 

  1. I’m a fuckwad

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can’t deny it any longer: I’m a fuckwad. Always have been. Always will be. You probably figured that one out after reading point 3 above…

The world has tried fiercely to mould me into something other than that. And I’ve struggled mightily, with extreme pain and hardship, against its influence.

Slowly, as a result of this struggle, I’ve lost almost all desire to conform to the ‘norm’ as I’ve become painfully aware no such thing exists.

Why would I spend a lifetime striving to achieve an existence which literally does not exist?

I simply cannot conceive of a bigger waste of time than this.

Unfortunately for me, offices have come to represent a ‘norm’ of sorts. I can’t pinpoint why exactly this is, but it is. This is not me saying working in an office is a bad thing. It’s not. If that floats your boat, then have at it. This is me saying if you’re doing it solely to try to fit in, it’s a bad thing. Took me a while to figure this one out. And, who knows, maybe I’ll backslide once more…

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Hanging in an AirBnb room in Washington
  1. I’m not a hamster

I don’t know about you, but sometimes in the office environment, with its hierarchical nature, I get the feeling as if I’m being constantly told:

“Keep running on that hamster wheel son, and I’ll keep giving you these cookies”

I say fuck your cookies. I will do no such thing.

Bold words indeed. Undoubtedly, I will be forced to eat them once the cookie’s bitter-sweet taste is but a memory, and I find myself hungry, begging on the streets, rapping for cheeseburgers outside a McDonald’s.

But fuck it. I’d rather live this way than be subjected to a life behind bars.

Once you have tasted true freedom it is very difficult to turn back. I do not speak of travel, which necessarily ends. I speak of freedom. True. Unabated. Unencumbered. Freedom. Go watch Braveheart, Mel Gibson knows what’s what.

Besides, who knows, perhaps fortune will favour the bold?

Or… perhaps not.

But, when all is said and done, I hope to rest easy in the knowledge it was not for lack of trying.

Or as Mel put it, “Ayyyye… fight… and you may die… run, and you’ll live…at least a while… and dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they will never take… our FREEEEEEDOM”

That’s obviously melodramatic as a mofo. And Braveheart was talking to a hoard of kelt wearing Scottish rag-tags with pitchforks and kitchen knives facing an overwhelming army of trained English soldiers. I’m talking about ditching an office job. The two don’t really seem that comparable…

However, I think they are. It’s about how you respond in the face of adversity. I recently told a friend of mine that I’d resigned, and she responded by saying, “I read your message as saying you’d resigned emotionally”.

To which I responded, “No. I’ve resigned from my job. Strangely, this is exactly the opposite. In a weird way, to stay would’ve been to give up”.

If you live life as if you will never die, you risk the chance of dying feeling as if you’ve never lived.

Did I just write that? Dang, that’s deep. Where the fudge-popsicle did that come from?

I love to take risks, yet to risk dying as if I’ve never lived…well, that’s one risk I simply cannot take.

And so, I raise a toast to my inner-fuckwad as I embark on a new journey.

To where?

Fuck knows. Just how a Fuckwad likes it.

 

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