Thursday, February 25, 2010

i heart Y am I here?

I have a confession to make. I’m 21 and have been working at the same job since I left school in 2005.

Older readers might shrug at that and say “talk to me in 40 years” and some grandparent types might pat me on the back for not getting fired in that time.

Mention that fact to anybody of my generation, however, and I’ll more than likely cop a blank look, a slight slackening of the jaw and then the verbalisation of this shock: “What’s wrong with you?”

It’s been said that people my age (I loathe the term “Generation Y”) are far happier jumping from job to job, accruing life experience and sampling as much of the world as they can before their body, liver, bank account, or criminal record prevents them.

To be stuck in a single job, in a single location, for nearly four years is not the mark of success it was in my parents’ generation …

You might think that this is where I mount a spirited defence of my “tenacity” and “loyalty” but honestly, I completely agree with my peers.

I look around my workplace and I see slaves – people who hate their jobs, their smug bosses, and the just-dawning fact that they will spend most of their lives in an office like this, working hard so that somebody with a bigger desk and no porn filter on their computer will reap the benefits.

Admittedly, “I hate my job” is a tiny, pale complaint next to the howls of agony from refugees, the starving, the bereaved and the damaged, but that’s the point.

It’s not something anybody can get worked up about – it’s a tiny, niggling leech that slowly sucks the colour from every day, and while you tell yourself that other people have bigger problems, the fact remains that you don’t.

So here’s my question: is this really what life is?

I know there are people who enjoy what they do, who have a passion for it, and who do something truly vital, and I tip my hat to them (or would, if hats were allowed in the office).

But the bulk of us do small, boring jobs we couldn’t care less about, right? And we tell ourselves that “it’s just a job” and ignore the fact that no, it’s not just a job. It’s the sweet, precious, limited hours of our life that we lose in service to some faceless company, and that’s the one commodity we can’t get back.

In this land of opportunity, you can make more money, buy more food, find another house, but time only flows in one direction.

Personally, I’ve only been able to stand my job for four years because I tell myself it’s a stepping stone on a path to somewhere better – namely, the life of luxury, wealth, and groupies that comes with being a bestselling author.

Sure, I’m kidding myself (with regard to both the level of my talent and the lifestyle authors enjoy) but how many people are different? They slave and save for their retirement, as though it’s a good bargain to sacrifice youth for a comfortable old age.

Meanwhile, the news is rife with tales of kids in their early 20s bouncing from fruit-picking to tutoring to office work, each job lasting only as long as it takes to get bored with it. So who’s right? Is adult life all about monotonous drudgery?

I mean, somebody’s got to keep the wheels of this world well-greased. It can’t be all fun and games. A man has to become a servant if he wants to keep getting paid (and how incredibly emasculating is that?).

And if you want that bigger pay cheque, then you have to realise that your friends, family, hobbies, pastimes, can wait for later. They’ll always be there, waiting for you to come back, won’t they?

I dunno. Maybe I’m just a lazy, clueless kid wide-eyed with shock that the world actually expects me to earn a living. Yet I can’t help but feel that, somewhere along the line, I took a wrong turn when I landed in this office.

Or should I just shut up and bend over my desk for the boss?

Credit: The Ginger Building a Better Bloke

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