This week I’ve been thinking long and hard about my working life, excluding fiction. And I’ll be honest, I’m kind of an underachiever. I’ve never excelled in any job I’ve worked. I mean, I do fine when I give half a rat’s ass (which is the most rat’s ass I’ll ever give), but I’m not a model citizen of the corporate world, or any world in which I have a boss.
As an example, let’s consider my current day job as a technical writer. Not five minutes ago (and I AM writing this blog post from my day job office and perhaps someone from said day job will see this post and I’ll get my ass fired … hmm … guess I’ll keep writing) … Where was I? Oh yeah, five–now six–minutes ago a colleague appeared in my office doorway to ask if I was going to the weekly engineering meeting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I’m new to that particular team. Apparently, last week they asked where I was because, eh hem, I’d missed the meeting two weeks in a row. I had taken the two Fridays off work (for, eh-hem, fiction stuff).
Yeah, yeah, I know I’m expected to send out one of those mass emails to let folks know when I’m “OOF” (“out of office” for those of you lucky enough not to know what that acronym means). Because I’m expected to do this, I don’t.
As soon as I feel pressure to conform, to tow the line, to play politics, to whatever, I start in on tiny passive-aggressive bids for personal freedom. Like, leaving the office at whatever-the-hell-time-I-please to take walks or run errands.
On my last performance review, my boss noted that one reviewer mentioned that being a team player wasn’t one of my strengths and that I seem to be about what’s convenient for me. My boss, bless her heart, assumed that this person had misinterpreted my behavior because I’m an introvert.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this state of affairs. It’s not like I’ve changed since my first job as a dog washer. I don’t remember the sweet old dog’s name, but he was a small, black, shaggy pooch owned by the Rosenbaums. Even back then I couldn’t tow the line. How hard is it to wash, dry, and brush a sweet dog in the manner a strange, leftover hippie lady wanted?
I didn’t mind the washing, but I hated blow-drying the dog’s hair (and let’s not talk about cutting off the poop danglers–I somehow got Mrs. Rosenbaum to do that every week). Mrs. Rosenbaum had this thing about using the blow dryer. But I thought it was mean to subject the dog–not to mention myself–to all that noise. After awhile, I began towel drying only. The sweet dog loved that, and I had fun too. So, I guess it was all about me, and I guess I didn’t care whether I was one with Team Rosenbaum. Apparently, I wasn’t motivated enough by money to do it her way either.
Many weeks after I started doing it my way, Mrs. Rosenbaum caught me out. She didn’t say much, and she even seem impressed that you CAN dry a dog as well with a towel as you can with a blow dryer. But I don’t recall grooming her dog for much longer after that.
I went straight into babysitting, and I didn’t do much better there. I’d put the kids to bed as early as humanly possible so I’d have that much more time to raid the refrigerator and watch bad-for-me rerun movies like “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” and “Rosemary’s Baby.” Did I wonder how annoyed the parents were when the kids woke up at 5:00 a.m.? Nah.
As an aside, next week I’m going to my high school reunion. I’ve been chatting with my fourth-grade crush. At one point, he wrote, “You’re too funny, Lisa. You haven’t changed a bit.” I get that one every once in awhile, the “you’re funny” thing which isn’t funny-ha-ha. It’s some other kind of funny (maybe weird-funny or quirky-funny) that always gets me wondering what the hidden message about me, always me, is.
I don’t mean to get philosophical on you-allz, but in our cores are we pretty much the same as we always were?