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30 August 2004 @ 11:39 am
I'm a wage slave--ask me how!  
I'm back at work today. It feels like I've been here forever. However, it's only 11:31.

If I could make the same amount of money as I do here, I think I'd almost rather...I don't know. Fold clothes and manage a women's changing room and vacuum floors.

Except not. Basically, though, I've come to realize that I don't love my job as much as I've always said. I wish I could find fulfillment and happiness here for 8 hours a day; it's hard to readjust to the idea that pleasure is something available to me pretty much only in my off-hours.

My goals at this moment:

  • I want to do a good, competent job, and not slack.
  • I want to maintain a level, elevated mood throughout the day.
  • I want to maintain composure, and possibly to care a little less about work things. Or at least the small things.
  • I still want to feel energized enough at the end of the day to do the things I want to do.

    I should mention that I'm probably not going to be writing fan-fiction for a while. I want to work on something original, something publishable; I'm putting Noir on indefinite hiatus, and I won't be planning to write any further of the Sidelines series. I understand if you're just here for the fan-fiction--feel free to defriend if you like. No sweat.

    If anyone has any thoughts or experienced advice on how to make it through the work day--and days ahead--that'd be helpful. I mean, I'll no doubt get back into the rut swing of things, but maybe I need some new ideas.
    LadyCatladycat777 on August 30th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC)
    *snurgles you*

    *wishes you luck of the huge kind*
    gwynnega on August 30th, 2004 11:59 am (UTC)
    I'm excited at the prospect of your original fiction!
    sanguesangueuk on August 30th, 2004 12:02 pm (UTC)
    I can't offer you any advice as to how to survive the day except maybe think of the positive effect you have on others' lives - lame, sorry. I was thinking about all this stuff on my own lj the other day - how there are so many of us in jobs we don't love but we've gone so far down the line, wage slaves that we are, that we look back and think whatever happened to my dream? Lol - well that was cheerful, wasn't it? What do you expect from a teacher going back in 2 days after 6 weeks of freedom? Hope you make it through the day ok.
    kassrachel on August 30th, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC)
    Man. Yeah. How long were you away, again? I know re-entry is a bitch even when I've only been gone for a week (like when I went on retreat this past June)...

    Your goals sound so good to me. Wanting to do a competent job, to maintain balance and composure, to be involved enough to care but not so involved that the small stuff drives you nuts, to keep enough energy for yourself that the non-work hours can be full of things you love. God: it sounds so easy, doesn't it?

    I think the thing to do is, try to be present. So when you're at work, try to actually be at work; and when you leave, try to actually leave it behind.

    I say that, and I mean it, and yet I often spend most of my work day refreshing my lj friendspage or rereading fanfiction instead of working. Healer, heal thyself, I guess. :P

    Anyway. Mostly I'm just here to be a cheerleader. Rah, rah, Anna! :-)

    Destina: sunmoon - Lanningdestina on August 30th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
    I should mention that I'm probably not going to be writing fan-fiction for a while. I want to work on something original, something publishable; I'm putting Noir on indefinite hiatus, and I won't be planning to write any further of the Sidelines series. I

    I've been working on original fiction for a while myself, and I have to be honest and say that my loathing of my job has increased exponentially with every day I've been working on the writing stuff. Lots of complicated reasons for that I won't bore you with here, but the bottom line is, I'm drained when I get home and I resent it. Anyway, I don't have any useful advice for getting through and getting back into the rut. Just a lot of empathy.

    (And good luck with the original work! I've fangirled you often enough for you to know by now that I think it's a marvelous idea. *smooch*)
    Poshykittyposhcat on August 30th, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC)
    This may be dumb, but don't dwell on the work issues. Just do your job and push away all thoughts such as, "This sucks so bad. I can't believe I've wasted so much time at this job. My life is a runaway train. God, these people are such clones...etc., etc., infinity."

    And in the meanwhile, take every negative emotion you have and use it to propel you toward completing your original fic. Honestly, now - cards on the table - you know you have more talent than many published authors. All you need to do is harness it.

    As someone who just spent two months writing fanfic instead of my fricking novel, I commiserate. ::passes you the bottle of wine::
    Herself_nycherself_nyc on August 30th, 2004 12:26 pm (UTC)
    I am so glad you're turning to original fiction.

    I don't know what to say about work--I struggle with this too. Freelancing helps because I don't have to exert the energy to pretend I'm a Team Player. But even so, yes, I resent how much of my best hours goes to earning a living. And that I can't earn a living doing what I love. But I press on and try to wring as much pleasure and creativity out of each day as I can.
    inapickle on August 30th, 2004 01:48 pm (UTC)
    Extensive daydreaming works for me.
    It's true. Daydreaming. Believe it, baby!

    I remind myself that my job is what I do, not who I am.

    I remind myself that ten years ago I would not have guessed that this would be my life now, and there's no telling what my life will be like ten years from now. It's hard to imagine going downhill, you know?

    I remind myself that I'm in charge of my own brain, so it's okay if I apply a double standard as regards leaving work at work and home at home. That way I can think about my own stuff at work all the time but I don't have to think about work after I leave the office.

    Most of all I remind myself that work things are not important. They're not important in the big picture and a lot of the time they're not important in the small picture. It's much easier to cope with other people taking work things in deadly earnest if you yourself believe nothing could be more ridiculous.

    mfthe_emef on August 30th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC)
    I understand if you're just here for the fan-fiction--feel free to defriend if you like. No sweat.

    On behalf of your came-for-the-fanfiction,stayed-for-the-journal reader contingent, I have this message : we love your journal, and have been actively sending you good vibes to help you get through your day.

    ex_dogsbody96 on August 30th, 2004 02:30 pm (UTC)
    Here here.
    Tisiphonetisiphone318 on August 30th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
    Congratulations Anna!
    You are so brave, but you have the talent and skill (two different things) to pull this off.

    Now, as to the daily grind. From what I can garner from your LJ, you work in business. I think a lot of businesspeople lose their sense of perspective. Business is not launching the space shuttle or performing brain surgery. If you fail at a small part of the business, you aren't going to go up in a fireball upon reentry, or wake up a drooling vegetable.

    So for every 'crisis', ask yourself: Will someone die from this? Will the company go belly up from this? Will my division go belly up from this? Will my department go belly up from this? Will I take an Uzi and take everyone out from this. If your answer is the latter, my advice is this:

    Step away. Again, in reverse change of scale. Sit in the ladies' john for 5 minutes. Step outside for 10 minutes. Take your car and find a nice shady spot and listen to some music for a half our. Or take the day off and do something you've never done before. Whatever it takes to take you out of the crisis.

    I can be a 'type A' pesonality, and take everything personally. I believe this approach has kept me relatively sane for the last 15 years.

    As to your cessation of fanfic: Thank you VERY much for all your fic. It was a treasure. I'm glad you were able to give us what you did. I will miss it, but you must do what you must.

    dodyskin on August 31st, 2004 04:08 am (UTC)
    ::runs madly through journal screaming::


    There must be announcements when (when, not if) it is published and signed copies, yes.
    Trepkostrepkos on August 31st, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
    "pleasure is something available to me pretty much only in my off-hours"
    I think this is pretty much true of just about everyone who isn't skiiving!
    I agree with what others have said here - realise that unless you actually do a job like firefighting, its likely no lives will be lost if you are not working at full capacity. I get through by trying to find as many shortcuts as I can without losing accuracy - eg. if you can get by with copy-and-paste, why type it all out again....
    Don't let people load stuff onto you that isn't your job.
    Delegate what you can.
    And, the military rule, never volunteer, soldier!
    I found your fics. via a Cousin Jean rec. on Dancing Lessons site, then your blog, then the whole LJ thing in its glorious chaos.
    Have to admit to being gutted about the Noir, but completely understand and support your intention to write original stuff, and will defintely buy when it is published. Let us know, OK?
    "Thank you" seems hardly sufficient, for all the - I can't think of a suitable superlative so I'm going to say "effulgent", fic you've written in Buffyverse. If you get the urge, we're still here...
    And definitely not de-friending.
    Trepkostrepkos on August 31st, 2004 08:46 am (UTC)
    Also, if you're finding it hard to get the time or motivation to go out to the gym, and if you have room, get yourself an exercise bike or some other piece of aerobic equipment you can use at home, plus maybe some small free weights. You can get the exercise done while watching DVDs, and save the travelling/mucking about with lockers/getting kit together time.
    Pamgoosegirl9 on August 31st, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)
    I love your work goals. Occasionally, though, we all have to look up and admit that work doesn't necessarily suck, but doesn't give us what we need. For me, I'd like to feel that I'm making a difference.

    I am indulging in dreams of changing careers totally. I'm going to give it a lot of thought.

    I'm in mourning about Noir, but totally understand your reasons. And I would be so happy to actually buy your published work! You are a better writer than most of the people out there now! Honestly, Anna, if I were going to ever get serious about writing, there are a few writers I would study for how they convey their characters to the reader. You are one of them.

    Maybe you could give us a plot summary of Noir one day? Just summarize where the story was going?
    beowulf1 on August 31st, 2004 09:41 am (UTC)
    I learned years ago that the company will work you as hard as you allow them to. I decided to give my employer eight hours of honest work each day, but my time off is mine alone. That includes my lunch hour.

    As for staying energized, my best advice is keep going to the gym. It does more for your attitude and enthusiasm than anything else I can name.

    I'm glad you're going to focus on original fiction. There are some really crappy writers out there who can't hold a candle to you. Fanfiction or Annafiction - count me in as one of the readers. Hope you will post some of what you're working on in your LJ.
    bleu_lavandebleu_lavande on August 31st, 2004 01:54 pm (UTC)
    First, let me apologize if my comment sounds a bit erratic -- I'm francophone, so it's difficult for me to convey my thoughts precisely and effectively in English.

    Here for Noir? No. Here *because* of Noir. Someone I know and trust when it comes to fanfic recc’ed it; I was enthralled by it. The "voices" were just perfect; the writing, excellent. The alternate universe you had created became, while I was reading it, my alternate reality. So yeah, I got hooked. Read it all, then read all your other stories. Moved on to your LJ when I was done with all your fanfic. Anna, if I had to choose between reading works of fanfic from you or reading words that come straight from your brain and your soul, words that reflect your emotions, the essence of you, which is what your LJ is to me, I'd pick the LJ without blinking. And I can't think of anything more wonderful for you than being published. You are incredibly talented.

    As for the goals you have set for yourself -- they are, I believe, admirable, and those of an extremely professional woman, respectful of her work environment and the people she works with and/or for. But the fact that you have to list these goals, to focus on them, to make a daily effort in order to accomplish all this shows that you have not invested your heart and your soul into your job -- or perhaps I'm just projecting, because I'm going through the same process. Often times I've caught myself thinking that if I could, for the same salary, serve coffee and donuts 8 hours a day, a job that would not require all my energy, stamina, logics and intelligence (as opposed to the job I have now), I’d gladly take it.

    Except I know better: I’d be bored quite rapidly. I can’t stand walking around with my brain in flat-line mode. At least not for an extended period. The challenge then becomes this: how to deal with the reality of pleasure being accessible to you only on evening and off days? Two options. Option One, which’s been the one I’ve resorted to during the past years: expand your job description, re-create one that present endless challenges, because if you don’t get pleasure out of your job, at least you’ll get stimulation. It’s worked very well for me; from a very level-entry job I’ve moved up to a corporate position and a comfortable salary in very little time. Yet, satisfaction lacks. And eventually, I always get bored again. Option Two: define who you are, what you want, and find THE job that will satisfy and please you. One that you’ll have a hard time parting with when it’s time to close shop. One that makes you happy to wake up in the morning and go back to. That’s a toughie. Because often times it will involve sacrifices – financial and emotional -- and hard work. For a period, at least.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how much of myself I invest in my job, and how hard I work, I will always be dissatisfied because right now, I don’t define myself through my job and how much I accomplish. This is not who I am. My job is simply a way to buy things, to provide for myself. It’s the means to autonomy. Period. Again: it is not who I am.

    So my advice would be this: keep up with your goals, on a short-term period. Expand your responsibilities if a) it is a possibility and the new, potential challenges interest you and b) you’ll be rewarded financially for the extra work. But also think long-term and figure out what it is that would make you feel, not complete, because the sense of self should not be defined solely by one’s job job, but happy. And pleased.

    And somehow, but I may very well be mistaken, I think that creativity and writing are a big part of the equation here.
    witlingwitling on August 31st, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC)
    I'm unspeakably pleased that you're going to write original stuff. I haven't done it in so long now it feels like the limbs have atrophied, so please, if you have any hints you feel like sharing, share away. I'll be doing NaNo again this year, and if you feel like communicating about that, I'd be happy to.

    Work is a huge drain on my life, just as it is on everyone else's. I don't know how to maintain a happy, sane, reasonably healthy and balanced life with a forty-hour-a-week job, friendships, a relationship, exercise, and writing. There just isn't enough time in the day. Like, literally. Since I started working full-time at this gig, about two years ago now, I've fallen into a groove where I get up at around 5:30 to run with friends (whom I wouldn't otherwise see, and who are very important to me, not to mention the running, which keeps me sane), come home, eat, go to work, come home, spend time with friends or my girl, tend the garden, play guitar, maybe watch a movie. It's hard to have a brain left for anything in the evenings; all I want to do is spoon mental pablum into it. Movie gruel. I go to bed around eleven, get six hours of sleep, get up, and do it again. By Friday I'm roadkill, and I tend to fall asleep by about nine thirty. The weekends are full too, with regular weekend stuff and then some regular commitments that I'm not willing to get rid of because they're quality of life stuff.

    So, um, this is way more than you wanted to know, but it's interesting to me to hear that other worker bees have the same problems I do. My friends who don't write have this problem, too--and they're not trying to fit a full-time vocation in on top of the work, running, friends, partner... It's sort of nuts, but I keep trying to think of what I could give up, and there's nothing. I just have to sleep less.

    Anyhoodle. My wisdom is nil. But I think that doing exercise is hugely important, because it helps keep you (i.e., me) sane and balanced and functioning. There are other things that I tend to let fall away--cooking properly, cleaning house. Cleaning house is very low on the list, actually. Hovelish is okay by me, as long as I have clothes to wear to work.

    And yeah, I hear you about the work morale thing. I don't know what to do about that, actually. As much as possible, I do my own thing and don't mess with the system. It's a fine line, though--I don't want to feel like a slacker with no investment here, because that's demoralizing. But this isn't my reason for getting up in the morning, either. As you say, it's a little jarring to realize that pleasure is something you (I) get during your (my) off-hours. Which are few and far between, and mainly taken up by sleep.

    La la la. I ramble in your LJ.
    Deepa D.deepad on September 15th, 2004 10:56 pm (UTC)
    Just caught up on your LJ and I am really truly happy to hear about the original fic plans. I'd be glad to cheerlead any word count posts you may want to do, and if things get bogged down, i think between you, mer, jenny o and a pile of others, there's enough to form a fanfic-writers-doing-original-stuff support group.
    Um, not saying you need one. just that its there, if you want one. :)