“Why do yo work here?”
I periodically get asked this question at my job by various people, as they realise that I am intelligent and could probably be doing something that used my mind and paid me more money. I mean, right now I do a job that … probably a monkey could be trained to do it. Mostly it amounts to copy-paste from one window to another in the computer to create FedEx labels, and dropping tickets into FedEx envelopes once those labels are on them. Over and over again. 40 hours a week.
There is a certain amount of “attention to detail” that helps with some of the aspects of the job, such as verifying that the spelling of the customer’s name on the ticket matches what is in the computer, and that the address you are sending it to is valid, but nothing that engages my mind, most of the time.
So why do I work there?
Sometimes I give the short answer of “it’s stress-free and it pays enough to pay my bills.” Because seriously; that’s enough, isn’t it?
Imagine you worked a job you didn’t hate, perhaps even enjoyed or found peacfully meditative, which caused you virtually no stress at all and which at the end of the day the day was over so there was never any work to take home or work that carried over to the next day, and that you got paid enough money doing it to maintain the standard of living to which you are already accustomed.
Sounds good to me.
But here’s more on why I work where I do: All those other jobs, the ones I might be able to get paid a lot more doing by turning on my brain to work, I don’t want to do them.
What I want to do is get paid enough money to maintain my standard of living from my writing and/or art.
Sure, I could work with computers, I have before. Except that since I last lost my job in the tech industry, one cannot get a job doing what I can easily do unless one has at least a couple of certifications and preferably a degree. So … that represents time and money invested in … trying to get a job I don’t want to do. So no.
And sure, I could probably go into counselling of some sort, help people out. But I believe it’s actually illegal to do counselling without something … a license and/or a degree… and that, again, means going back to school and spending time and effort and scads of money to get the paperwork to do a job that I don’t want to do.
Or go work for the military or the government in some top secret lab doing who-knows-what with my non-linear thinking. Except I really don’t want to do that right now. Maybe in a few years when it’s between having the government lock me away in a windowless room and turning into a serial killer, I’ll choose the windowless room before instead of after the killing spree. But not now.
I could go into sales, even with the company I’m at now, and do well, make more money. But it would mean a lot more stress, too. And talking to customers is something I’m avoiding right now. BECAUSE of the stress factor. In person, on the phone, it’s all just … stress. So. Not for me, right now. Life is too long to fill with stress knowingly.
And on and on and on. Jobs that I don’t want to do, jobs that are stressful, jobs that require a degree or at least going back to school for a long while. Without a degree, I’m not likely to earn much more money, because after the interviews when they’re trying to choose between me, the guy who can do the job and is possibly considered overqualified mentally, and the guy with no experience, no work ethic, but a degree – they choose the degree. Or worse, I don’t have any way to SHOW my experience. A lot of what I know, a lot of what I’ve done, there’s no explanation for it. Someone was telling me recently that I MUST read a lot, because of my grasp of the English language and the scale of my vocabulary, especially in my writing. But I know I don’t. I mean to, but I probably read fewer than a dozen books a year, most years. Perhaps up to two dozen, but that’s not really a LOT. Some people read that much in a month or a week. But … it’s like that, I have the vocabulary and the grasp of concepts and so much else, but I can’t put it on a resume, because I didn’t take a class for it or work a job that used it specifically.
So, I work where I work because what I want to do, until I’m already doing it, it doesn’t pay the bills. And the job I have now … it pays the bills and allows me to work on my writing and on my art in the time I’m not working. And then maybe in six months or a year or maybe more, I’ll have an agent and I’ll get a publishing contract and I’ll stop stuffing envelopes. But for now, this is good.