Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Faking it.

How do you deal with hating what you do everyday?

At first I tried to fake it. But I soon realized every insincere smile and consenting comment killed a little piece of my soul. I was also afraid that one day the hyper-conservative nonsense spewed by my co-workers would begin sounding sensible. So one day I just stopped. I didn't actively look miserable, or begin voicing the angry and satirical comments that sounded in my head. I just let the gray shade of indifference mold my expressions. And indifference is about as good as I ever feel about the work I do. This "research" job sits squarely at the bottom of the list for jobs that I've enjoyed or could feel proud of (and I had to survive 6 years of schooling just to do it.) On the best days I feel that gray cloud of indifference envelop me and I ignore the work at hand to let my mind focus on an audiobook or thoughts of something at home. On the bad days I can't stop feeling the frustration and contempt for the tasks at hand and I rake the same negative thoughts over the coals until I've given myself a stomachache. On the worst days I end up weeping silently alone in a dark bathroom, wondering how I'll ever climb out of this hole I've descended into. Say what you will about the stress graduate school has on your mind, body, and personal finances but I only had one tearful melt down during the whole 2 years and 2 months I was there. I haven't kept count of the number of times I've fought back tears of despair and frustration at work or the times I relented and shed those tears at home, but it's more than once (way more) and I've only been there 2 months. I haven't found a way to deal with hating what I do all day. Maybe it's the way I was raised, but I've always needed to feel proud of my work. Even back in my undergrad days when I worked retail I could find things (quite a few things actually) to be proud of. I can't force myself to be proud of the pointless capitalist shit called research I'm forced to take part in, because I think any spark of a soul left in me would certainly die. But maybe there are other, better ways to deal with throwing away 8 hours of my day.


Michael said...

Hyper-conservative nonsense? If people are airing a bunch of personal crap that could be offensive to others, it's probably something to talk to your supervisor about.

Do you think your feelings are specific to this job, or this type of job/industry in general?

Another question. Does this job keep you indoors and out of natural light for your 8 hours per day?

I hope you can figure out a way to be at peace with this job, or find a solution to go elsewhere. On the upswing, you have a job, which gives you the luxury of holding out for that "awesome" position, rather than a desperate acceptance of the first offer you get.

Dayl said...

I hope you find another job very soon. There are great people out there to work with. Call if you wanta vent.


MistressofScience said...

I should have commented on this a month ago, but apparently I hadn't gotten the comment moderation mastered.

Regardless, Michael and Dayl thank you both for your comments. And to answer Micheal, offensive co-workers? yes. Can talk to supervisors? Not really. They are most of the problem, but also "besties" with the other problems.

Problems are definitely to do the the industry as well as the specific job. The negative environmental impacts of the work is shameful, and the health and safety issues seem to be a joke to the management.

And while I do spend a great deal of my time outdoors the daily melatonin dose isn't strong enough to compensate the other negative feelings the work brings up.

But the wonderful upside is I have found a bit of peace, in the form of a new job! And it's a job I can feel proud of doing.