Friday, August 23, 2002

never mind about that whole job thing

I hate being fired. Not so much because now I have to find a new job, although I do. Not that it's a blow to the ego, which it is, or that my first long diary entry was mooning all about this now-evaporated embarrassment. Not that my Baby isn't pregnant and our roommate moving out (thereby increasing our rent by one-third) and the panic rising like hot bile in the back of my throat, though they are all perfectly legitimate springboards to rancor, and all perfectly true. But none of them is the reason.

The reason I hate being fired is because you suddenly aren't you any more. So much a part of your identity gets wrapped up in what you do; it's unavoidable. Particularly with an intensely physical 50- to 60-hour workweek, as was my case. The mind and body must resynch with new schedules, heightened requirements, and the effects of these changes spread out into many seemingly unrelated aspects of our personalities. Perhaps a different kind of person than I am, someone more economically viable or less generally insecure, could withdraw from these incidental stimuli and remain untouched; sadly, I pay far too much attention to the world around me to avoid its influence.

And I hate to bring up the money, which I suppose is another admission of weakness, but once it starts coming in steady, it's hard not to begin to count on that extra flow and the luxuries it provides. Now I'm worried about whether or not my family and I can make rent, much less pay for this speedy Internet connection. Having convenience store visions already wherein I'm pulling the graveyard shift as a second job so the baby has formula once the WIC runs out and then some crackhead comes in and tries to rob the place with a double-bladed kayak paddle, and oh I can scarcely abide the notion of another work environment which requires I spend twenty minutes at the end of every day engaged in a futile attempt to wash the smell of money from my hands.

Maybe I'm looking at the whole situation, at work in general, the wrong way. Maybe these repeated, faultless failures are the universe trying to teach me a lesson. Alan Watts says, "When we say that our occupation should also be our vocation, we are speaking of a conception of life within which work and play should be identical." Why can't it be so simple? Why must my Western side bend my Eastern side so readily to his frivolous will, the hopelessly American part of me keep feeding the Zen Master beer and honey-roasted peanuts and taking him bowling? Then again, Dr. Watts also says, "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth."

If there is a fulcrum to be found, a point of balance between non-action and inactivity, I'm sure I'll manage to find it somehow. If nothing else, it's so dark in here that I'm bound to trip over it eventually.

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