Working it

The other day I was walking down the long aisle at work. I work in a cubicle environment capable of seating 300 people per floor. I can’t say how many cubicles are on the my floor, since it’s been years since anyone made me count them (yes, I once had a job that included counting and taking inventory of cubicles) but it’s daunting to look from one end of the floor to the other.

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This is only about half the hallway. It’s at least twice as long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I experience existential moments these days, as I traverse the long perimeter and wonder: What is the meaning of life? How did I get here? Do I really spend the best days and years of my life sitting in a square box made of wood and fabric, my ass plunked down in an ergonomic, high end plastic office chair, alongside 300 other people doing the same thing? I don’t mean doing the same jobs, but existing similarly in this cubicle environment?

This could have been me but I have no musical talent.

This could have been me but I have no musical talent.

Wasn’t I supposed to be a rock star? Remember when you were little, Cindy, singing into the handle of the Hoover vacuum, which reached your mouth perfectly as a fake microphone, belting out “It never rains in southern California, but girl, let me warn you, it pours, man it pours?”  Come on, I was eight. I even took up the guitar at age 11, but I kind of sucked. I was also aware that I couldn’t sing for shit. But I could fantasize.  Then I started to write in my teens and thought: I’ll be a famous writer! Oh, yes, yes, that one. I was a pretty good writer. But pretty good is a long way from GREAT, ASTOUNDING, ORIGINAL, BRILLIANT. I’m still a pretty good writer, even with a few publications to my credit, but not famous, not brilliant, etc.

This is how the hallway looks by the end of the week.

This is how the hallway looks by the end of the week.

A college professor? When I was younger, I thought, yes, the perfect marriage of my writing interests and my academic interests. But after that first master’s degree, I didn’t want to be broke for another 5 years getting a Ph.D. with no promise of a teaching job, so I sucked it up and began my career in “business.” I was 28. I’ve spent the last 25 years of my working life “doing things” in the cubicle-d world of business. 

I actually don’t mind the cubicles. I have had offices here and there throughout my years of working and have often felt isolated and depressed in them. I thrive on the activity of others around me. I think thriving in such an environment depends on temperament, what kind of job you are doing, how much you get paid, and whether your co-workers and bosses are good people or assholes. I’ve experienced all variations. Right now, I’m in a good place. I cannot mention where I work and would appreciate if you didn’t either as I want to keep a separate existence between my writing and my “paying” job.  However, when I talk about past jobs in future posts, I will name the places.

What I would like most is to hear from you. Tell me about your work experiences. And by work, I mean anything you consider work – past, present, future. You might work in an office or work at home or be a homemaker, a mother, a stay at home dad. I want to hear your stories. Please comment here and tell me.  Let’s talk! Thank you.

About Cindy Zelman

Creative and Freelance Writer
This entry was posted in Fantasies, Work, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Working it

  1. flrapoport says:

    I gave up the 9 to 5 life some time ago, but have suffered for that financially. I admire the salary and benefits my friends with “real” jobs have! It’s always a trade-off; when I’ve worked full-time in an office, I’ve been relaxed about money but stressed due to the restrictions on, and supervision of, my time. I also get bored very easily, so it’s been hard for me to enjoy dong the same thing for eight hours a day. When I was a reporter I did love the job itself, but there were other stresses about working at the particular newspaper I worked for (and I had a tough commute). I’ve also had some supervisors who made it hard to enjoy my job or life, or appreciate the salary and benefits of whatever job I had at the time. Still, while I enjoy the freedom and of working as a freelancer (which I do now), I always struggle more financially when I work from home. There seems to be no way to win! Like you, I dreamed of being a rock star, famous actor, famous writer…now I dream of just being happy!

    Like

    • Cindy Zelman says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. Again, it amazes me how much we have in common (our childhood dreams.). Your job is as real as mine. Work is how we define it. I love your last line. “…now I just dream of being happy.” Perfect.

      Like

  2. Kris Domich says:

    Life has a way of slamming a fork in your road and forcing you to merge before you even have time to turn the “blinker” on. Most of my dreams were shot down early. I wanted to be a marine biologist, but due to ear trauma, I wouldn’t be able to dive with the whales like I wanted to. I also had no aptitude for math or chemistry, which really put a nail in that coffin. My knees went to shit at age 13, and then the rest of me went to shit shortly thereafter. I actually wanted to join the military for a short while in my teens because I really didn’t think I was smart enough for college or capable for anything outside of “retail Hell”. There was no way the military would take this physical mess, so I entered a year of deep depression right after high school. Eventually I tried getting employed through the state, but my rehab counselor said I would be more than competent for college, and she steered me that way. I discovered I was actually pretty good at art, so that became my most promising option. I really wanted to work for George Lucas at ILM, because I’m a Star Wars junkie, but was unable to get anywhere close to that when my back started desentegrating. I was blessed with finding the love of my life through a friend of mine, and now I am the best messed up stay at home parent I can be. I never imagined I’d be here, but I’m glad to be where I am. This stay at home parent gig confuses and scares me more than all of that advanced math and chemistry some days, but at least I don’t get sea sick.

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    • Cindy Zelman says:

      Kris, thanks for sharing your wonderful story. It’s amazing how we have to bypass our original dreams so often, but hopefully, as you have, we find new dreams in our reality. I’m sorry for your physical ailments, as I’m sure it’s very difficult. I admire you so. You are one of the most articulate people I know. Glad you ended up going to college and finding the love of your life.

      Like

  3. geenie says:

    Oh Cindycat, so glad you’re back to writing again!!!

    Like

  4. suz says:

    hello my friend, it has been a long time. i go back and forth about work and life. i try to enjoy both, and try to enjoy both simultaneously. i have found my career, but have not lost my mind over the trappings of that career. rather, i enjoy the trappings of life itself. some time for family, fun, and more than anything just peace. i commute about twenty minutes farther than i used to, which was my limit on commute before i landed in this house nestled in the woods. now, i drive away from the madness and toward sanity every day. i don’t remember the noise of the city, and the frustrations of being encumbered by people. mostly, my retreat from the city allows me to regroup before returning to my idea of a career. i have to work. i have to earn. i have an enjoyable job which changes regularly. i cannot ask for more. i could trade the changing nature of the position for an office type job, but i think i’d tire of the routine. my field is dynamic and i get to command my own ship. and if i’m lucky, i get to influence a few souls along the way. aside from that, i’m just trying to pay the bills and stay peaceful. let myself be happy and not sabotage it all in the name of some karmic martyrdom i used to carry with me. i don’t understand much more than before, but i know i am certainly enjoying tea in my garden and setting down some real roots for the first time in a long time. for me, that is success. work will settle itself, i’m just grateful life is unfolding in such a pleasurable fashion these days.

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    • Cindy Zelman says:

      Hi Suzanne. It’s great to hear from you. I miss you. I enjoyed reading your comment and I’m happy to hear you’re finding peace and calm and setting down roots. You deserve all the happiness in the world. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response to the post. Stay in touch. xo

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