Thursday, November 26, 2015
My Work Problem
On this, the day of giving thanks, I have much to be grateful for: wonderful sons, a place to sleep, friends for whom I would scale the tines on the gates of hell, health, and a moderately functioning brain. I have won the lottery, and I know it.
That said, work has been an "issue." I have a hard time making a living. I can't seem to fit into the mold necessary to be happy whistling while I work in this, the post-modern, assessment-driven, trivialized university.
It's a character defect. I am barely employable. I wish this were different, that I could be happy humming along the university assembly line, stamping grades on students as they passed by on the belt, freshly minted in the skills necessary to becoming corporate citizens.
But I am not.
So the question becomes: what do I do? On the one hand, I could quit and become a vagabond, join the ranks of the unemployed, live under my bridge, pen my incoherent ravings, and sink further into obscurity. On the other hand, I could change my attitude, grow up spiritually, and stop looking for meaning in all the wrong places. This view, of happiness being an "inside job," is the harder path and is the one most people discourage.
I don't know if it is possible. I can't seem to jump the tracks of habit. As a chronic malcontent, it's hard to embrace a commitment to cultivate happiness.
This is the classic dilemma, the two horns of which are both sharp and likely to impale me no matter which I choose. Then there is the third way. I may have to throw sand in the eyes of the bull, and do both. I am hoping the world is rich with potential for an aging English teacher who needs a job and that I can meet the demons that keep me from my own fulfillment.
The best course of action seems to to be taking a leave of absence to test the waters. A year from now, I hope to be standing in the wind of change, looking for whatever it is that will fill the gap created by leaving my job. I won't have health insurance or income or an office. That's all fine.
I will have to shoulder the onus of being pro-active. I will have to engage the demons that come out of the dark and into vacuum created when I don't have to be somewhere.
After a year, if nothing materializes, I can maybe go back, pick up the trail of my work life, and finish out my days as a wage slave. I might be glad to get the work. The work world, after all, is pretty brutal and my situation is far from the worst case scenario.
So here I am at the crossroads. I am grateful to have to chance, the choice, the opportunity to step off the edge of the cliff and into the space of an unknown future. The rush of fear and excitement is a welcome change from the deadened numbness of routine.