Both uses of the word “work” in the title of this article have quotation marks around them because what qualifies as actual, important, too legit to quit work (with no quotations) is very much in the soul of the laborer. I struggle mightily to answer the simple question: “What do I do for a living?”
To convince some people with money to give me a tiny bit of that scratch so that I can purchase food and pay my rent, I organize circuit boards at a semiconductor company. So I could just say that I work in the tech industry. I do sometimes say that because it’s more vague and cooler sounding than admitting that I really just manage a stockroom; and saying that I “manage” a stockroom is somewhat more impressive than explaining that I’m the only one in that stockroom, so I really just manage myself…and the room, and the circuit boards in the room – but the gadgetry is objectively worth more than I am (for example, my company would get more moolah from their insurance company if all of their stock was randomly destroyed than my family would probably get if I myself was randomly destroyed) so, I guess I’m bossing around some pretty big deals.
Organizing circuit boards is essentially the same as organizing cereal boxes or magazines or sex toys. (I don’t know where anyone reading this might work, so I choose to imagine that everyone reading works at an adult novelty store because it’s somewhat more titillating for me; I also choose to imagine that the stores you work at sell cereal as well as saucy tchotchkes, because that’s titillating and delicious.) An inventory clerk is what I am, and an inventory clerk’s job is kinda-sorta the same regardless of what you’re being asked to store, sort, retrieve; store, sort, retrieve; store, sort, retrieve – be the labels focused on penis puns or decimal points.
What do I do for a living to make the living worthwhile? Why, sketch comedy, of course! (really, a number of artistic endeavors, hobbies, and entertaining distractions, like everyone, but this is a sketch comedy blog.) However, I am constantly emotionally constipated by the fact that the first strategic element for “living” demands so much more time and spurs so many more schizophrenic stampedes of stress than the second; although, I increasingly feel as if the second strategy is just as, if not more pressing. What’s the point of gathering numbers in your bank account when you feel like you’re basically just another number yourself? [Stands up on a soapbox balanced precariously on top of a high horse] Is a bunch of numbers exchanging a bunch of numbers all that we are to one another?!
I’m certainly not the first or even the zillionth person to consider such melancholic woe-is-me’s. It’s pretty much the default dilemma of modern mankind. One of the many valid answers to this quandary is that life is likely to continue on past a single depressive moment, and things will, almost certainly, more than likely, eventually, get better. However, following that logic, won’t “things” only get dependably better once I resolve the vexing conflict between what I need to do to meet my basic physical requirements and what I need to do to pursue my “higher” psychological / spiritual needs? Perhaps. Perhaps not. A lot of people seem to think that any consideration of “higher” needs is synonymous with pathetic mewling (especially when it’s other people harping on about it or when they suspect it inconveniences them) and anyways, the work that I don’t care about is good for ideas to use in the work that I do care about.
Work is also good for desks. Which is good for writers. The desk I have at home is seldom useful. It invariably gets cluttered into medusa-victim stasis by any knick knacks that I’ve happened to gather into my pockets, drag home, and then need to find a place to set: spare change, fast food receipts, magazines with pictures of sexy cereals, one-ring-to-rule-them-all’s, scripts from my last rehearsal, etcetera. My desk at work, on the other hand, is kept at a serviceable level of organization. This has the added benefit of making it a very convenient place to write sketches and blogs, which, come to think of it, is what I spend much of my time at my day job doing.
My employer doesn’t know it, but based on an hour by hour analysis, they’ve been paying me to be a sketch comedian this entire time. So, maybe, I’m a more well-balanced employee, creator, and person than I ever thought.
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