|If you have ever gone through a toll booth, you know that your relationship to the person in the booth is not the most intimate you’ll ever have. It is one of life’s frequent non encounters: You hand over some money; you might get change; you drive off.Late one morning in 1984, headed for lunch in San Francisco, I drove toward a booth. I heard loud music. It sounded like a party. I looked around. No other cars with their windows open. No sound trucks. I looked at the toll booth. Inside it, the man was dancing.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m having a party,” he said.
“What about the rest of the people?” I looked at the other toll booths.
He said, “What do those look like to you?” He pointed down the row of toll booths.
“They look like…toll booths. What do they look like to you?”
He said, “Vertical coffins. At 8:30 every morning, live people get in. Then they die for eight hours. At 4:30, like Lazarus from the dead, they reemerge and go home. For eight hours, brain is on hold, dead on the job. Going through the motions.”
I was amazed. This guy had developed a philosophy, a mythology about his job. Sixteen people dead on the job, and the seventeenth, in precisely the same situation, figures out a way to live. I could not help asking the next question: “Why is it different for you? You’re having a good time.”
He looked at me. “I knew you were going to ask that. I don’t understand why anybody would think my job is boring. I have a corner office, glass on all sides. I can see the Golden Gate, San Francisco, and the Berkeley hills. Half the Western world vacations here…and I just stroll in every day and practice dancing.”
For weeks, I have been desperately looking for something to please me at work. Unfortunately, I’m stuck in a rut – full of self pity, anger, annoyance and hatred. I have been praying constantly to give me something. But other things, I suppose, drown out my prayers.
I am astonished by how this man thinks of his job. If it was me, I would look at it as non rewarding routinary work. Imagine going to work every day handing out tickets to various people going everywhere and yet, you’re stuck there in a little box for 8 hours, with no one to talk to, with no boss to appraise you, with strangers shouting that you are slow.
I would have never thought of his work the way he pictured his day. I am somewhat ashamed of how lowly I think of my job compared to this fellow. He should much probably be better being a life mentor for the overly depressed people. Be my mentor. So what is the actual goodness in my job? Oh god. I still can’t think of any.
This is hopeless.
My brain is dead. My butt is sore. Work is unsatisfying. Opportunities are not presented. Colleagues are blah. HR is unfair. Supervisor’s expectations are low. Chances are not given. Self Comparison. World is bleak and dismal.
Back up a bit. This shouldn’t be my thoughts.
My brain is dead. My butt is sore. Work is unsatisfying. Opportunities are not presented. Colleagues are blah. HR is unfair. Supervisor’s expectations are low. Chances are not given. World is bleak and dismal.
With my idle time, I should read. Not tiring work? Exercise when I get home. Look for something else to do, Ask. Create my own opportunities. Smile and always be nice, still. I can’t do anything about HR. So, I should suck it up. Set high expectations for myself. I should not wait for it to be given, make it happen.
World will always be bleak and dismal. It will be my choice on how I will see things.
Ha! I am good in pretentions. :l So, I’ll smile and pray.