A scary glimpse into the future

Whatever problems I might have with my job, my boss is a sweetheart.

She refers to all of her employees as her “children” (except for the 55-year-old guy, who she calls “the brother I never had”).  It was nice when I first moved out to California from the other side of the country.  It’s nicer now that I’m in grad school and she encourages me to sneak off and do homework during unimportant meetings.

Unfortunately, she is exactly all of the things I don’t want to do with my career.

She once described her disappointment when, fresh out of college, she discovered that everything she had learned would not be used in her job.  Obviously, this was almost 30 years ago and as a woman, it would be difficult for her to get technical jobs.  Her final decision was that as long as they paid her, she didn’t care what they made her do.

She has been at the same job for 30 years.  THE SAME JOB.

Sure, she got promoted and I think she makes decent money.  I think she has quite a bit saved up, too.  So if I’m looking at it from a purely PF perspective, it also looks like a smart financial choice.

But she doesn’t have a family.  She doesn’t have many friends out of work.  She spends most of her time complaining about the work she has to do.  I know she has a lot of money, but it just doesn’t seem worth it.

The scariest thing is this could be me.  There was a point where I considered giving in because they pay me and if my worst complaint about work is that I don’t really have enough to do, maybe it’s worth it.  I’m glad I moved out of that rut, because I don’t want to be here in 30 years, sighing loudly very time someone sends me an email (or a telepathy message, it will be the future!) and with lots of money that I’ve never bothered to enjoy.

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6 Responses

  1. That’s really sad. Imagine devoting your entire life to your career and ending up dissatisfied with it. There’s so much more to life than work.

  2. I agree, that’s a sad situation. But at least you’re realizing it. It would probably be extremely difficult for her to get out of her 30-year rut, but by recognizing it you’re preventing yourself from doing the same. Even if you stay in the job for now, just make sure it’s a path to somewhere that you would rather be.

    There are a lot of days where I hate my mindless work – answering phones and smiling at people who make way more than me is frustrating as hell. But when those paycheques are helping pay for both university classes and extra, more hobby-focused classes, I know there’s a point to it.

  3. @ FruGal: That’s exactly it! I’m not saying that having a family and lots of friends is the key to happiness, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else in her life besides work and the vacation she takes to Hawaii every year.

    @ Jamie: I actually had contemplated quitting my job because it is so mindless, and my ultimate reason for staying was that they would pay me & pay my tuition. I guess the difference between me and her is that I’m not willing to accept this as a permanent thing so long as they pay me, but that I’m willing to bear it in the short term because they pay me.

  4. There is something to be said for a job that only require 40 hours (usually), pays a good salary (and tuition), and allows you to enjoy other pursuits in your free time. However, you have to actually have those other pursuits.

    And still, you’d probably be doing whatever you could to make those 40 hours more rewarding.

  5. Oh please!

    That won’t be you f you don’t want it to be! Some people thrive on the routine, on the known, on a solitary existence. For some people, that is the perfect life. It won’t be yours if you are paying attention and if you know what you want.

  6. @dog: I guess my point was that it’s easy to get into a rut where regular hours and a paycheck (as StackingPennies said above), it doesn’t matter that your work is boring/not respected/unchallenging. I know it won’t be me… but it could have been. This is just a reminder to myself — and others — that there’s more to work than a paycheck.

    @SP: A lot of the people I work with started out in more technical areas and then moved to my organization because they wanted the better hoursto spend time with their family. Someday I might be willing to do that, but definitely not now!

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