Normally when my brain is this tired I avoid writing altogether, but today my brain tells me if I don’t write, it will punish me horribly in my sleep. I’ve been punished horribly enough in my sleep this week. I’ve also been punished horribly enough by three cats who keep wrecking my horrible sleep, thinking they have some divine right to be fed at one a.m. instead of four a.m. like they normally are. Mentally this cannot go on without consequences. What consequences I’ve no desire to find out.
So here I am again, writing for therapy. That’s my wife’s term for everything I write. Supposedly it all reveals things about myself that she well knows, being my wife; but others do not and perhaps have no business knowing. She’s somehow wrong and right all at once. That’s why I love her. That’s why men love women, isn’t it? They can be something we never can, wrong and right all at once?
Am I loopy right now? Yes. Yes, I am. I blame it squarely on editing ISO documentation at work today. It’s one of two things I’m writing about in this entry, at personal risk because my employer does not like it when its employees blog about it unauthorized. I’m safe if I keep things as general as I can, and this first thing I can keep fairly general.
It may piss you off, but at least I shouldn’t get fired over it.
It’s an analogy that occurred to me near the end of the day about editing ISO documents. I’ve blogged about them before, so click the link if you need to bone up on what they are.
Editing them is like operating on malignant cancer:
* You don’t know exactly what you’re getting into until you start,
* It’s always worse than you expect, and
* It takes an absolute freaking miracle to get it all.
If that analogy offends you, I understand, and I am sorry; I know people who have or have had cancer too and I know there is no form of income-producing work whatsoever that is literally on par with the pain and suffering of cancer. The analogy offends ME, for crying out loud. Yet at the end of a day of editing the damned things it is the only one that is apt, at least in my world, in my place; and if you have to deal with them at your place of employ, I’m sure you understand me too.
Here’s the second thing, and this one’s a little riskier because I have to get more specific: My employer is adding a social media piece to its customer support. This is more than just another job responsibility. This is a whole new staff, lock stock and barrel, whose mission it will be to address our customers in the world of Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and yea, so many others.
I worked with our customer support department for many years before transitioning to auditing dealer support. I still get their emails. I thought my boss would like to see the one about this. I added the comment that if I were 25 I’d go for it in a heartbeat.
“Good grief–this job is PERFECT for you,” she emailed back. “Why do you think you’d have to be 25?”
I emailed her back my two major misgivings. First, the job description and its requirements sounded very entry-level to me, enough so I suspected I’d have take a cut of a third of my current pay just to get a sniff at it. Second, the job description and its requirements sounded, as much as job descriptions and requirements legally can, like they were looking specifically for young people.
“I don’t think they’re looking for 50-year-old ex-English majors who won’t get on Twitter as a matter of principle,” I wrote.
She offered to ask for me what the salary range was and let me know while she didn’t want to lose me from her department, she did want my work to be my happiness, and this looked very much like something that would make me happy.
I thanked her, but told her something I’ve been thinking for some time now but never put into words until right then. I’ll tell you the same thing: Whoever said “Age is nothing but a number,” is a liar.
Things change. Perspectives change. And well they should. If they don’t, why do we age at all? What’s the point of aging if we don’t learn from living?
More pointedly, what’s the point of aging if the only lesson we get from living is “Do what makes you happy?”
I’m not discounting the value of happiness in one’s work–just pointing out that in doing one’s work, the older one gets, the more he realizes he’s not working entirely for himself. The older one gets, the more he realizes other people depend on him to do exactly what he’s doing right now, and if what he’s doing right now is not his happiness, then by God he’d better find a way to make it so. A determined mind can make any drudge a joy. A creative mind can make that joy useful and productive for all. An intelligent mind can use that joy to elevate both the job and himself out of drudgery. By fifty, we should know this intuitively, instinctively, especially in a country like our own that affords us the freedom it does.
When running out of time, it’s better to work within reality than to chase rainbows. Even if that reality leads to a just plain sick analogy from time to time, because the work gets a little unpleasant.
Flash: All work is unpleasant from time to time, even that which you love. Better to deal with it than run from it.
I’m flying in the face of pop logic, I know. But it’s the simple truth. We could use more of that these days.
With that, I’ll put my loopy brain to bed. G’nite. 🙂