The Delicate Balance Between Happiness and Survival
I started this post yesterday while I was at work. It had a different title and I was only going to speak to the fact that I'd done my first dawn patrol session of the season.
But I spent much of yesterday realizing that I just can't do "it". As much as we need the money, or so I thought, I need my life back and my child needs his mom back. The bottom line is that none of us is happy with me working this job. It's not just that this is the worst job I've ever had. And that it is. My absence from the house has upset the balance of our little world. I'm not happy. The kid's not happy. Hell, I know even the dog is a little put out by the fact that I'm gone all day. This is when I start feeling torn, pulled in all directions. The money is good, yes. The quality of life for all of us as a result? Not so much.
Therein lies the rub. Do you stay because doing so will ensure your survival, at least in terms of getting food on the table and the bills paid? Or do you go, knowing that happiness is something money can't buy? The more I think about it, the more I see all of this clearly. When I'm barely employed, my family is basically happy. My child loves having me at his disposal (for food, love and, most important, emotional support). I love being barely employed. I can do my thing--mom, surfer, unpaid writer, skater, ne'er-do-well and gad about the ocean. And my thing makes me happy.
Is happiness enough of a reason to go against all that we're taught as Americans about how we're supposed to live our lives? You're supposed to go to work, striving ever harder to make as much money as you can. And all of those bright and shiny things we dangle in front of your faces? Your hard earned dollars are supposed to go toward the conspicuous consumption of those things. But I'm not a conspicuous consumer. I don't have a giant TV, a new car, an iPhone, expensive clothes or even expensive tastes. I'm not interested in getting ahead of the next guy or gal. I don't see it as a race to the top because, really, what is everyone racing to the top of?
In trying to come to terms with the decision I'm making about this job, I now see that I'm doing what's best. It's not what's financially best, but it's what will keep us all smiling in spite of worries about paying the bills. Right now, I can pay the bills, but I am in misery five days a week. I want to be stronger. I'd like to think I'm strong enough to withstand the misery. Sadly (which is something my kid says all of the time and it's hysterical to hear that nonchalantly coming out of his mouth as he discusses his day), I am weak when it comes to making money. I feel no pull towards the dollar. Perhaps that makes me a Communist or a rasta--I was going to say "hippie", but "rasta" seemed a better choice.
We will not starve. That is certain. I can't say what the future holds in terms of our abilities to pay other bills, but I'd bet we'll muddle through just like we did before I took this job.
Before I go, I'm going to post this for posterity. I put it on a private blog that I share with some other surfers. I'm going to post it here for me. I will look at it whenever I need a reminder of why I quit. These reviews, about my current place of employment, came from glassdoor.com:
"No parking on site.
Salary is very low compared to comparable positions at other companies.
A lot of time is wasted on finding who to blame instead of fixing the issue."
"Management is disorganized, rude, disrespectful, overly-demanding, and does not recognize a job well done. Operations systems are from the stone-age. Training does not exist. Worst of all, they screwed up my tax forms, making me have to pay instead of receiving my expected refund. When I called corporate to figure out what happened, they had the nerve to tell me it was my fault and that I need to take it up with my tax preparer! I cannot stress this enough; DO NOT WORK FOR XXXX!!!!"
"very low pay, company don't recognize you for your hard work; they only see your success through your manager, poor communication within company, constantly messing up your pay check, constant last minute update and they expect you to participate, will not give employee a pay raise "because they comp. is in a pay raise freeze" BS! been like that for the last 3yrs! rarely promote from within, hire management from outside but has poor training so your sales associate has to "help train" new manager in."
"I made a big mistake by leaving my job at a good company thinking XXXX would be a good opportunity.
Real life Devil Wears Prada management style is shocking.
Extremely disorganized; the company lacks resources and structure you would expect a big fashion brand like XXXX would have.
To top it off, the location is in Vernon- a very industrial area next to a slaughter house.
There is no parking on site so you have to wait for a shuttle or walk to your car (which is scary at night).
For the most part morale at company is very low.
Turn over is extremely high."
"WARNING FOLKS: GET YOUR PENS OUT and take notes. One thing you need to be aware of on day one... is THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE (need I say more). In my 20+ plus years in business, I have never seen a company sooooo dysfunctional, and soooo poorly managed, it's absolutely pathetic. It starts out at the top and never gets better. And the word here is "denial" but I'm not sure what's worse... the politics and ego stroking that goes on or those who allow it to occur in the first place. In any case, the bathrooms are disgusting and parking situation is nothing short of inspirational. While Vernon can be a tough place to work at times, and doesn't really cater to a 9-5 white collar office crowd, it's has some great hole in the wall eateries, though. I think the most disappointing (besides not paying it's damn bills) aspect of my short lived career at XXXX is this: Management really doesn't care about their employees or what happens day to day, how you feel or what kind of example it sets for itself. And as long as you know this, you've probably already started looking for your next job..."
After reading those, I was just glad I never invested much energy in this place. I was just there for a paycheck. And even that paycheck wasn't enough to keep me there. The one thing I did love about the place was many of the people I worked with or near; I will truly miss them. Good luck to all of those who stay there. You're going to need it!
Now if I can just get my email to work, as I sit here at my desk, I can send the note to HR telling them I'd like today to be my last day. (Yes, it's the final day of the pay period. That's how I roll!)