Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reflections of a Life at Work...

Today started as another stormy day with the sky so dark, it didn't feel like daylight at all. When the rain came, it came down with torrential force. It cleared up eventually but now it's starting to cloud up again and Mr. Weatherman told us that we should expect more storms.

I don't mind a good storm. I find them therapeutic. At the moment, especially at work, I could use therapeutic. It's one of those times in which I'm trying to be zen but each day presents yet another challenge and I have to remind myself of my mantra: "It's only a job, it's only a job."

It is only a job but it's disgusting how much of a bearing our jobs have on our lives. Sometimes it's just impossible to convince yourself it's only a job. After all, for me, at least, I work 40 hours a week. I get 12 days off a year. If you want to be mathematical about it, at 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks a year, that's a total of 2080 working hours. Take away the 12 days off I get, at eight hours a day times 12, that's 96 hours of vacation/sick time. That leaves 1984 hours per year in which I work.

Yes, I used numbers. Scary, I know. But when you stop to think about it, 1984 hours per year is a lot. That's a lot of time to be spending with coworkers and bosses who drive you a little crazy each day. It's no wonder that sometimes its easy to lose perspective as to the fact that it's just a job.

For me, now I have puppies to come home to, it does make work easier. It doesn't make it better but it gives me an escape. I come home for lunch each day and that hour is the best hour of my day. I get to hug my puppies, eat my lunch and escape from my office. Even on the worst days, I've found that this hour can make any day better.

It's all largely due to the puppies who, in spite of their penchant to dig up flowers, rip up paper, eat my books and chew my shoes, are too easily forgiven. They're currently staring up at me as if to say, "hey, lady, why aren't you paying attention to us."

Of course, on the downside, this makes it incredibly hard to write. I tried to get some time in tonight. I got some writing done. I'm working on the sequel to The Reluctant Demon which, I've probably mentioned, is tentatively entitled, Emmy Goes to Hell. I'm stealing a little from Dante and his nine circles of Hell. Oddly, the sixth circle, the first level in which is considered "Lower Hell" bears a striking resemblance to 'Emmy's' office.

I know I'll have to be careful because it's easy to get sued for libel these days. I'm being careful. However, this time around, Emmy's office in Hell often, conincidentally, resembles mine at times. Strange how that happened. I did make the concession that coffee would be worse in Hell though, in truth, I'd challenge that in real life. Sometimes the coffee in our office is so vile, it's like someone sprinkled coffee in a jug of chlorine and called it 'fresh coffee.'

The fun of being a writer is that you can draw from real life without stealing completely. You can use your observations to be creative. It's one of the joys of my life. I try hard not to be passive agressive in my writing though, to call out friends and foes who I feel have let me down or upset me. I know people who have done that and it never ends well. Instead, I try to add a sardonic layer to my writing in which I gently poke fun at people without being malicious. For example, my heroine in "The Reluctant Demon" calls one of the managers "Voldemort" because, to her, he bears a striking resemblance to the Ralph Fiennes version from the Harry Potter movies. Let's just say that I might have projected one of my own thoughts from one of our own managers there.

By that, I wasn't being mean. I just observed that, to me, this manager did look like Voldemort. Of course, now some of my coworkers have read my book, I have had them giggle that they never thought about the manager like that but I "am so right!"


But there's a strange pleasure in that. It means people are really reading my book and remembering small details like that. Ok, it does make it easier if you know it's written by me and you work with me and know that there is a manager who looks like Voldemort. Of course, you probably wouldn't have noticed that until "Emmy" pointed it out in The Reluctant Demon. Still, people noticed and it's fun to have them act shocked but amused at the observation.

Whoever it was that said, "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword," was definitely right. I have to confess that it gives me a lovely feeling of power over my sometimes miserable work situation to know that no matter how much I'm made to feel like Harry Potter, I can retailiate in fiction. It's therapeutic and it makes for some great writing; nothing is more powerful for writing than a bad experience that riles you up so much you have to do something about it. Me...I choose words. I write in a furious frenzy on days like this. If words could throw up dust as I typed them up, my 'office' would be so cloudy, you wouldn't be able to see me.

It's one of the reasons I do love being a writer, even if things on that front don't always go as smoothly as I'd like. There is a benefit to writing, even if it's not in the form of recognition and sales. It's days like this that remind me, once again, why writing is my chosen form of expression and no matter how much I threaten to quit, I couldn't. It's my coping mechanism and everyone needs one of those.

Unless you're a puppy and your coping mechanism is digging up flowers.

Thanks for reading! Happy Thurday!

1 comment:

Arnold said...

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