*angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert*
Gone are the days of the "normal job." The 9-to-5 only, the check your briefcase at the door jobs that men and even women once experienced. I swear I didn't just imagine it. Once upon a time, eager young men and women graduated from school—high school or college—and with bright eyes entered the work force. They often began at entry-level, punched in and out for a few years, accomplished what was asked of them, pushed the limits a little, challenged themselves, showed great promise and worked their way up the corporate ladder.
And then, POOF.
Did all of those companies close down?? Did all of those CEOs move to Europe to enjoy eight weeks of paid vacation?? What happened to those days when men dressed in perfectly tailored suits and skinny ties filed on and off romantic-looking trains in the mornings and evenings and trudged homeward to attractive cookie-cutter houses, primped and pink-lipsticked wives, a couple of kids and a plate of meatloaf? (An aside: Did the whole drinking on the job thing disappear with these positions?)
Am I just wondering where the 60s went? I don't need a history lesson (read: I definitely do) from anyone, I'm just wondering when it happened that we crossed over from not-necessarily glamourous but solid, respectable jobs where you show up and give a good day's work a go and then head home at 5, to the madness of 80-hour work weeks, one-week paid vacation, never enough sick days, over time, work late, weekend work, the pressure the pressure, other duties as assigned, the bending over backwards, rat race, traffic traffic traffic, the water-cooler, bureaucracy, not-at-all-what-I-ever-saw-myself-doing-ness.
It's insanity. You go to school for 4 years, or you make the effort and get your masters, and you're still looking at an entry-level mayyyybe salaried position which barely covers your bills or leaves you any extra for a few beers out on the town, or a summer concert, or god-forbid a vacation you might actually take with your seven measly days off.
We're trapped. Especially those of us who are young and just starting out. Those who were being supported by their parents throughout college have been cut off and the rest of us who have been struggling to figure it out all along don't have plump savings accounts to fall back on. We are just trying to get by. Just trying to take it one step at a time. We don't want hand outs. Or Bentleys, or beach houses—I mean, don't get me wrong, it'd be niceeee. But, we just want to do an honest day's work and make enough pay to live on—even just barely.
Can we just go back? Is anyone really happy this way? Is anyone just tickled pink with making money but never really getting to go anywhere, or having to miss out on your kids' plays or games or feeling guilty all the time for "not really living your life" or being enough for your spouse?
My heart breaks when I hear David said "it's going to be a long night." (This coming from the man who has SLEPT, yes slept, in his office. And also worked over 30 hours straight.) It breaks again when a dear friend expresses some fear when asking for a raise that she ABSOLUTELY deserves. And then it falls into a million billion pieces when another worries about slipping down into the dark depts of "workaholic-ness" of getting stuck in a hole she can never get out of, of having to take a job that she worries could hurt her relationship.
It's madness. And I want to give us, all of us, a free pass to the successful, the fulfilling, the rewarding futures that we deserve. In general, I want to take all of the pain away forever, but that's for another time.
Rest in peace, you blissful thoughts of Mad Men's Sterling Cooper office. Rest in peace, long liquid lunches. Rest in peace, bonuses. Rest in peace, extended vacations. Rest in peace, carefree. Fare thee well, joy.
Maybe it gets better with age. Maybe everyone reading this is loaded AND even drives a Bentley. Maybe I speak for only 3-4 of us. But regardless, in my perhaps blissful ignorance, I will continue to pound my fists and proclaim loudly to all who are listening (not many): Give me a normal job, or give me death!