Confession time: I am finding it increasingly difficult to drag my leaden fanny to work each day. Whatever passing satisfaction I may get from bits and pieces of my job are no longer sufficient to sustain my morale. I'm fed up with bureaucracy, with local and office politics, with multiple bosses, with ungrateful clients and surly volunteers and oblivious citizens, with trying to cheerfully promote programs that have outlived their usefulness, at least in their present forms. I'm tired. I just hate it.
And I feel guilty for hating it, because for God's sake we're in a recession, and I should be thankful I have a job. At least that is what the embedded endless-loop tape of my parents' Advice For Living is telling me. But I also recall, many years ago, telling my father -- a promising student who was yanked out of school after 8th grade to help on the farm, and whose subsequent work life was one hard-labor blue-collar job after another -- that I wanted a job I could really enjoy, and seeing the wistful look on his face when he responded that he never thought of work as something to enjoy.
Why do I feel entitled to work that I enjoy? Who do I think I am?
I don't know. But right now I feel like my work is strangling my soul. I feel like my pepper plants, which drowned this weekend in their containers during a local downpour while we were out of town; I came home to find them completely submerged in water, too far gone to save. That's what work feels like to me.
Maybe it's because the contrast between my work life and the rest of my life -- my life with Fellow Traveler, family and friends, my work at church, my burgeoning interest in promoting local food in this area and the surprising networking that's led to -- is so dramatic. My offwork life is immensely satisfying. It's a good life. And my only -- my only -- motivation in grimly schlepping off to the office morning after morning, at this point, is to get home again as soon as possible, where I really live.
There's a part of me that is hoping that this profound and growing dissatisfaction is a sign that something else is opening up for me in the future; that one door, it seems, is closing so that I might move ahead to a new, open doorway. Or maybe I'm just a burned-out case.
I only wish I knew what I really wanted to be when I grew up.