Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Presto Change-O

My final day at my ex-job unearthed in me a lost artifact of sentimentality. I had a sincere heart-to-heart with my ex-boss over a delicious lunch, during which he thanked me for being a real asset to the company and wished me the best of luck in my future endeavors. His kindness made me feel a little nostalgic about my cube, my crazy scientist authors, my work on obscure and unreadable medical texts, and my imminent departure.

Hah. Gotcha. Fuck if that happened.

At around ten o'clock on Friday, when it became abundantly clear that my boss was not taking me out for the usual "Thanks for being my bitch!" meal, any vestige of tenderness was squashed like a roach. My goodbye went approximately follows:

Boss: So, I wanted to take you out for lunch, but I'm really busy.
Me: Uh...that's okay...
Boss: Why don't you give me your number so I can ask you any questions about your projects that come up after you leave? And maybe we can meet up for lunch on Monday.
Me: I'll be at work thirty blocks away on Monday, dickhead.
Boss: Yeah, like I said, I'm just really swamped.
Me: I hope you swallow your tongue.
Boss: Okay. Now what's the status of the permissions on this book?

I may have altered my half of the conversation a little bit, but the rest of it is pretty much verbatim. In truth, he was far too busy...

a)...for the entire two weeks that he knew I was quitting.

b)...to take me out for so much as a cup of coffee to, for the first time, show any kind of appreciation for getting several disastrous books published with no legal problems.

c)...doing things like talking on the phone to his family and leaving early.

Whatever, I think the way I felt leaving my old job is sort of like the way I feel about the Paris Hilton single. I hate it, and that's a relief. If I liked it I'd have to second guess the entire world. The things that made my last day of work infuriating were the very same things that made hundreds of preceding days unbearable, which is why I decided to leave in the first place, though none of that changes the fact that I expected to depart my cube with my gut full of gratitude pasta. Gnocchi wouldn't quite make up for the daily mountain of crap an assistant shovels, but at least I wouldn't have left hungry.

Brad and Ben, the other remaining assistant, made excellent beer-drinking buddies after I made my final exit. Kai and Andrea also showed up to drown the memories of that stupid job. I think this was a fitting end.

So now I'm at this new job, and I have trouble finding the bathroom and I don't have any Post-Its. I'm not sure how to transfer phone calls and I've got to get used to a Mac again. It sucks to start over in order to move up, but I'm thankful I've gotten a job pretty close to what I actually want to do.

Hating what you do becomes a part of you, like a bruise on an apple. Eight hours a day spent doing shit work for people you can't stand grows a big, bitter tumor in your brain that poisons the rest of your day and infects every conversation you have. Explaining what you do isn't a matter of giving a job title; it's this monologue of excuses and aspirations that sounds angry at best and pathetic when delivered poorly. I serve pitas but I play the harp. I edit surgery books but I love fiction. So many people I know have a Peter Parker/Spiderman life, except their Peter Parker days are extra shitty because the Spiderman jobs are mostly filled by kids with the right kind of connections.

The only thing worse than trying to sustain dual careers simultaneously is having to leave your superhero costume in the closet all the time.


Anonymous anonymous mom said...

you are NOT what your job is. YOU aren't. very few people are.

that's why i try to never talk about work outside of work, and why i reply only "i sell wood" when asked - because really, what the hell does it have to do with my life?

12:38 PM  
Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

oooh, great closing line. Does this mean there was no cake celebration in the conference room either? Just found your site - Congrats on the move in the right direction

8:48 AM  

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