What is my life?

As I sit down to write tonight, I’m already irritated because I can’t find the list of writing prompts I thought I’d saved somewhere on my laptop. I’m annoyed because the screen is too bright, even when I finally figure out where to go to turn it all the way down. I’m frustrated because I keep pushing my own creative pursuits to the back burner, because of my job.

My job. Why do I let it consume me so? I never planned for this. In fact, I used to scoff at people who worked at corporate jobs, those fools who were trapped between cubicle walls in the fluorescent hell of the rat-race. I would never be one of those people, I said.

Yet here I am, going on year 5 of being loyal to the same company. Granted, I’ve never actually had to sit in a cubicle this whole time, and never far from a window, so that may have helped. And of course I have gotten to travel more than I ever have before. So that’s definitely cool. I also get paid more than I ever have before – but that’s not really saying much when you consider what I got paid before.

I work really hard. I work my ass off. I work through lunches. I stay late. I hunch over my laptop in hotel rooms, desperately trying to connect through the VPN so I can catch up on work in the middle of the night. I worry I’m not doing enough, that I haven’t proven myself yet, that I am dispensable. I tell myself that soon I will have to ask for a raise, but I need to prove myself first.

Over the summer, one of my coworkers left to go to a better paying job. As she was leaving, we had a meeting to go over her projects and divvy up her responsibilities among the two of us who would remain. In the meeting, it became obvious that this girl was barely pulling her weight. She was only working on three projects, and even those were shittily done. I get it that she already had one foot out the door, but what the hell? At the time that this happened, I was so busy, I couldn’t take on anything else, so in a way, it worked out that there wasn’t much to actually take on.

As I sat in the meeting where she carefully outlined the three projects she was going to turn over to us, I felt sick to my stomach. It was like there was something wrong with my cognitive function because I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. All along, I had just assumed that she was working as hard as I was. How silly of me!

Obviously, I had assumed wrong. Once I got in my car and started driving home, I actually cried and ranted as if I was going through a breakup. I felt so angry and betrayed.

Expressing my rage through Snapchat. Note my “personal kanban” system behind me.

So anyway, that whole situation was the impetus for my most recent feelings of frustration at work. Of course I would like to earn more money, but as I mentioned above, I always thought I had to prove my worth before I could ask for more.

The other day my boss told me that she realized I’m not getting paid enough. I guess in light of the aforementioned spoiled millennial coworker leaving, it really became obvious how unbalanced the workload in our department was. She did point out that when people are good at their jobs, and they get things done, they tend to be asked to do more and more –  because it actually gets done and done properly. So that’s kind of a backhanded compliment because it basically means that I will just keep doing more and more because I am a nice, conscientious person.

On the plus side, I will hopefully be getting a hearty raise before long. It is interesting because the amount she told me she wants to give me is the same amount I was planning to ask for, but I was hesitant because it would be a big jump. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will happen. Otherwise, perhaps I really do need to put on my big girl panties and go out and find somewhere that will compensate me for my work.

Of course none of what I just wrote really addresses my true problem, which is finding time to dedicate to my own, personal creativity. The truth is, I am usually so worn out by work that when I come home, I just want to eat dinner and then veg out. I basically have no friends right now because I never make the effort to reach out to anyone outside of work. I don’t feel like I have the strength.

It’s really bad, and I know I can’t let things keep going like this or I am going to end up being one of those people who has a midlife crisis. Since I spent most of my 20’s in an existential crisis, I really can’t afford another one.

So yeah. That’s where I’m at right now. It’s why I suck at blogging lately, and you never see me posting pictures of my art anymore. It stinks. I don’t like it. I’ve got to get it figured out.


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