Life is a woman. She is fickle and flirtatious. Grinning at you one moment and raging the next.
We men vie for her affection. At times, for a moment, basking in the comfort of her warm embrace. But, for many of us those moments are fleeting.
Years are spent trudging through biting winds and driving rains, for minutes by the fire in a plush living room. Always with the specter of the storm outside hanging over the moment; and the knowledge that we can, and likely will, be cast outside again at any moment.
Why start this blog, and why with this topic? Because I have decided to get back to writing about life. Not necessarily just my life, though I am sure that will occupy much of this space. But, the life that many of us share. The struggle we deal with day-to-day. Assuming you care enough to struggle.
I know there are many of us that just pass the time from cradle to grave. Never striving to be anyone or do anything. Existing but never living. Content with nothing. I am not one of those people.
It is for those of us that question things that life seems most fickle and cruel. When you dare to ask why things are as they are, and must they be that way, the answer you receive is often harsh. You look up at someone who has made it to where you’d like to find yourself and wonder how they got there. Then it dawns on you. They made choices, or encountered good fortune, or had a friend in the right place, and the time for such things in your life is all but gone.
This is no video game. There is no reset button, no new lives. There is no opportunity to see how things go if you try it one way and then choose a different path when the outcome is not to your liking. In many cases, probably most cases, you are locked in to the choices you made when you were too young and ignorant to realize that you were making choices.
This brings me to where I find myself this morning.
Have you ever had a job that you enjoyed? A place you went to every day that was full of people you liked to be around, with challenges through which you could grow and management oriented toward helping you do just that? I have. For two short years I worked in such an environment. I went to work every day looking forward to seeing my co-workers. I faced a few hurdles, and overcame them. I felt good about what I was doing and who I was doing it with; and I looked forward to continuing down the path I was on.
Then life, that fickle bitch, cast me out in to the cold again.
I now leave work each day with the hope that I will die in my sleep before morning comes. I hope that somehow the space-time continuum will bend or break and I will find that the drive in never ends. That somehow I will simply never arrive.
Not because what I do is particularly hard. It isn’t. Not because I am poor. I am actually paid pretty well for what I do. But, because it is meaningless and there is no path out of it. I am on the bottom rung of a ladder that has no more rungs. There is no discernible path up from where I find myself.
I went from a management team that kept an eye out for things that they could assign to you to help you grow, to a management team that keeps an eye out for things for which to write you up. I went from an office where everyone was on the same team, striving toward the same goals; to an office where there is no team and the only goal is for the manager to look good to his manager…which usually involves some form of random disciplinary action against a lower level employee.
When I was in my late teens I worked at various places that were very similar to this. Though I am a defense contractor today, there is a striking resemblance to the car washes, gas stations and pizza joints of my youth. All these places, including this one, have in common the fact that the people who actually get the work done are considered expendable. No thought is given to the wives and kids at home. No thought to the mortgages and college tuition being paid. No thought to the lives and careers. Just employee number ###, and the fact that doing more work with less people is how you get your name in the company newsletter. Which of course puts you in line to bury your nose even deeper in the ass of the guy above you…but maybe, if your lucky, it puts you above some other guy so you can get some ass kissing of your own.
The funny part is, it is the same company as my last office. Different management. Different contract. Same company. What a difference management makes! Though to be honest when I am referring to this particular group of people I should put management in quotes.
I guess at one time or another we all look at our boss and think, “I could do what he does, better than he does it.” In my case I *have* done what he does, better than he does it. Yet he is where he is, and I am where I am.
Because life is a woman.