Act 1 - Descent into Hell.
Just as people I know sometimes read my blog, I read the blogs of others and every once in a while one strikes a chord and it intertwines with all of my thoughts for the rest of the day.
The post had to do with how people can affect you by giving a negative commentary about your life choices. Why did you do this? Why did you not do that? You can do so much better! It's a terrible thing to "should" all over our friends and family.
This friend had a job that could be considered on the low end of the totem poll. It didn't pay much and it didn't get much favorable recognition from anyone. That's not the point though. The point is this: She was gainfully and happily employed in a job that paid for all of her bills, entertainment and there was still enough left over of it to put away money for the one goal that she never lost sight of. She was happy, and when you're single and have no children, happiness has to play a major role in whatever you do. The end result now is that she is enjoying the fruits of all the little seeds she planted along the way. That is what matters.
I too have had some negative feedback about my decision to take a couple years off of working. People are still telling me all of the things I could be doing, should be doing and shouldn't be doing. Don't blow all your savings, you need insurance, etc et al ad infititum.
It has been long enough so I'll tell about my last job and maybe it will shed some light on why I have chosen this path.
If you've ever read Dilbert, then you probably understand 90% of it already. It's the same old story, a bunch of fucking morons pissing away millions of dollars trying to act successful rather than do the things it takes to actually be successful. In the military, this is often referred to as a clusterfuck, which is any operation with too many leaders leading too many people at cross purposes and laboring under the illusion that there is a unified purpose and a brilliant plan. In short, this just was the grand mother of all mother clusterfuckers.
As part of my job I had both a respectable job title and respectable financial compensation. Any time someone asked me what I did for a living, my response always gave appreciable oooh's and ahhh's. I did my job, did it well and people left me alone. I stayed out of corporate politics. For the first couple of years I was happy because I was basically getting paid for my hobby.
A few years into the job things changed. Managements greed began to show. I know people like to throw that word around way to often because our socialistic educational system tries to cram down our throats that any attempt to maximize legitimate profits is "greed", but that isn't what I am talking about. I'm talking about the pure evil greed of where you're willing to screw over anyone with absolute disregard to laws and/or morals. I was asked to participate in things that I believed to be morally bankrupt, stuff that no sane person would ever do. At times it brought me to genuine tears. At each of those times, I walked out the front door and did not return until they reneged on whatever plans I objected to.
I should stayed gone but as long as they were staying somewhat above the fray, I refused to give up completely. I am not a quitter. I thought maybe some day they would wake up and see what they were doing and fix it. I also felt that leaving could have fucked over my only friend there and I did not want to do that. I stayed.
After that though, my work happiness was gone. I no longer told anyone where I worked unless they really pushed for an answer. I tried to redeem what little self-respect I had left by only giving my title and general industry. This was because overall I felt like a dirty little whore for having any association with those people. I spent almost every day feeling like I was at deaths door. Every fear, every pain and every illness was multiplied ten-fold by my association with them. I had migraines and panic attacks almost daily.
When it comes to my skill set, I am a absolute anal-retentive perfectionist. Nothing goes out the door until it's right. My employers policy, however, was to get it out now and worry about it being right or legal later. Like everyone else, they demand 110% but unlike real companies, they announced things before they're even started and then shove it out the door when it's only 10% complete. This methodology was always a failure and you can guess who they pointed the finger at?
As you can imagine, everything and everyone these people touch turns to shit. Their constant failures turned to desperation and desperation led to decisions without an ounce of forethought and this led to more failure. Run fast toward that wall because a nickle might pop out your butt when you hit it and that's 5 cents profit! It's a damn shame because they have the most fantastic product idea I have ever seen and yet the idea is squandered on feeding undeserving egos.
I understand that none of my gripes are unique and some feel that it negates the right to express them, but I am under the opinion that everyone is entitled to the feelings they have, good or bad and no matter how many people are in the same boat.
Act II - The Great Escape
The story of my departure is rather amusing but to avoid causing complications for the people I still keep in contact with, I'll leave it out of print. Let's just say that the job and I went our separate ways.
Even though I knew I was going to take some time out of the job market, it was still absolute hell because I had no idea what to fill my time with. To make matters worse, a very close friend and confidant committed suicide just a few days later. I was down to only having my best friend but she couldn't deal with my emotional state and she all but disappeared. We all have our limits when it comes to dealing with the pain of those we love and she reached hers. I wonder if or when I will ever reach my limit? Nah, nix that... I've never bailed out on a friend. Not even once. In that moment of grief, I desperately wanted someone to reach out and give me kick in the ass (instead of pity or frowns) but it didn't happen. Like I said, the first month was hell and nobody was around except for many bottles of xanax.
Actually, that's not quite right. My friend Deb did offer help and I owe her a lot. On the worst night she stayed up with me and helped me formulate a game plan for my interim lifestyle. It was a good plan and nothing has been the same since.
Act III - Sunrise
It is now just over 6 months since I escaped.
People tell me they envy my ability to take an extended vacation, but at the same time they don't think its a good idea and they're attempting to encourage me to do what they think is right.
Understand this now... I have my eye on a specific goal. I know exactly where my path is leading me. You may not like the choices I have made or will make, but for right now, this very moment, these last few months and hopefully for the months to come, I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life. Be happy for me.
I was having lunch with someone yesterday and much of this came up in conversation. The conclusion we came to is that life is way too short to be unhappy. Invest time in whatever brings you happiness so long as it doesn't infringe upon the happiness of your peers. Do this because tonight, tomorrow, 10 minutes from now or 10 years from now, something as awful as cancer, or as quiet and sudden as the burst of an aneurysm or even something as dramatic as getting smacked by a city bus could steal the life away from you or the person you care about most. Be happy now and share the happiness of others.