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hating your job?

Got my driver's license renewed today (Do you still weight 150 pounds? uh... sure!). First let me say that yesterday I tried to go on my lunch break, and there were like 40 people in line. I also read a sign on the wall about proof of address and I didn't have a utility bill or anything with me so I bailed out. Well today I went after my 8-9 meeting, and there were four people there. I got right in, took my test, and got out.

What struck me the most was how all the workers HATED THEIR LIVES. I mean where do they find these people? And I might not relate, but I don't think their jobs are that bad. Most people in Kansas find the drivers license/tag renewal process pretty reasonable. We don't wait in line for days here, most of us renew our tags online anyway. The driver's license is a once-every-five-year thing. It seems to me like the public comes in pretty happy. But seriously, the voice inside the self checkout at the grocery store makes me feel more warm and fuzzy than these people, who try to make as little eye contact as possible. No smiles were cracked, no "hi how are you", no jokes. It was just misery and government work.

But it's not just government... I got that same vibe once when I went to Panera Bread in Olathe once. Johnson County is not known as a terribly creative place, I have to say it, there's a lot of manufactured chains of places. Anyway at Panera Bread all the employees have a section on their nametags that says "my passion is..." and they can fill in whatever. The one by our house is staffed with a lot of college students and generally fun people, so the nametags have stuff on there like, "my passion is... SUPERHEROS." or "jogging suits". or "my abs". At the Olathe Panera bread, every single name badge just said "my passion is... family". That's it. I'm not saying I expect an extra dose of FUN with my onion soup, I just feel bad that all those people work someplace so boring.

I just feel like I'd kill myself if I couldn't make my job sort of fun. I think that's what I hated about the movie The Office, which came out when I was in college and was like a really horrible crystal ball into the most pessimistic future I can imagine. As a college senior, I did NOT like watching The Office, I dreaded the idea that I could be that miserable. I'd never worked in an office long-term, I didn't know it wasn't so miserable. Well now that I'm out I do know people who are miserable at their day jobs, and it's unfortunate, because life shouldn't be like that. Especially if you can DO something about it. And you can't always do something, sometimes it's not the right year to make a change. But going for four, five, ten years at the same job you hate, and never trying to get out, or even see what you like about it? Eventually I feel like it's your fault, and you're wasting way too many hours a week. Do yourself and the world a favor and at least get your resume out there. Not trying to be all pollyanna bullshitty, I'm not saying everyone should be a ray of sunshine, I just really think some folks need to realize that not everyone is so unhappy, and they should step outside.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
I think if I worked someplace where they made me fill out my nametag with "my passion is..." I'd be really really temped to put "not being at work." I wouldn't though, because if I were working somewhere that made me fill out a stupid nametag I'd have to suck up to their stupid corporate "creativity" to keep my job.
May. 20th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
I guess at least, whether at the cool location or the family location, Spacefem didn't see anyone with a "being at work" passion.

I could take or leave physically being at work, but I like the people and the work, so I might even put "statistical disclosure control" on my name tag for a bit if it had a space for that, so long as I could change it from time to time.
May. 20th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Um, you haven't tried getting through your country's passport control recently, have you?
May. 20th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
nope. I have no doubt it's miserable... and states are even different, Marc said that in Atlanta EVERYONE has to wait in a five hour line for motor vehicle stuff, and they're always changing their minds on what papers you need so you end up having to wait multiple times.

But Kansas isn't a big enough state to screw things up that bad.

Federal matters are always worse.
May. 20th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC)
Five hours whoa. That's like a whole plane ride all by itself.
(Deleted comment)
May. 20th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
dang it, yes, office space! gonna go edit.

and I can't believe that one location of panera would force all their employees to put "family" and the other would let them put whatever... it's a chain. But I will say if that was the general culture at a location, I wouldn't want to be the one person to put something different.
May. 20th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
I went to "our" Panera (Central & Hillside, yes?) last weekend and my cashier's passion was "my kids." So, not everyone who works there is that cool. :)
May. 20th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)
People who hate their jobs make me sad. It's exactly like you said, there are ALWAYS other options. Get moving on some of them and quitcherbitching. I understanding biding your time but be doing *something* towards your goal. /gets off soapbox
May. 20th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
y'know, I have the same thought process from time to time.

but then I remember that the average american is too stupid to pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel. and that the people I interact with voluntarily are all in the top 1% or less.

nobody works for the dmv unless a career scrubbing toilets is fundamentally out of their grandest reach. you just can't compare their lives to those of us who, if unhappy, can quite reasonably expect to quit and find something better.
May. 20th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
I dunno. I expect the DMV sounds pretty good on paper. Office job doing paperwork, dealing with customers. If not for the DMV's hellish reputation, that would sound a heck of a lot more appealing than retail or food service (at least you can sit down).

Aside from which, I firmly believe there are always other options. If they can type, do data entry, etc than they can get an office job nearly anywhere. If they are too lazy to look, then that's on them, but not because of stupidity.
May. 20th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
I don't know about you, but I would never in a million years even dream of hiring the DMV staff we have around here. They may *technically* be able to type and do data entry, but (a) only by rote memorization, (b) wrong most of the time, and (c) in a completely insufferable manner.
May. 21st, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
I dunno, I've dealt with people at the DMV who were MUCH nicer/more competent than some office workers I've dealt with. : /
May. 20th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC)
My mother recently bought a used car and had the WORST time getting the title transferred and the car tagged. I think she literally had to go back 5 times. The people in Topeka said that the Wichita tag office is the worst and literally makes up "rules" sometimes just to make people have to jump through more hoops. I sold a junker car recently and had to sign an affidavit that the person that is my first and last name is the same as the person that is my first name, middle initial, last name. And then they wouldn't accept it because it wasn't notarized, even though the form and it's instructions did not mention a notary being needed.
And honestly I can TOTALLY understand. I work for the State and the amount of back stabbing, politics, paranoia, and petty bickering that takes place makes me feel like I'm in high school again, only one that's more like the one on Glee than real life.
May. 20th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Part of it is American culture. Both in college, especially during any kind of career development event (resume-writing workshops etc), and whenever I read a book about how to get a job, what's not said, but there between the lines, is "You deserve a good job-- one that pays well and makes you happy. If you can't get a good job, take a crappy job that pays the bills until you've got enough of a resume." This arbitrary division of jobs into good jobs and bad jobs (especially when our "bad" jobs are ones like working at the DMV) doesn't really do much to help anyone.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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