Work and life. And other people’s relationships.

14 Dec

Let me preface with the fact that the following post is going to make me sound kind of like a bad person. I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve had my job for a few months now, and though so grateful to have a job, (remember my extended unemployment?) I already can’t wait to transition into the next phase of my career. The phase when I’m not an intern, not unemployed, not a student, not working for a corporation which gives me very little fulfillment. When I can work for a company that drives me to work towards something I am proud of. And to work with people who share my passion, goals, and values.

Big confession: When I interviewed for my current position I basically lied about what I am studying in grad school. I said I am a part-time graduate student studying management. I just left out the arts and cultural part of the management component. I confess this here because there is no way anyone I work with will read this. What I learned when applying for so many jobs is that Corporate America is not at all interested in hiring someone who is studying Arts and Cultural Management. I couldn’t get a job in the arts. SoI lied. And I got the job. I’m not proud of it, but I needed a job, and that is what I needed to do to get one. That being said, my life is very compartmentalized at the moment. I have work M-F 8-5 who think I am a quiet (maybe very dull) girl studying management. I have my classmates who I am sure cannot fathom why I would wear dress pants and heels everyday in Edina. And then I have my family, friends, and boyfriend who get to hear it all.

To be able to mesh my schoolwork and actual work sounds just lovely. I can’t wait to let my guard down and just be me when I am at a job. Given, theatre folk aren’t perfect. There are many issues and frustrations that come with working in theatre. This I know. But I also know that people who work in theatre have a profound passion for what they do. There is nothing like theatre to get people working together for a common goal. We can really know each other because we are so much alike.

Now in my job presently, this is really not the case. I am not like anyone I work with, though many in the office would categorize me along with “the girls.” In my office, there are the boys and there are the girls. There is such a transparent divide between the sexes in my office, it kind of makes me nauseous. The boys have offices, do lunches on the corporate card, and travel to Florida for golf trips…all a part of “the business” you know. The girls have cubicles, do the bulk of the actual work, and live to throw office potluck parties. The boys love the  gender divide and to generalize the girls as personality-less, boring, moms who love a good casserole. And to be honest, most of the “girls” gladly accept that as their label. I refuse (REFUSE!) to be a part of it.

I think one of the reasons the women in my office so easily accept the patronizing and condescending attitudes by the men in my office is because I think they get that from the men in their personal lives. Take my direct supervisor for instance. The way she talks about her fiancé often leaves me with my mouth gaping open in disbelief. Here are the tidbits I’ve picked up on in the course of 3 months:

  • She has been with her fiancé for 10 years. She has been engaged for 9 and a half years. She has a 9 year old daughter. You do the math. The fact that this douchemonkey she calls a fiancé will father her child and string her along for the better part of a decade makes me sick. And sad. But mostly sick.
  • The fiancé feels that if she takes a day off work, then HE should get a day off work. She gets paid. He doesn’t.
  • She made more money as a bartender than in her current job, but (in her words), “My fiancé wanted me to get a ‘real’ job, so I got a ‘real’ job.”
  • “We have a couch and a love-seat in our living room. Ryan always gets the couch and my daughter and I share the love-seat. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess that’s just how it is.”
  • “I wish Ryan wouldn’t track mud and snow into the kitchen after I just cleaned it, but what can you do?”
  • After finding out a family friend died at the same time her own mother is in the hospital, “How am I ever going to get it all done?” Heaven forbid she asks the man she is supposedly going to marry for a little help with house cleaning and Christmas errands.
  • She said once Ryan would never understand if she started painting again because he wouldn’t understand the point.

I know there is more she has mentioned. I’m just having a hard time remembering them all right now. I pity this woman so much. She always looks run down because she has to do it all on her own. I also don’t think she’s in love with her job either. She said once, “I loved art in high school. But then I grew up and knew I couldn’t do it anymore.” I just wanted to scream, “No!!!  NO!!!” to her over and over again. I want to tell her that she CAN paint again. She can love art again. Being an adult doesn’t mean sacrificing your passion for a paycheck.

And while I want to tell her that , I internally remind myself of it too.

I actually am going to submit an application for a job I would LOVE (in the arts). And though I am trying to be realistic about my chances at getting it, I also know that I can’t give up. I have to keep up with school. I have to keep trying for what makes me happy. I see my supervisor as someone to be pitied because, to me,  she has given up on being with a man she deserves and  seems to have given up on herself as a person.

I know this post makes me sound ungrateful and judgmental. That wasn’t (entirely) my intention. I think it’s more for me about knowing when not to settle. To know when you’re being taken advantage of, to know what you want and never give up on that.

 

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