Tuesday, January 18, 2011

office space

Bob Slydell: If you would, would you walk us through a typical day for you?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Bob Slydell: Great.
Peter Gibbons:  Well, I generally come in at least 15 minutes late, ah, I use the side door-that way Lumberg can't see me, heh- after that I sort of space out for an hour.
Bob Porter: D'uh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working.  I do that for probably about another hour and after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about 15 minutes of real actual work.
Bob Slydell:  I'd like to move us right to Peter Gibbons.  We had a chance to meet this young man, and boy that's just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.
-from the movie 'Office Space' 1999

When I watched the movie Office Space back when it was fairly new, just out at the video rentals, I laughed my head off.  I recommended it to several friends and they said 'that was the stupidest movie I ever saw'.  I couldn't figure out why the big discrepancy in opinions but I was vindicated several years later when I discovered that the movie had become a cult classic.  Then I figured it out, it was a spot-on commentary of the hopelessness and disillusionment that many young people find in todays workplace.  I realized that I have always felt that way myself, whenever I was in a job that seemed to just shuffle papers etc (I've worked for the federal government....say no more) I had this horrible existential crisis everyday that I was wasting my life.  I looked around and other people didn't seem quite so bothered even though they agreed to a certain extent.  I was even told once that I had a 'bad attitude' about work.  I thought about that and wasn't sure if they were right or wrong. Do I?  I remember envying a guy I worked with who remained as a casual employee, kept expenses low and ran off to ski or have an adventure when work was short.  My money went for the house that was too expensive and a lifestyle I didn't even want (that's a whole other blog). I thought that this guy knows something about himself that I haven't quite accepted in myself.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree and found out that I totally enjoyed working my butt off, received several comments from professors about the quality of my work and got straight A's.  A first for me, believe me.  I know what the motivation was......to *NEVER* have to work in a meaningless job ever again.  I learned my lesson.  I now do have so much more flexibility, watch my money more than I ever used to.  I have actually taken that whole experience and done lots of reading and research about work/life balance issues, turns out I was just one of many many people who struggled with this.  I have also discovered that rather than having a bad attitude, I and many others just value every minute of life too much to do that to themselves.  Life is too short!!  I now contribute much more to society with my present job and actually enjoy everything about it.  We need to talk more about this. 
One of my favourite websites along these lines is:  http://www.soulshelter.com/
I'm taking a deep breath of gratitude right now that I am no longer in cubicle hell (smiling).

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