I find that anxiety attacks run on a consistent schedule, contrary to popular and even scientific belief. Physicians argue that anxiety attacks are as sporadic as the external influences that trigger their rapid fire. Not mine, they return with an uncanny predictability. Sunday at 4 p.m., usually between champagne with friends or an introspective stroll through Balboa Park…they strike. The sudden frustration, sadness, confusion, inexplicable anxiety or, as Holly Golightly via Audrey Hepburn says Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “a case of the mean reds”; the shuddering reminder that tomorrow comes Monday, comes the 9-5, the corporate politics and bureaucratic chess game that even Bobby Fischer would retreat from.
Ahh yes, the office: a perplexing environment, a conundrum of a world resembling a human zoo. What sick bastard would ever muster up such a horrific concept... the world’s first CEO, that morbid minded soul... his thoughts reading, “let’s take creatures (*ahem, I mean people) that would NEVER work well together, that feed on different foods, hold different positions in the corporate food chain, place them in a confined space and... watch”.
The cubicle ball & chain, forced to spend more time with strangers than our own families and loved ones. I have come to know exactly what makes my cubicle mate smile, what sounds jerk his chain and when he is feeling most inspired... I know more about his own quirks than his spouse! Oh the travesty!
The office. Where parking spaces are a coveted novelty awarded to the most “worthy”... Social Darwinism at its finest, a war...the corporate translation of the Sudan. Surely the work force isn’t all bad. After all, while the zoo makes our empathetic hearts weep for the animals within its iron gates, how many of us still find it an attraction worth seeing? Benefits, medical insurance, paid leave, and the occasion personal health “sick” day.
We even start to form our own alliances, treaties, relationships, and families with our quirky colleagues. We sure pay a price for these “benefits” but exactly how much is it costing us? Happiness? Passion? Autonomy? I can’t help but think the decision to remain tied to the corporate entities that be is that of head vs. heart. McDonald’s vs. Farmer’s Market. Pop Music vs. Jazz. Department Store vs. Small Boutique.
I have been forced to examine the root of this dichotomous value system. Feeling the pangs from the corporate yuppie pull, I found myself on the cusp of a major life decision.
I was recently offered a position with a dynamic and well-renowned organization. A hub of creative people that walks their talk. They love what they do and more importantly they love each other, this empathetic joy spills over into every interaction, for they are dreamers. Their chaotic and unorthodox space leads to innovative thinking and the audacious chance to envision possibilities and build.
But this world has too much of a sense of humor for the job to be to perfect... no benefits, terrible pay, and ungodly hours. I guess you really can’t have it all.
I suppose it wasn’t the right time to take the leap. How disheartening that organizations warranting a “work to the bone” mentality can’t repay you…at least, fiscally. In a time, space, and world where the financials truly count, where do the dreamers turn? I continue to push my own vision into a reality, allowing me to run free, a zebra on the terrain, wild afroed mane in tow, and fervent stride, going confidently in the direction of my own dreams…rather than someone else’s.
So, dear friends and colleagues just remember there is a world outside the looking glass/iron bars; there is nothing holding you back but an invisible shield. I eagerly await the day we are all free.