Posted by: emjb | April 3, 2006

speaking of no sleep

2 am. Not sleeping. I’m supposed to get up at 6 to be at work by 7:30. I’ve been sleep deprived all day, and I expected to conk out the minute I lay down..but no dice. So I took a sleeping pill a few minutes ago, and I’m going to have to call in a sick to a job I’ve only been working at for 4 days. Because getting behind the wheel in my current condition is a Bad Idea.

I’m really in a quandry about this job anyway. It’s an assistant position, and to be honest, it hurts my pride to be anyone’s assistant anymore. I don’t like making appointments and keeping track of other people’s crap. I want to have my own projects and work on them, not be at other people’s beck and call for random assignments all day.

But…we’re broke. And this hospital education job is mine for the taking, if I want it, providing they’re willing to offer me a decent raise from my current temp wages at hiring. Which would seem likely. I’m supposed to be in a test-drive period, but they’ve already given me the Grand Tour of the place, introduced me as the current girl’s replacement, etc.

Friday my potential boss asked me if I liked it there, because she was going to set me up on email and didn’t want to bother if I hated it. I smiled and said of course I didn’t hate it. But what I meant was, I don’t have anything else going on and we need cash, though I will certainly bail if something better comes along before my probation is up.

I know if I leave they’ll be mad, but I also know they could fire my ass for no reason any time, so I’m not going to feel any guilt. But that doesn’t mean I like lying.

The people are nice, and I can do the work, even the assistanting parts–I even have ideas for improving some of the processes I’m being taught. But as far as engaging my brain the way my last job did, no. I really miss that job.

This is the second time I’ve had to leave a job I loved, and it still sucks. It wasn’t anything that could be helped, either time, but it’s so hard to find work that both pays decently and makes you look forward to going in every day. Jesus God, there are so many sucky jobs out there.

I’ll tell you something else that bugs me about this place, and it will sound stupid to some of you and totally understandable to others. The decor sucks. It’s all done in that institutional blue-gray noncolor of carpet and walls. The walls are beat up and there’s no art on them. Our lobby is just this featureless space with computer-printout Mission Statements as its only decor. In the middle is a round table where we all eat lunch together (not thrilled about that either), so it always has plastic spoons and half-eaten bags of chips scattered on it.

The rest of the office is a little cubicled space where I work and where the file cabinets are, and then offices all around the edges. Part of the cubicle space contains abandoned office supplies (adding machines, broken chairs) and one of the offices has a hospital stretcher full of broken resuscitation dummies and fake plastic limbs used for some kind of medical training. There are broken IV stands in the corner. Why? I don’t know.

The cubicle walls of the girl I’d be replacing have a depressingly predictable assortment of Dilbert cartoons and “You Want It When??” type office-humor printouts that date back to the Stone Age. My first day I wasn’t set up on the computer yet, so I spent a large portion of it rearranging the magnetic-poetry words (which no one had ever made poetry with) on the file cabinet into categories of Verbs, Nouns, Descriptors, Punctuation Marks, etc. It seemed the right thing to do, in case, you know, anyone ever did want to make some poetry.

Add in the inevitable stained ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights and it’s all just all so Joe vs. the Volcano.

So anyway, it’s not breaking my heart to call in sick tomorrow, though I genuinely didn’t plan to and would prefer to work and get the money. I wish getting the money was just a more enjoyable process. I wish I could just take a pass on this and be gleefully optimistic that I’d find the better job out there. Then I go and buy a $25 can of formula, and pay $2.65 for a gallon of gas, and I think, well, hell. I don’t know what the fuck to do.



  1. As far as the decor mattering — TOTALLY understandable. I don’t understand how people can live and work in depressing boxes. I’m not talking about spending money on decorators, I’m talking about a little COLOR. Some LIGHT. Anything but a grayish box. (I can vividly see that cubicle, too, with its cartoons and magnets!)

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