Sort of Like Waking up from a Dream


Today marks the beginning of my 9th month at my job, i.e., I’ve now been here 8 months.

When I’d been here 2 weeks, I thought I’d give it a few months. When I’d been here a few months, I decided to give it 6 months. Once I’d been here 6 months, I gave myself a pep talk and decided I will stay another year because everything is so easy and I have no work to do most days. Who wouldn’t want a job where they get paid relatively well to sit at a computer all day with no other responsibility?


And of course the job market sucks. So I’m beginning a new blog in the hopes of having SOMETHING to do when there’s no work. Today is the first day of the rest of my time here at my do-nothing job.

It is 12:10 PM. So far today, I have answered the phone 5 times and entered a name into our database. Oh, I also addressed an envelope and arranged to mail something to someone. Affixing postage took at least 25 seconds, so that was a great way to kill some time.

Also this morning, I made a list of things that I can do at this job to pass the time:

1) Write haiku

2) Play Nethack (whatever that is–saw the suggestion online)

3) Learn Sudoku (did this already, and won 3 games for beginners)

4) Work on resume

5) Start a boredom blog

–Believe me, I WANT to WORK. But there are very few tasks in my job description, and very little (no) flexibility in terms of my hours or ability to work somewhere else (like at home). So, with my new blog I am going to set some other goals and work on them. Personal/career type stuff. I’m not really sure. I’ll work that out as I go along.

My background? Graduate degree in humanities. 10 years of experience in sales, after which I quit (last year), took some lovely months off, and then clumsily attempted to get back into a job market that had collapsed since I quit. Not only was this bad timing.  . . it was stupid romantic thinking on my part. I could financially afford to quit, and I thought I’d try to do some work in the nonprofit world and change my life. No more working for money and commission checks, no more having to put my “competitive” hat on every day, stop working for the almighty buck and start making a difference somewhere.

It sounded great! And it (sort of) worked! Four months later I miraculously got a job with a small nonprofit. It was an office job, lowest person on the totem pole, but a new position was soon going to open up, and once I got my foot in the door and proved my capabilities and reliability, certainly I’d be considered for the new job. –Then the economy collapsed and a hiring freeze was implemented. And here I sit in my little phone answering job.

It wouldn’t be so bad if there was actually work to do, but it’s a small office and my manager is really bent on the fact that I am only paid by MY department, not anyone else’s. So she won’t let me work with others. I know, it sounds ridiculous. A starving non-profit and a thumb twiddler who wants to work should be a perfect match–but my duties must be confined to my own department, and there’s very little work to be done in it. Even my manager is bored half the time, but she’s glad to leave home and come to the office to get away from 2 small children and a laid-off husband. So boredom comes easily to some. I suspect my position has bored others in the past because 4 other people have had it in the last 8 years.

In the last 8 months, I have pretty much volunteered for every task around here that I could possibly think of. I cleaned out a storeroom, scrubbed the kitchen, recycled and threw away all kinds of junk that has accumulated in the last 25-or-so years of our being here in this office . . . I’ve run errands galore, I’ve trained myself on Excel and other softwares that I never took the time to learn before, etc. In a sense, I have made the most of my time, or at least tried to stay busy and USE the time to help the company in some capacity.

Needless to say, I’ve even talked to my pretty nice boss–several times–about not having enough work to do. She’s apathetic. She’s literally said to me, “I’m sure you can find things to do with your time if there’s no work at the moment.” So that’s the amount of help I get from her. She’s not mean or rude–she’s just oblivious. She doesn’t care about my professional development even though I feel that’s part of her job.

–So, my first post has turned into a cheap half hour of psychotherapy and a “how did I get here” summary. Next time, I’ll try to be more productive, hopeful, progressive, proactive, etc. I need to focus on keeping my brain alive while I’m here, and eventually finding something new.

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