Friday, January 18, 2008

Wake Up Call?

Wow. I very nearly screwed something up today. As in I almost irrevocably fucked something up big time.

These days, something is wrong with me. I've accepted that. It primarily manifests as a distinct desire not to do work and a distinct lack of work output. Whereas the vast majority of people share such sentiments and still manage to have a productive work day, I do not.

I've been on & off with productivity for a while now. It is bad. I suspect my firm keeps me because: the work I do is very good; the work I do is very fast; I'm smart and capable; I have potential; I make them money; and the firm is short-staffed for attorneys. However, as soon as I start costing them money (which I'm almost to the point of) and/or start becoming a liability (which, apparently, I'm at), my tenure here is no longer certain.

I think I know what's wrong. I don't like my job. The people are great. My boss(es) are fantastic. The firm is wonderful. The compensation, while not actually competitive, is very nice. The benefits are good. There is no other patent firm I would rather be working for, truly. It's just I don't like my job.

I don't have another specific job in mind. I would love to work with graphic novels or books or toys or action figures. I'm not sure I have the background to transition into any of those fields, but I'll have to try at some point.

The real problem is that if I don't want to do something, very often I just don't do it or I put it off further and further. I did this in college and law school. I didn't just graduate from the latter, I survived it. Barely. For whatever reason, sometimes I have a big problem doing work that I don't enjoy. And I don't really know how to fix it. I tell myself things. I see problems looming. I say "this day will be different," but it isn't.

I thought I had a "wake up call" when I canceled meeting up with good friends in NYC due to too much work. Nope, didn't do it. But today, this morning, wow. So close to irrevocable failure that it was extremely bad.

I've written a version of this post at least 3 times before and never posted it. I don't like it when my blog devolves into emo rants and self-pitying or worrying. And honestly, I don't really worry all that much. But today was so bad, so very bad, that I couldn't withhold it.

See, no one knows me. No one sees what I actually do or how little I do. I keep so much of myself bottled up. I'm largely unhappy, but no one really knows that. I haven't actually told anyone. I complain about work and how much of it there is to be done, but I don't do anything about it. This also ties into the reason I'm not dating. If I'm not happy, if I'm not in a good place mentally, then how can I try to meet a woman and have a relationship? I'm in enough trouble as it is, I don't need to compound things or make myself any crazier. I just don't see how I can date until I figure out what to do with myself.

I'm tempted to set goals for myself. I recently paid off my credit cards, so my only sizable debt is my outstanding law school loans which really aren't bad. I'm starting to save up some money. I know a recession is on the way, and I'd like to save up more money before I attempt anything, so one theory is to tell myself that I'll stay at my current job for one year from the time I get my own apartment (which would match a 1-year lease). I have some not-insignificant expenditures on the horizon (possibly a new car, trip to England next Fall, weddings next Fall), so the more I can earn (and not spend), the better off I imagine I'll be.

I've heard people say: "Take the money. It's not worth a lower pay." But I don't think I really have much of a choice. I'm clearly unhappy here. I feel like other people would know that if they opened their eyes, but maybe it's not that apparent. I don't think I want to be a lawyer. Law school was the right move at the time, but I don't think law is what I want to do.

Sometimes I feel like I'm crazy. Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped, though I know I'm only as trapped as I want to be right now (no S.O., no kids, no pets of "my own", no house or real estate). Sometimes I feel like... I don't know, like everything is wrong and I see things in a way that others don't and no one really "gets" me or sees what I see.

I see the rat race. I mean I see it, unfolding around me, encompassing me, trying to trap me as it has so many others. I like some of it – I like having money, not worrying about a budget, buying what I want and knowing I can afford it. I know that counts for an awful lot – it's a rare luxury. But I also know that I can't sustain it, not like this. And the fact that others encourage me to follow this path of career and unhappiness and life bothers me. I'm not worried that I'll let them down. I'm worried that I'll buy into it and settle for a life that I don't want in the slightest. And since I don't know what life I do want, it's all the harder to find my way.

I titled this blog "A Season of Mists." It was part homage to the illustrious Mr. Gaiman and part descriptive of how I felt. I still feel that way. I'm still trapped in a season of mists. I haven't found my home yet. I'm not ready to settle down, for this to be my life. I don't know where I'm headed or where I should be headed, I just know that this is only a stop along my way. I can't stay here indefinitely. I can't. I just hope I survive long enough to figure out what my next stop is and maybe, just maybe, where I'm headed.

So was this a wake up call? Did this morning's moment of madness mend my maladjusted mind? Considering I just wrote this thing, probably not. Hopefully I'll put my nose to the grindstone and get to work next week on my numerous nearly-deadly work items. I better. I'm a little too close to failure for my own comfort (and clearly I feel pretty comfortable around failure so that's saying something).