I have a secret.
Several really, but one in particular is relevant here.
Making sweet blog missives week in and week out is intellectually satisfying, but doesn’t really pay very much. So…
I have a day job. At night, I sit around in my underwear; one hand on the keyboard, the other on a bottle of gin, cranking out Internet goodness. But by day, I sit around in a tie in an office doing GROWN UP THINGS.
It’s an old story: the writer who supports his artsy habit working for THE MAN.
The Day Job: Purgatory for Creatives.
Well, that might be overstating it. But for someone who wants to be their own boss, do their own thing, make a living creating things, working a day job can be a toil. Fortunately, there are little ways to tow the company line while still maintaining that quirky whatever that makes you YOU.
I’m not talking about gold-bricking. That’s a thing, right? “Gold-bricking”? A thing that fits in this context? Anyway, the little defiances against the drudge of the work-a-day world that I’m talking about aren’t about goofing off. No looking at porn when you should be compiling a spreadsheet. No two hour lunch hours. Nothing that detracts from what you’re getting paid to do.
I’m talking about little acts that let you do your job while still making it just a smidge more entertaining for yourself. Here are some that I like:
Up at the top of this page is a picture of a mini TARDIS. I picked it up at Barnes & Noble and it is parked now on my desk at my day job. When the mid-afternoon slump hits or the fevered paper-shuffling that is most mornings is particularly stressful, the TARDIS whisks me away to anywhere else in time and space (“All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?”) that I would want to go. I take a little mental trip (insert your own joke here), then I’m back. Work goes on.
Once in a great while on a work day, for the hell of it, I don’t shave. It’s a little thing. My beard is pretty light (shut up – it doesn’t make me any less of a man, I tell you), so it’s unlikely anyone notices. Or cares. But I do it anyway. For me.
Twitter. Some people take smoke breaks. I take Twitter breaks. This is a tricky one. Twitter. Facebook. They suck you in and can be total productivity killers. I’m not talking about a long session. A few seconds here and there; enough time just to get a sense of what’s going on out there, then back to work.
Look out the window. The key here is my office doesn’t actually have any windows. I actually have to walk around the maze of cubicles to find an exterior wall with a window to the outside world. Its a way to remind myself there’s still a world going on outside with sun and rain and snow and life bustling along – probably doing something more fun than me. But still.
I carry a briefcase TO WORK. It has pens and paper. And books. Books I actually want to read, not books I have to read. Most of this stuff stays untouched all day, of course. I just like having it nearby. Having books nearby is to writers like frilly underthings are to cross-dressers.
Hey! Reading this post might have been your subversive act of defiance against your employer. I’m like a revolutionary.
Sexy, ain’t I?
Before you put down your preferred blog reading device, let me know what ways you’re taking down the economy from within your workplace.