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Grime of a Day's Corporate Work

That numb feeling that comes from being exhausted likes to linger on me mingled with the day’s dirt and grime. Since I work at a desk I have to sometimes wonder if it isn’t the energy numbness more than sweat, blood and tears I feel all over my skin. Tears certainly come some days but I honestly can’t remember the last time my job required blood and sweat outside of the proverbial sense. More than anything it’s mind work that drains me with the high political drama, constant chaos and never-ending demands. Grit and grime of a working day, except sometimes you feel it more on the inside than out and it’s harder to wash off.

I used to have these hopes that I was going to find this great job I loved and I would stay there until I could retire and then go have even more fun the rest of my life. We are led to believe this is all possible with the right degree, connections and perseverance. The idea that a certain job title and salary range make us successful and is an ambitious goal we should all strive to achieve in our careers is the secret to happiness too, or so we are told. I used to believe it all. I had goals of working to a higher level, going great things in a rewarding career that supported the life I wanted to have for myself. What I learned was the life was easily built, the career and job not so much.

Certainly my lifestyle has depended on paychecks coming in but it took me a while to realize how much was not dependent on my job. I appreciate how hard I have worked to get where I am, the house my husband and I worked to pay off and the cars, trips, holiday gifts and more our jobs provided through our hours of labor. It is easy to tangle though the deepness of inter-relationship we have with our jobs and real life. That’s because they are intertwined and should be to an extent. Once upon a time jobs were where we did claim success in the business world and our family’s lives reflected that in home upgrades, more flexibility of our time and more. Today, it is different. Success often means more work, less time and we may upgrade our home but we never see much of it because we’re always working.

From working a few hours extra every week, eating lunches at our desks and missing important family time and vacations, work dominates a lot of our time and then some. I even had an employer that demanded happy hours once a month so we could collect as a team, because working shoulder to shoulder every day wasn’t enough it seemed. We tell ourselves the payoff will be worth it though and push through. We’ll make up for the time lost with family on the vacation by having a bigger vacation next time. We’ll catch up on sleep, exercise and losing weight after this project is done despite the company’s supposed messaging on caring of our wellness too. They don’t, if you wondered. Your wellness is concerning the point it prevents work from being done, on time.

The trade off for the paycheck is supposed to be our lifestyle and life we want to build for ourselves and share with our families. In reality, our jobs and careers take as much from us as they can and leave us covered in a grit that wrecks havoc on our souls. We are left depressed, burned out, overweight, with anxiety and sleep issues. We can’t feel anymore and the relationship to our own happiness is tied to this identity we are made to believe we need because of who we are at our jobs. We lose ourselves in the grit of corporate bullshit.

Perhaps I’ve just had bad job luck in my career and my own jaded view of the corporate landscape is wrong. In talking with my friends though we all feel this weighty grit. Most of us are just counting down the days until we can retire, win the lottery or some miracle happens that we ca