Probably the biggest concept I dealt with in Company was the concept that not only are we saddled with these awful jobs that don’t give us respect as people or recognize that we are there to work and have meaningful existence elsewhere, we deserve them.
In a way, we might deserve to get taken advantage of by work if we allow that to happen, but it was something that I had never really considered before. Even in my temp jobs, if people asked me to stay after and do some extra work, I’d push things around in my personal life to make that happen. If I was told to deliver things without compensation, I’d hop in my car. I mean, all this work has to get me somewhere in the company, right?
I had put a lot of my life up to that point into the idea of being a writer/journalist. Anyone who does it can tell you that it’s an incredibly absorbing profession – it’s really difficult to really be able to find that line between you as a whole and you as the worker sometimes. I feel like a lot of people have the same problem distinguishing themselves from their work, even if what they do is a dead-end temp job. It’s what we do to get by. It’s what we do to pay for the other parts of our lives that define us. It’s who we are for now and who we hate until 5 p.m., then we go home and remain upset because we’ve got so much of ourselves packed in from the day that we don’t know how to experience without exploding.
I know it didn’t really strike me until I read that book. It seems so simple, but I realized I am not a thing. I’m a person first, and I happen to do this thing, second.
It doesn’t directly change the way I work. I want to do a good job for my boss, so I push hard and do things here and there, even if I don’t care for the job. But it does change how work meets the rest of my life. I try to put people first, rather than a job, in scheduling. If I already have plans, I am unavailable to my job. What’s more reasonable? Build relationships with people I’ll know my whole life, or clock in a little more face time in the job I won’t have in five years?
It also changed how I determined what type of work suits me best. I realized I can work with people well and can empathize with them, even if I am a little awkward, so I should stick where I can deal with different people and personalities. I want to be socially responsible, so I feel best about my work when I know it’s going to benefit others somehow. I like things to be different from day to day, but I really appreciate the chance to meditate while doing smaller tasks during the work day.
I don’t know if I really would’ve considered these things as strongly if I hadn’t taken the time to realize who I am, and make what I do fit that, rather than the other way around.
Kyle B. is some guy you've never heard of, but he's okay with that. He's a writer and journalist (also both a lover and fighter) that graduated from Kent State University a few years ago, with some slight gainful employment since. He loves to read but pretty much puts a new book back on the shelf if a couple of the first words on the jacket are "murder mystery" or "romance."