It’s been an interesting week at my side hustle. By interesting I mean curious.
At my side hustle I spend my days chained to a desk staring at two computer screens doing computer stuff which makes my hands and arms ache and gives me headaches.
But this week I decided to try something new. Well, not new to most of you folks, but new to me. I decided every now and then to get up and walk around. Now that the weather is better and spring has sprung, a nice ten minute stroll every two or three hours is just what the doctor ordered.
No, really, the doctor ordered it.
I just haven’t been following her orders. In my mind her orders are like a stop sign in Texas — more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule. Besides, she’s such a pushy thing.
How dare she insist I take better care of myself?
It seems as though this week’s weather has somehow managed to align with her prescription. Try as I may I just can’t seem to shrug the thought away my doctor struck a deal with Mother Nature just to get even with me.
So each day this week I’ve been tooling about soaking up vitamin D and chatting up colleagues I met on my strolls.
This is where the curious part comes in.
As I walked about and greeted colleagues the replies I received, almost to a man and woman, were all pretty much the same.
“Oh, you know. Another day in paradise.”
“Living the dream P.G., living the dream.”
Wow, what euphoric statements my colleagues made. Each of them seemed overjoyed to share their absolute delight to be working in such a Nirvana-like environment.
Sorry. My unicorns and rainbows bubble just exploded.
The more I thought about what they said, the more I realized what they were really telling me.
Another day in paradise.
“I can’t stand this fucking place P.G.. Another day in paradise? Another day doomed to hell. My boss is Satan. He’s spent the better part of this week trying to ram his molten hot pitch fork up my ass.”
“If it wasn’t for the benefits I would have been gone a long time ago. This company isn’t what it used to be. We used to care about one another. Hell, we used to know each other.”
“I can’t remember the last time all the long timers got together off site for a round of beers.”
“Did you hear about Dudley? He had a massive heart attack and died right on the fucking shop floor. Oh you didn’t know? Yeah, it happened last week.”
“Another fucking thing wrong with this fucking company. They didn’t even announce it when Dudley croaked.”
“It’s like they don’t give a shit about us anymore.”
“We’re nothing but a fucking number, a way to make more money to line their pockets with. Hell, executive management has lost touch with their employee base and they don’t care.”
“Fuck the suggestion boxes. Do you think they really care to hear our opinions? They’re making decisions they’ve either pulled out of thin air, or their ass and they’re not even bothering to let us know.”
“This place is nothing but a shit hole.”
Living the Dream
“Yeah, I’m living the dream P.G., but it sure as hell ain’t my dream. I’m a hell of a lot better than this. I didn’t spend years in college getting a master’s degree and racking up a ton of debt so I could become a fucking slave to this grind.”
“This bullshit is slowly robbing my will to live.”
“I never wanted this, never in my wildest dreams believed I’d be reduced to fighting for decent pay and the right to have my talents recognized and appreciated.”
“You know I always saw myself as a writer or a musician, but that’s never going to happen now. Life has reached out and stolen my dreams from me, crushed me into submission and I’ll never have the chance to be what I always wanted to be.”
“A little piece of me dies inside every single fucking day I clock in at this God forsaken place.”
“Why I ever took this job is a complete mystery to me. What the hell was I thinking? I should have stuck it out with my music or my writing, but no I was a coward. I took the easy way out and took this job. I had fucking bills to pay and a family to feed. They were depending on me for God’s sake. Now I realized all I did was sentence myself to a lifetime of grief chasing fucking money and putting up with bullshit.”
“I am so tired of this I don’t think I’m gonna make it. I just don’t care anymore and I’m pretty sure my boss sees it in my work. She’s probably going to fire my ass and then I’ll have to find another job.”
“No, I’m not going to go back to my music or writing. That dream is fucking dead to me. There’s no way in hell I can make a living at it.”
“Those dreams are dead and now I have to live the dream of someone else.”
“Every single, fucking day for the rest of my life.”
That’s not what they said, but it’s what I heard.
I find it interesting people working at my side hustle can communicate thoughts going on inside their heads without ever speaking the words. Two innocuous statements supposed to be upbeat and inspiring, but instead filled with bitterness and poison.
And then another thought crossed my mind chilling me to my core. How did I know? How was I able to translate their snappy comebacks into how they really felt about being here?
Then it dawned on me.
I was able to translate because until the beginning of this year I thought the exact.same.way.
But somehow I had changed, and though I can’t exactly put my finger why the switch flipped I sure as hell can tell you when it happened. It happened the very second I chose to be a writer first and a slave to my side hustle second.
That tiny shift in perspective was all it took and now look at me.
For the last three months I’ve written and posted an article every day. I sit with my coffee every morning seven days a week thinking of what I want to write and how I’m going to write it.
I think about writing as I’m driving to my side hustle (still sucks with maniacs on the highway). Even though I have to take off my writer’s hat and perform slave labor until lunchtime, I still pick up the damned pen and starting writing another article until I have to take my writer’s hat off again.
From the moment I committed to writing every single day, my thoughts of despair at having to work my side hustle fell to the way side. My side hustle became just that, a secondary revenue stream, and more important, a secondary focus.
Nowadays my main focus is writing.
I write because I’m a writer and I FUCKING LOVE IT!
Yeah I’m caught up in the spirit and may start speaking in tongues in just a moment or two, but I also know how this writing gig works.
So do you.
Each of you knows how fickle a writer’s life is. We may be riding high as hell today but tomorrow we’ll probably find ourselves in a foul mood and start ranting and raving about something.
It’s almost a given.
Oh well, at least we had Paris.
For now, it’s a great day in writer’s paradise and I’m living the writer’s dream.
God this shit feels good.