Work sucks…

That got your attention.

And yes, I do have a better vocabulary than that. But trust me, it’s the appropriate word.

Hopefully you didn’t click here because you know where my day job is, you’ve been reading the papers, and you might think you’re in for some inside dirt. Same goes for those who thought this was going to be a confession of laziness. And for colleagues who thought they might catch me in a crime against the social media policy…got ya!

Maybe what I should have said is…jobs suck. Not my job, but what appears to constitute a job these days. I thought it was only me, but a major Canadian bank has validated my opinion.  

I am a want ad/professional call for candidates junkie. Even if I’m happily employed or otherwise booked up, I can’t help myself. I have to check out one, some or all the myriad of job sites out there. Doesn’t even matter if the jobs aren’t in my field, I’m compulsively interested in what other people are expected to do for a living. I wrote recruitment communications during the tech boom when there were more jobs available than people to fill them—and got hooked.

 But I have to admit these days, I read the ads with a certain amount of repugnance. From my vantage point, it does appear that most of these jobs… well, like I said, they totally suck.

To some degree, it’s a moot point for me. I’m nearly 53-years old in a town where a lot people retire at 55, thanks to what was a good federal pension plan—until shortsightedness and volatile markets doomed it. Thing is, I have come to the conclusion that if something were to happen to the job I have, the reality is I have aged out of the market and will have to survive on my own. And I’m ok with that.

I don’t think I’m too old to consider going after a new job; I just think that over the years, I’ve developed an allergic reaction to the kind of crap a lot of companies expect their employees to swallow. When I started working nearly 30 years ago (…back in my day…) having a degree and a reasonable set of skills in a particular discipline was enough. You kept your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open, learned to think on your feet and picked up the rest on the job. Now that’s not even close to good enough. For example, in my field, I’m convinced that today, famous ad men Bill Bernbach or George Lois could walk into an interview for a junior marketing writer and not get the gig because they didn’t know “desktop publishing” or “CRM” or couldn’t use 54 industry-specific software programs, 49 of which no one’s ever heard of. And since they wouldn’t have worked for under $30,000 a year in 1955, chances are they wouldn’t do it now.

In this job market, near rabid enthusiasm and a light smattering of non-related abilities seem to be more in demand that actually mastery of a craft. Then too, one must be willing to quaff the corporate Kool-aid®, work late, be glued to the Blackberry when not in the office, be cooperative (a push-over), flexible (refer back to “cooperative”) and giggle. A lot.

There’s my allergy acting up again. 

Perhaps the sorry state of the workplace today is one of the reasons why so many women my age are becoming entrepreneurs. Men do it too, but according to Faith Popcorn, Carol Orsborn and Martha Stewart, women in their late 40s and 50s are far more apt to open a business than men. And they do it differently…they play to their passions, put their personal stamp on every aspect of the company, keep start-up costs skinny. (With equipment I already had and a never-used dining room, I opened seed for under a grand. My ongoing expenses are well under 10% of my revenue.)

There’s a theory that one of the reasons so many post-middle-age women get the entrepreneurial bug is that as the years spend out our value as sexual beings with the ability to reproduce, we become disconnected with the mainstream (read “ignored”), which offers a certain freedom to finally do our own thing. I’d like to think that our energy, our blossoming individualism and enthusiasm for taking our destinies into our own hands has a grander source than the state of our ovaries.

I think being ignored makes us restless. And dealing with life’s ups and downs all these years makes us brave.

I’d wager a bet that bravery isn’t a particularly desirable characteristic for many jobs these days. But you’d be amazed at just how valuable a quality it is when you choose to determine your own destiny by writing your own job description.

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One Comment on “Work sucks…”

  1. Joy Parks says:

    Reblogged this on From the SEEDlines and commented:

    This piece from my personal blog, Her Joyful Noise, seemed appropriate here.


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