Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A downer, then story time

I started to write a post about this CNN.com article "US job satisfaction hits 22 year low," but then I scrapped it. It was a complete downer. Basically, even through good economic times and improvements in the workplace environment over the last 20 years, job satisfaction has continued a downward trend. Now more than half of people lucky enough to have jobs are dissatisfied with their jobs.

Great, so even if and when I do get a job, I'm going to be unhappy with it? I never expected to fall in love with it or anything, but I hoped to at least like it a little bit. I mean, this might be kind of a reach for a metaphor, but employers are no longer proposing marriage to employees. They've taken the romance and the love and the snuggling by the fire right out of it. As a result, loyalty on the employee's part is gone. So what's left? Friendship. And I hope my future job and I can at least be friends.

Alright, so apparently, I didn't entirely scrap that post. And it ended up being a little bit of a downer. Dang.

I know: In an effort to end on a positive note, I'll tell you a story!

I was watching TV recently and saw a teenage girl throwing a tennis ball repeatedly against a garage or wall or something. Suddenly I remembered: I used to do that all the time! I would throw it against the garage for HOURS at a time. One day, though, my parents got worried that I would develop a bionic arm and the ball would explode through the door, the car behind the door, and into the laundry room. I assured them that wouldn't happen, that I would be careful. I guess I wasn't convincing enough, though, and the Rule was made that I was no longer allowed to throw the ball against the door. I was heart broken: throwing that ball was one of the most fun things I could do with my day. What to do!?

I played with my Legos, a form of middle school age meditation I now realize, and came up with a solution: I would lob it onto the roof above the garage! I tried it and for the first half hour, things were going swimmingly. The ball would bounce up onto the roof and then bounce right back down. It was fantastic, and even more fun than the garage door. About 45 minutes in, however, I got into a bit of a kerfuffle. I tossed the ball up, but it didn't bounce as much and so rolled down the roof....and right into the gutter. Pants! A trip to get my dad and a scolding session involving a ladder and several clumps of leaves later, my ball was down and I promised to be more careful. Thankfully, despite the scolding and the continuing evidence that I was in fact developing a bionic arm, a Rule wasn't made forbidding me to throw tennis balls onto the roof again. Realizing I had dodged a significant childhood bullet, I grew careful. I became skilled in the mechanics and physics of the Tennis Ball Roof Dancing. TBRD. That's what I called it. And there were guidelines for my friends if they ever came over to play TBRD with me. A points system even evolved. Yeah.

I'm sure you have a story just like that. i.e. when you were a kid, you probably became really knowledgeable about and skilled in something that you thought was just the bee's knees at the time and then made it a game with rules and points and such. You know what? Why don't you just go ahead and share those stories with me so I don't feel so weird.


  1. Yeah, but one of the blessings of having NOT had a job is that you're a lot more forgiving of the workplace when that next job does land in your lap! (Voice of experience that just spent the last two days listening to her boss kvetch about things he.cannot.change.) Hang in there!


  2. When in my teens, my mother and I developed a game we called "Foot-Fight". Not the most original name, but it worked. In our living room, which was fairly small, we had two armchairs that more or less faced each other. I had long legs, so even though my mother is short, i could easily reach her feet. We would press our stockinged feet together and say "Foot fight, foot fight!" and we'd push as hard as we could against the other's feet. If one foot slipped off, that was a point to the other person. If it slipped and hit the floor, that was 2 points. The winner was the first to ten points.
    So there you are. That was way weirder than TBRD.