Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I want to grow up and waste time, please

I think that at office, in this newspaper, in the industry (say indis-tree, please, not in-DUS tree?) my time is up. I know you got distracted by the brackets, but I’ve been parading as a journalist too long and I don’t think I want to anymore.

So quit, you say. Draft a resignation, MS Word – 12 font, Times New Roman -- take a A4 size print with the company letterhead, fold it into half maybe, peep into my boss’s cubicle (see if he’s there), throw in a perfunctory, are you busy?, slide into a swivel chair opposite him, put my phone on silent, look sheepish, smile, pass him the A4, and half-ask: don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming…

While visualising that I tell myself I don’t have the balls. It’s not the slide and swivel with A4 in hand that is the problem, it’s the fact that I’m staring a gift horse in the mouth. There isn’t a better job in the indis-tree. You come and go, you do your work, it’s all very chilled out, bosses like you, sometimes you get pulled up for no stories.

I’m going to be 26 in September. I started working here before my 21st birthday. Surely in this much time I should have come to know if this hack-business is cut out for me, if I am cut out for it, if this should count as my career. Should there not be some passion, some more interest in my work? Sometimes, on my peak laze days, this mirage of a moral compass (like Sonia Gandhi’s inner voice) tells me as much – don’t be indifferent. Do some work. Chin up. You don’t mind it. It’s words and writing, and decent people and a convenient location and reasonable pocket money. Stop convincing yourself that you’re wasting your time. It doesn’t get bigger or better. This is it. This is the life. You chose it, so suck it up.

When I started, I had different colleagues. And as is typical of beginnings and cliches, I learnt a lot. I met interesting people, wrote some interesting stories, did some fun stuff. I enjoyed myself. I thought I was very cool to make come true the profession I used to put down in slam books in school. ‘Zodiac Sign’: Virgo. ‘Latest Crush’: Dylan McDermott, ‘What I want to be when I grow up’: JOURNALIST. Oooh, it came true!

Full marks for loyalty to the organisation, I would delude myself, knowing fully well loyalty is my laze. That’s around the time loyalty loses its sheen. It’s simply convenient for me to stick on. Such is the malaise. Who wants to look for another job? (It’s so hot!) And the timings here are fantastic. What would I do anywhere else anyway? Really, the routine here allows me to have a life beyond the desktop and canteen food. And while I haven’t been bored here forever, in terms of pure work output, the last eighteen months have been alarmingly unremarkable, even to myself.

I’ve never really had the drive to be a journalist. I know I wrote it in slam books when I was 13 and 14, but I never really loved Dylan McDermott, either. I loved Bobby Donnell in The Practice. Somewhat likewise, I loved the writing bit of journalism. And journalism happened because I wanted to see what the fuss was about. It sounded cool. I started work. People liked me. I liked them. The work was always OK, do-able. Once in a way, I’d get a kick out of seeing my name in print. That doesn’t happen to me anymore. I think I’m losing a little respect for myself because I can be better. I’m not good at my job, because I couldn’t be bothered to be. Surely that’s as symptomatic of plague as the rats in the 90’s that made sure our schools shut down.

As for journalism making a difference to people’s lives – I don’t have that hang up. I don’t think like that. That ambition isn’t professional. Giving back to society? Yea, the society can thank me when I get out, picking garbage off the streets (despite the heat). I’d really rather smarten up the environment and write a little than do what I’ve become so used to doing -- cooling my heels in an A/C office, scrolling down my google reader, drinking juice, making lunch plans, and ducking every time a boss-like-person walks and smells like there might be work coming my way.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

yay new post!

kedar said...

definitely looks like this is the season to quit well-paying-yet-unsatisfying jobs and go do your own thing.

Nimpipi said...

Anon: yay new comment! :P

Kedar: Who said anything about well-paying? I used the phrase pocket money on purpose:)

Inayat said...

Listen ya pipi, first I'm trying to think about why you've posted this here. Usually your posts are about much less existential stuff and you combine the frivolity of your shoes woes with enough mock seriousness.

I mean obviously, there are different sides to a person, and one is more dominant, and when the other personas/interests come in to play, people who know us only perfunctorily get surprised. Like for example, I recall The Delhiwalla saying something like “Don't be fooled by this south delhi girl, she secretly reads Alice Munro” or some such. And I remember this because the last thing on earth I thought of you as was a "south delhi girl" but possibly, that’s the first impression he got of you which later evolved or whatever.

Nonetheless, the very fact that you’ve been so open about your life/career graph till now speaks volumes. Before 21 – god damn, that’s early. And you’re right, it is the best place to be, and I think I’ll say the obvious here, that can’t you shift to something within the paper that inspires you a bit more, whatever it is? Work your way up from there? Or else, study more, honestly, there is SO much to learn and with some good five years of work under you, any grad school is yours for the choosing.

And then, if you were to say this to a certain older demographic they would say – you know what time it is? Why the ennui? Settle down! Get married! Etc.

Bypassing that, all I can add is that you DO manage to be quite regular with the blogging, and if your old man is also writing than give it a shot no? Or just completely throw yourself out of your comfort zone, it IS possible. Side note – if you’re increasing TV intake, watch Long Way Round.

And you’re right – the looking good and matching outfits and meeting up with friends is all okay, but it is only the veneer, and one absolutely can have a rock solid life first, and all that follows automatically.

Anonymous said...

NO! No "all I can add is that you DO manage to be quite regular with the blogging"! Last year => 42 posts, this year only 9 as of nw! at this rate only 30 this yr! A full tontyphive% decline!

Nimpipi said...

Inyayat: Is it ok to pick up random bits from your lovely thesis-comment and reply in no order? I'll take that as a yes.

1. I had no idea that my Dilliwallah friend said that about me. I'll slap his face. But first I have to check his blog and find a photo of me that's he's captioned liberated something or the other.

2. Work angst not going anywhere, but maybe if I applied myself more, rainbows at the workplace will return.

3. Study/ grad school: no. I can't. Refuse to take a loan; a scholarship won't easily be mine. Plus, I don't want to study journalism. Experience counts for more. I want(ed) to study Creative Writing at Columbia, but maybe the BCL writing course that is closer home is a more immediate, though slightly iffy plan, for like my boss says -- put shoulder to the wheel and just WRITE! :)

4. Yes, no getting married now. I'm waiting for my boyfriend's milk teeth to drop. And I suppose I could grow up a little, too. Also, my father once told me, whatever you do, don't get married to escape boredom. He also said don't marry a man who won't let you work.

5. Will watch Long Way Round. Ewan McGregor, mmm hmm mm hmm. Side note: saw Revolutionary Road. Unnecessarily unsettling.

6. Your comments often make my day.

Anon: What ya, why can't you chose a name? Even The Anonymous One will do if you insist on being unimaginative. I'm impressed with the calculation, by the way. And I'm trying for there to not be a tonyphive percent decline. I'll break records, my own if I have to:D

Anonymous said...

What's in a name? Choosing one is no sweat, but you do not know me; we would probably be the black swans of the 6 degrees of separation theory. So the name would hold no meaning :)

And u r trying indeed, I see a new post today too! woohoo! Pliss to ensure the records u break r not the 'highest number of dropped catches' types :)

heh? ok said...

I think 26 is an age like that. When I was 25, I was bored, disinterested, disenthused about advertising. It paid the bills, was reasonably convenient and simple. But it was plain fear keeping me here. And then year 26 came along, and suddenly I was brave enough to quit, and it was so liberating.

Maybe because 25 is supposed to be such a landmark year that once it passes you start valuing your time more.

Inayat said...

tontyphive, lolz, I almost googled that.

And no problem peeps. I quite like the disconnected convo, reply in points et all. I've got your back.

You know how the octogenarians say with one anna I bought bread and eggs, and toys for the children and kitchen supplies and a house and a car! okay maybe not so much, but they could never have seen things like the internet coming.

And now we are all internet children, who knows what's coming for us?

The Mystic said...

Maybe u should invent somethin! like remote powered universal remote! :D

daisyfae said...

i wandered in through our mutual friend, 'the unbearable banishment', and i'm glad i did!

nice post on being comfortably lost. i know this feeling well - at 47 years old, i've known it several times.

it takes either major change in life to force me out of it (parental death, divorce, children grew up) or a swift kick into my backside to get up and stretch myself. try something new - either professionally or personally.

i'll be back to read more. you're good...