Thursday, May 21, 2009
When I meander myself through a maze of cubicles and fancy offices I see the same expression on all of their faces, the dismal look of despair and boredom. It is the look after being at an office for 8 solid hours; the coffee has lost its high and the realities of each day haven taken their toll. All of their faces sag as if they have aged 10 years in the past 8 hours. The younger cubical workers have a different appearance than the older office vets; they have that younger spark, the blind ambition that with putting in 60 hour weeks and extra elbow grease they will one day have the fancy corner office and once they get that office they will be rewarded with cutting out at 4, taking longer lunches, and maybe even a few more vacations. With the higher paid office workers I see the once cubical worker who has put in the time and moved up but also I see something else, it is a look of hopelessness in their faded eyes and raspy voices. I know that the “cubicles” spend their time thinking just a few more hours in now and once I move up I’ll have the time to play later, hanging up pictures and inspirational posters to give them a little extra motivation to work harder. Looking around the big office crowd I know they spend a majority of time sitting behind their desks daydreaming of how they wish they would have done something different, not put in those extra hours, played a different hand, turned left instead or right, hit and not stayed, because now their skin is beginning to wrinkle, they’ve lost the energy, their backs ach, their minds have grown numb and each day is literally “just another day at the office” all just blending together into what they call life. I always catch myself reading into each of their worlds; it is quite astounding how much you can learn about a person just by the contents of their desk. Now I don’t snoop but if it’s lying around it is fair game for a look. I find out daily rituals, diets (mostly snickers and mountain dew), photos of family/vacations, posters of hobbies, motivational tools, neatness, work load, and so on. I’ve started to put together little stories for each desk and noticed that they are all almost exactly the same. The daily commute to work, working, going home to spend more time working, and then back to work again. All just little ants in a big ant farm trying to get the queen while fighting to grasp the appearance of success and happiness that society demands. “Hey look at me, I am successful and have a happy family”. I mean after all if you don’t have that are you not looked at as a failure? Look at a Christmas card for example, what is the point? It is to say “look at how happy we all are smiling, here is an update on all the superior things that we are doing” but as soon as the flash dims it is back to the fighting, bickering, and everyday routine. Everyone knows at least one person in their family or a friend who is the “different one” or in other words a disappointment because they didn’t follow the rat race. I have started to feel bad for all of these people; just working among them has started to take its toll. Their looks of despair have made me feel hopeless, is this all what I am destined to do in my life? Get a job, work hard, stress, then die? No this is not for me, I’ll choose to get out of this race, I’m not going to take the road less traveled I am going to pave my own path and see what comes of it. I will not be an ant in a farm governed by the acceptance of society. I feel really bad for these people. I know that they wish they could make some changes but they feel scared and too fully engulfed in their lives to do anything drastic. I could be wrong and they are all completely happy being an ant. That it is all they are cut out to be but I think at one point either buried in a stack of papers or gazing at a blurred computer screen they will have a spark of something, a feeling of a greater destiny and maybe just maybe they’ll take the bait.