Something that’s been bugging me lately that I’ll probably start to discuss at length (that is, if I get off my ass and start blogging more regularly) is my increasing anxiety about capitalism. As I alluded to in my last post about my work situation. It’s not really a “situation” per se, it’s just that I’ve had it easy for a few years and now it’s quickly turning around and I’m finding myself back in my old stressed out ways.
It seems more and more that nobody is allowed to relax and enjoy their lives. The emphasis in America is all about hard work and self sacrifice, no loafers allowed. Companies are supposed to make more money, and then when they’ve made more money, the bar gets raised again and again and it’s more more more more more more more. No amount of money is enough. Every company is expected to aspire to Amazonian heights (and I’m sure Amazon executives are right now complaining that the company isn’t making enough money), and in turn every employee is expected to aspire to CEO. The funny thing is that everybody knows they won’t be CEO, but they’re expected to keep going toward this unknown goal. In fact, there are no goals anymore, because a goal can be achieved. In America, you’re not supposed to actually achieve, because what could you POSSIBLY do with yourself once that happens? To paraphrase Woody Allen, a career is like a shark – it has to constantly keep moving to survive. Otherwise what you’ve got on your hands is a dead career shark.
Well I’m fucking sick of it. I want to roll into work at 9, do a good job while I’m at the office, and then leave said office at 6 (or preferably 5:30) and do things like try new recipes and chat with my husband and talk to my mom on the phone and clean the house and read a book and make some art and practice guitar and learn French and any one of a hundred other things, including possibly squeezing in an episode or two of House of Cards. Isn’t that enough? Americans are so obsessive, they can’t just have a little bit of anything. If I say I want to leave work at a reasonable hour in order to do something in my personal life, that’s perfectly respectable provided that thing is something I’m trying to switch careers to. Every article I read about work life balance involves people talking about coming home from work and then trying new recipes for the restaurant they dream of opening one day, or playing guitar so they can become a professional musician. But if I just want to leave work (and not answer emails at night) so I have time to plink around and learn to play “Just Like a Woman” on my out-of-tune Ibanez, that’s not really acceptable. The American work ethic leaves no room for dilettantes.
And now just so’s I don’t end on a sour note, here is a silly video of a baby elephant taking a bath.