The daily grind of a 9-5* eventually wears on even the smallest of things. Take, for instance, the monthly budget. I find it rather disheartening to know that I’ll make exactly X number of dollars* every two weeks and there is not way that that is going up or changing. Don’t misunderstand: stability is a beautiful thing. What I am trying to say is that seeing it all on paper, the next twelve months, broken out into exact two week segments, with no wiggle room or space for change, is phenomenally depressing. I feel like a worker bee who has just been given an outside complete view of their life in the hive: Work. Gather pollen. Die.
That is my complete outside view of at least the next year (providing, of course, that I am not laid off): Work. Eat. Die. Fun, yes? Yet, structure and routine are very, very important for my ability to function. My depression is manageable when I have a semi rigid schedule to follow. If you start throwing things like staggered work time starts at me or closing grocery stores I shop at it seems that my internal leveler can’t re-balance as well or as quickly as other folks’. I crave a change of scenery yet without fail I always adjust miserably to such things.
In this, as it seems to be in all other things as well, my life is a dichotomy. I could not function in an environment where I didn’t know the amount or originator of my next paycheck yet knowing the exact amount and originator of my next paycheck depresses me in some way. It’s like I’m trapped in a box of expectation, this precise box, and all I will manage to do, no matter how poorly or well I work, is make that exact amount every two weeks, pay these exact bills, eat this exact food and go home to the only apartment I can afford.
And heaven forbid I think this! For I could lose my job tomorrow and then what?!? I don’t know if I even like stew made from boots and fish skeletons; and I can hardly adjust when my couch is moved, how will I function when I have no couch?
I have no idea how my brain and I are going to work things out over the upcoming years. It is decisively split on nearly every level, and both sides of the split are always tinged with melancholy. When I make my budget out for this month, which is precisely the same it will be next month, and precisely the same it has been for a year’s worth of months, I will be sad knowing that there will not be any extra money coming in or any wiggle room. And now it has the added edge of not knowing if I will even get to make the budget out as it is for another year’s worth of months or if I’ll be hoping my state’s unemployment fund has'nt yet run out.
Am I particularly crazy in this? Does knowing exactly what the year has in store for you, two miserable and poor weeks at a time, all laid out exactly, sorta depress you? Does it make you feel trapped? Or am I not making my point clearly?
*Even more so when I know 40 hours a week is more than most other countries, except for the crazy ones (China I am looking at you) work in professional fields.
*Which may soon be X number of dollars minus X percent in an effort on my union’s behalf to keep all our jobs.