Maliciously Compliant
I have a job. It seems people like to say that you should do a job you enjoy to improve your quality of life. Everyone would be so happy if they could just do what they wanted to in life. We would all walk around with great big fucking smiles, whistling a happy tune if we could only have a job that made us all so happy we seemed frontally lobotomized. (That last statement may say a lot about me and how I view happiness.) Well, I am here to tell you, that is bullshit. Most likely, the majority of us will have a job we tolerate so we can make enough money to do the things we actually want to do. Having a hobby and activities we enjoy are actually much more likely to make us those happy, lobotomized assholes mentioned above.

I don’t particularly like my job. I work for a railroad. I am part of the union. I get paid decent. I have health coverage. Who can complain? I can. It turns out I can complain at great length about a great many things that take place within the context of an eight hour shift five days a week. (It is more if I work overtime at which point I get up over fifty hours a week.) I think it is human nature to never be satisfied with things that aren’t inherently logical to us, and anyone who has worked for a corporation knows that you are going to run into a lot of illogical stuff because they are a giant conglomerate run by numbers from a great distance away. This leads to a great deal of incongruities for those of us working at the most micro level.

I admire someone who can take these things that don’t make any god damned sense and roll with it. They just do their job, don’t worry about it, and go home at the end of the day. I can’t be that guy. I am an intense and logical person who has to make sense of the world around him, so to be confronted with this sort of illogical turn of events does not set well. This has garnered me a certain reputation at my place of employment. I have a temper. I will confront people when challenged. I will also work for a better solution if I think someone is doing something stupid, which I interpret a little too freaking often. I don’t want to say that people worry about talking to me or won’t ask me for things, but they come expecting to have to make a case. A friend at work came up with a perfect phrase for how I approach my job, maliciously compliant. I will do the job, but I am not afraid to argue, piss and moan about doing it.

Part of problem is that I just really hate my fucking job. No. That’s not completely true. I hate how it represents a failure on my part of doing what I really loved in college which was the academic field of history. I know I am not the only person in this position. A large percentage of the population is in the same boat. Logically, I know I should be content with my decent job, do it, and take the money to do what I really want to in life. (Which apparently is making boring ass videos and writing stupid damn blogs.) Logic doesn’t always help though. Sometimes I am emotional and that is the visceral reaction to my job.

Have I considered quitting my job? Every fucking day that I have to go to that place. However, what is the alternative? I don’t know. I may do that someday when I have the right opportunity or something I really want to do comes along. In the meantime, I can accept that I will be maliciously compliant, do my best to improve the job I have, and try to help those around me get through it too. We are all sort of stuck together. We are bored together, busy together, and fighting the only fight we know together. I like to think a lot of people have work experience like this. If not, shut the fuck up. We don’t want to hear how great your job is.

Also, one the up side, no one at my job as a soul patch.

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