1. Count the seconds, minutes, hours
Every day when I would first come in and sit at my desk, I’d peel an index card from its stack, pull the cap off my pen, and draw eight short lines. As each hour slowly passed, I would make an X on top of one of these lines. Okay, halfway through the day, I’d reassure myself as I drew an X over the fourth hour line. It is so painful to go through each and every day, hour by hour, at a job that feels like it’s sucking the life out of you. Sometimes I’d find myself staring at the clock, waiting to put an X on another line. “1:58… close enough.” X
2. Surf the internet
Like, hardcore. There were days when I would open websites and realize I already read every single article the day before. I read everything available online, forcing my eyes to stay on the words and away from the numbers at the bottom corner of my screen. I’d Stumble like nobody has Stumble-d before. I would look up make-up tips, best shampoo brands, fall color palettes, wedding venues, bridesmaid dresses (no, I’m not getting married), boots and flats and heels, jackets, Kylie Jenner’s response to all of this lip hoopla, who the tallest actors in Hollywood are, (who the shortest are), who else comes up when you Google my name (the grandma from Gilmore Girls), anything to keep my mind off of where I was.
3. Get depressed and contemplate quitting
With a soul-crushing job comes some scale of depression. You can’t sit somewhere you hate, day-in, day-out, without growing a bit dark inside. You get down on yourself, even begin to dislike the pleasant people around you. You go over scenarios of how you should quit, what you should say. You get such bad cabin fever you sit there for a few moments seriously considering walking out without a word and never returning. Just never turn back. Never answer your phone. Pretend like you never existed there. Forget that you ever had to spend so many hours trapped behind its imaginary bars.
I know I considered this. Every. Single. Day.
4. You find any excuse to leave your desk
At a bad job, you will do anything to get up and away for even a couple of minutes. People must have thought I was pregnant because of how often I would go to the bathroom. But in reality, it was just an easy escape. I would slowly stroll down the hall, my fingers gliding along the wall. I’d stand in front of the mirror fixing my hair for way too long, seeing how it looked in a ponytail, then pulled back with a clip, then back down again. I’d saunter into the kitchen and leisurely pour a cup of water, take a sip, pour in some more. After killing about 10-12 minutes, I would sit back down and stare longingly at the lines with no X’s over them.
5. Question your life
I reflected on some pretty deep things while sitting at my job, slowly dying.
I need to start working out more. Definitely need to start yoga if I ever want my back to stop hurting. I need to stretch every night after sitting in this damn chair every day… I am a talentless swine who doesn’t even deserve this low-life job. Will I be stuck here forever?… Wait though, maybe I am actually good at something. But I’ll never find out if I stay here. Is it unethical to search for a new job at your current one?… Am I seriously depressed, or is my career just dampening the rest of my life too? Should I see a therapist? Or just quit? I think both. But then I’d have no money to pay for a therapist. And I wouldn’t have health insurance to cover it. What… no, seriously, WHAT am I doing with my life? I’m going nowhere, and everyone else I know has jobs they love and really want to do. Ugh, so I need to eat healthier, do more yoga, go to therapy, get a new job. But who has time to do that when you’re working all the time?