It’s been a bad couple of days. I was planning on writing about how much I love it when someone reboots/re-imagines something and actually makes it better, while still leaving room for the old material to fall into continuity.
However, this weekend, I spent an evening with my wife at my old job’s Christmas party, as I’ve done every year since I started there and since I left.
The number of people I knew well (or at all) continues to dwindle over there, replaced by the kind of people I always pushed against while I was there, and who were a driving force behind my leaving.
Some old friends have become those same people now. That much is obvious. The rest swarm like schools of fish, terrified of the shark or whale about to swallow them up. The sharks swim around in a weird sort of inception, where they play both shark to the sucker fish plastered to their underbelly, and sucker fish to the larger shark.
I had fun as I often do at these things, but couldn’t help but wonder at how everyone still stuck there was obsessed with everyone who’d left that had come back. With jealousy and a desire for schadenfreude sparring for dominance on their faces, I couldn’t help but downplay my current struggles at the new office, in which I’ve seen many patterns repeat at a smaller size, but with which I’ve had no luck creating any kind of self-awareness among the staff or leadership.
A friend that had left the old place a few months ago confided he was tired of everyone begging to know how much better his life is now that he’s gone. Like me, he has a partner that still works there, and felt he had to live up to expectations a little.
But I mean, the thing is, most of us that have left are happier. They always are. That’s a bad situation that’s only gotten worse since I’ve left, the result of a management gone off the rails and stopped listening, and adopting a “system” that makes next to no sense, and neuters productivity, data, accountability, responsibility, training, quality assurance and basic intelligence. To say nothing of treating people with any level of decency or respect.
At least the consultant’s getting rich. I’m sure their contract precludes a lawsuit for the destruction of a business due to their poor planning and results.
In any case, being back in contact with all that bad mojo has left me feeling like I’d never left, a state exacerbated by the state of my current office, with its disorganization, lack of prioritization, in-fighting, an inability to remember even the most basic facts, laziness and general head-up-the-ass-ness of its staff.
I worry that I’ve become that staff, that it’s reduced me to what I was, angry and depressed, one bad event away from driving into traffic. Sometimes, it feels like all it would take is to accidentally drop something on the floor.
And I don’t want this for my life. I’ve made so many strides over the last five years or so, since I decided to leave that other place. I’ve had so many regressions as well, but that’s been going on since I was twelve and I reached Exodus in the bible and thought, “What a pile of evil horseshit this is.” I had been holy rollin’ leading up to my confirmation and read the Bible in its entirety in an effort to be holier-than-the-rest-of-my-confirmation-class. I’m not even sure if I finished confirmation, but I am sure I stopped going altogether as soon as I could.
Whoever said the quickest way to become an atheist is to read the Bible is absolutely right. Having your faith murdered before you hit high school can really fuck you up though. You start questioning everything. Every institution. You start wondering what’s the point.
If authority can’t be trusted, who can you trust? The only answer that made any sense in my mind was me. Nirvana showed up at just the right time, and I spent the next twenty years with my head up my own ass, assured I knew what was best, but not ever understanding why I needed to do anything.
Getting drunk was easier.
Finally, at that job, that godawful place, I started to hit rock bottom. Drinking only hurt; it wasn’t fun anymore to get smashed. Every day was pure misery. Rage seethed just beneath the surface. Depression ruled everything.
There were times when I could barely get out of bed. Couldn’t leave the house. Every day was a struggle just to make it to the office without driving into the river.
And here I am again, three days after 2019’s Christmas debacle and it’s all back.
The sooner I can cut all ties with that place, the better. I’m not that twenty-something with his head up his ass anymore. I’m not even that thirty-something groping for a lifeline, some glimmer of hope to hold onto in an office filled with bad behaviour and looking for a way out. I’m certainly no expert and don’t necessarily know what I’m doing these days, but at least I’m aware enough to know when I’m off the rails.
And I’m off the rails.
The question is, how can I get back on them? And quick?