Smile Pretty! And Don’t Wear Elastic

Wednesday was picture day at work.

It’s part of a marketing campaign. We’re getting our pictures on the website (among other things). I spent a bunch of time Wednesday morning trying look decent. Fussing with the hair, changing shirts a bunch of times and so on. I finally told myself I was over thinking it. It’s just a picture for a job I don’t care about, because really, I’m a writer. No one will ever see it. And, what do I care?

They take the picture and now I want to redo it. I hate the shirt, my hair looks silly, I look crazy. Blah, blah, blah. It’s not a vanity thing. I just don’t want to look stupid. I know this isn’t my true calling and in 10 years I’m not going to worry about it, but this is going on the Internet, after all. I’d like to forever be remembered as, “not dorky looking.” Or something like that.

But why am I so darn worried about this picture? Because it’s on the Internet and the Internet is forever. That’s part of it. But, the more I thought about it, the more I worried. I started realizing, it isn’t just about the picture.

I took this job because I needed money. The freelance/writing thing isn’t enough to to pay the bills, something I mentioned in the interview. And, my thought at the time was, it’s flexible, so that should make this writing thing easier. I can’t work more than 24 hours a week, I don’t have to work every day, I can, in some respects, do whatever I want. I have a set schedule, but I set it. So, I know exactly when I have time to write and when I don’t. I went into this with the attitude of, it’s just a job to help pay the bills. I’m not taking it seriously. Ever.

But.

I hear people talking about things at work and I get upset. Genuinely upset. Oh, they hired someone else and that person is already learning something new? Why not me? How come I’m not picked? Why did this person get this thing and I didn’t? At times, I find myself upset, jealous, even, of stuff going on. Concerned.

Which is stupid because everyone there is fabulous, and there are no egos there. No one’s angling for the corner office. Mostly because there isn’t one. But, you know what I mean. I should not give a shit about any of it and yet, I do. Because I like the job. I love it! It’s all kinds of greatness. Flexible, fun, doesn’t require a lot of brain power (leaving my mind ready to create), they pay on time. But, I wanted – needed – to look good. Not just for me but for the company. I want them to look good. As good as possible. I want this venture to work out.

Uh-oh.

Now, I’m comfortable. Now, I’m happy. Invested, even (not with money, though). Now, I want to stay and do what I can do to help this company succeed. In part because it’s a start-up and who knows? Maybe it will go public and we’ll all get rich. But I also want it to succeed because I want it to succeed. Because I care. Because I’m comfortable.

There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. For example, I think elastic waist bands are a fabulous invention. Everyone should have those in their pants. And warm, snuggly blankets are awesome. But being comfortable at work. That’s a different thing. Especially when I took the job with the “it’s just a job because really, I’m a writer” attitude. It’s no longer just a job. It’s a thing. Not a career. But I could wake up one day and find it’s turned into one.

So, what to do? Ditch the elastic waist band for a suit? Metaphorically, of course. I hate suits. And jobs that require suits. Nope. That’s not the answer. There are a lot of really good things about this job that make writing work. Perhaps it’s time to accept it’s OK to like the day job and to be comfortable in it. To wrap myself up in it and enjoy the sense of comfort and security. For now.

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