what do you do with your time.


my boss gave me an informal evaluation today. i hate evaluations. they're bullshit. i know it, the person above me knows it. because no one can ever be honest in an evaluation. one of her questions was, "do you feel fulfilled by the work you're doing?" she meant well, but she knew the answer, and i knew the answer, so what'd she ask it for? that's the problem with work and the idea of job security. it just turns us into a bunch of lowdown yes-men liars. and i'm a terrible liar. i wanted to say, "no, of course i'm not satisifed by the actual work. i'm satisifed that i'm overpaid for what i'm doing, and i'm satisfied that no one gives me shit for slacking all day, but the actual work - responding to emails, punching shit into a spreadsheet, writing about things i don't give two shits about - nah, miss. none of that shit satisfies. none at all.

so, what does a terrible liar do to get himself out of it? i did what my gut told me to: be honest, but evade the question. i went into how i was used to "hands-on" type of stuff, you know, "being in the trenches," so they say. thing of it is, the trenches were too hot for me, so i had to quit. yeah, that's me. an empowered leader for a just and humane world who sold out early because shit got too hot. i told her about the shitty teaching gig, and then i immediately regretted it because as soon as the words left my mouth, i was ultimately declaring that i had lied on my resume, lied my way through the job application. an omission is a lie. so, why not just come clean already with everything, right? well, the truth is, i'm a crook. i like getting paid for doing nothing.

somehow, our talk turned into a discussion about how i actually am interested in law, even though i don't plan on ever going to law school. now i'm going to some meeting off-site tomorrow for two hours. how do i get myself into these things? i'm a weak fool. i tell everyone yes when i mean no. i say i'll do something, even though i don't really want to. is this just part of being human, or does it only apply to indecisive, socially awkward, scatterbrained mofos like myself? i want to be held accountable for things, but i don't want the blame when it doesn't turn out right. i want to do humanitarian work, but i want to get paid for it. i want to do grown up things, but i don't want the stress that comes with it.

the last time i had a thorough evaluation was when i worked at the red cross. the national director flew in from d.c. just to talk to us seven. made us feel real special. she sat me down in an interview room and asked me, how'd my year go? how'd i like the mid-year training? and blah blah blah bullshit. of course, i smiled through it all and i couldn't be honest. what was the point? a year had passed and i had accomplished nothing. might as well just take the education award and leave in peace, right? take the money, and don't make a scene. i could've told her i spent all day doing jack shit, changing the layouts on my myspace page, entering the name of every cd i owned (yes, sadly, i fucking did this) into a spreadsheet.

i came close, too, real close to spilling everything. she asked me, "what percent would you say you spend doing direct service?" "about thirty percent," i said. she looked up from her clipboard, eyes wide, shocked as fuck. "what do you do with the rest of your time?" oh shit. she didn't like that. better change my answer. "wait, by 'direct service' - does that include answering emails, going to meetings and stuff?" "yes." "oh, well then it's like 60 - 70 percent." quite a jump, but she bought it. fucking nonprofits. they'll buy anything.

i've been reading three cups of tea for this book club that i'm going to meet with on sunday. the main character is a real adventurer. he grabs life by the horns and doesn't screw around. he doesn't have to pretend like he's doing anything - he actually works and travels. he doesn't have to answer to anybody except his wife, and he doesn't have to make up stories about how he wastes away his nine to five. he builds schools in remote regions in the middle east, and he isn't afraid of getting killed.

i used to fear death, but now i fear it to a mildly lesser degree. because somewhere in the recesses of my mind, i know that the real tragedy is a life misspent.

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