Thursday, June 02, 2005

Working Hard or Hardly Working...

I don't like to work very hard, which is something you don't want to get out or admit to in job interviews. As in, "Hi, I'd really like this job, but I hope there isn't a lot of work involved." Admitting you don't like to work too hard in the States in like saying you are a godless whore. Because we are a country that prides itself on a relentless "work ethic." Which is really laughable considering how hypocritical we are. Other countries work "less" but manage to produce more. We're "on the job" all the time and still manage to produce crap. They did some study about Detroit auto workers that showed that worker productivity was markedly lower on Mondays, due to probable hangovers from Sunday, the requiem of the worker bee who watches his freedom turn into vapors of ethanol leftover from a desperate beer binge meant to stretch out the time and delay the inevitable return to the "grindstone."

I don't so much get dressed for work as I get into costume. Each outfit is a carefully put together talisman against the day and certain people. I recently got a pair of glasses that are serious face armor. Not that I didn't have another pair of perfectly good $500 glasses (bought with my husband's excess cafeteria plan money--use or lose, doncha know) with rimless lenses and a sassy green bar across the bridge.

You need lots of hardware to complete the ritual of dressing for work. The make-up: a trowel and spackle from Clinique meant to create a perfect even plane of "Ivory" surfaces; loose face powder (also from that make-up god, don't let anyone tell you different--Clinique) that comes with a helpful brush that seals the spackle into a delicate concrete layer over all eruptions and imperfections. Then the mascara. Despite what I said about Retro Slut, I have long since graduated from Maybelline Great Lash. We in the Mascara World know that is the touchstone of make-ups, however it was trumped during the 80's and 90's by the godlike Lancome Aquacils. It's been discontinued. Further postings will deal with the Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance of having your signature makeup discontinued. Anyway, when Lancome couched the best mascara ever and replaced it with a sorry substitute, the mascara slut was forced to go to L'Oreal Lash Architect, which is sold in drug stores. Here in the DC area that means "CVS," a vile cacophony of "seasonal" gear, badly stocked shelves, and an unbelievably inept and surly staff.

Because no one likes to work hard, but pity the fool who admits it, we find lots of people scamming the system with a faux array of surefire "work hard" lies. In Washington that means the army of people who pepper their talk with "twelve hour days"; "eighty hour workweeks"; missed dinners/birthday parties...fill in the blank. Emphasizing how busy you are is, in effect, emphasizing how important you are. Which brings about the dilemma: I am now so damn busy, but I don't approve of talking about it, but I am. If you are a habitual slacker, as I have always been, or someone who has a hard time ballyhooing their latest endeavors to the moon, as I have often been, it's hard for people to take you seriously. I still have old, old friends who think I am a secretary because I think it's more comfortable to compartmentalize someone into that. It is called the problem of Not being Taken Seriously Because You Don't Market Yourself Accordingly.

It's never really been important for me to be taken seriously at the professional level, because I have never taken the professional level seriously. I have always thought/hoped/dreamed that there was another calling for me. In the meantime, I kept working and natural selection did its thing. I became a grownup worker, in contrast to what my friend M. called us in our twenties, "workfakers." Now we're "lifefakers," carrying on with this delusion that certain life accoutrements make us impervious to mortal sin. Like having babies and a husband and summer plans.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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