Great Expectations

This is not the way it was supposed to happen.

Today’s blog post – as I started mapping it out weeks ago in my mind – was designed to be unabashedly celebratory. This was going to be the ultimate All About Me™ post, a new high point in the self-adulatory Golden Boy Chronicles. This was supposed to be the post in which I triumphantly crowed, bragged, and boasted to the rooftops of the blogosphere that I’d ARRIVED – or returned, depending on how you look at it – to that charmed place under the sun in which I so rightfully belong, and that all was once again right and good and exactly how it was supposed to be.

I was supposed to tell you that I’d accepted a new job. More than that, one that would make up for the dreariness and drudgery of one that I’ve come to resent for failing to keep me inspired and happy. This new job, I was supposed to announce, was shiny and wonderful, filled with wonderful, dynamic supervisors, and would provide an atmosphere where I could positively flourish. Because of this job, I would do wonderful, fucking fantastic things.

This is what I was supposed to be telling you today.

But you know what? I’m not.

As occasionally happens in life, things didn’t go quite the way I hoped they would. After weeks of interviews and a cautious escalation of hope, I got the final call late last week (on a Friday afternoon, no less. As an aside, who does that??). Apparently, my obvious brilliance was not quite as brilliant as someone else’s.

And just like that, it was all over.

Naturally, I was a little bit upset. (Did I mention that this was at 4:30pm on a FRIDAY afternoon???) There may or may not have been a few minutes of abject pouting (okay, I swore viciously under my breath and almost had to buy the university a new computer), followed by a short period of quiet mourning (in which I may or may not have packed up my entire office in a grown-up version of ‘fuck you, I’m taking my marbles and going home!’). After glimpsing the rosy utopian future promised by the new position, the prospect of returning, beaten, to the day-in day-out existence at my current office seemed too bleak to contemplate.

But…now that I’ve had a solid week away from the office and on the road, my thoughts have settled and tempered somewhat, and…I’m okay with this.

Not that I don’t cringe, shudder, and die a little bit at the thought of trudging back into my same old cubicle – now with carefully blank, sterile walls – come tomorrow morning, because to be completely honest, I do. I can still enumerate the things that fucking irritate me beyond all belief about this place from rote memory. But at the same time, I think I cringe, shudder, and die a little less than I did several weeks or months ago.

See, I’ve been thinking this over. A couple weeks ago, the great Steve Jobs departed for that great iCloud in the sky, and the world all of a sudden went mad. In the midst of the mass gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair, and rampant eulogizing, all I could think of was how cool it was that Steve worked to the very end because he loved what he had created, and how lucky any of us should be to find something we’re that passionate about in our professional lives. I mean, he found something he was both brilliant at and loved doing, and he found ways to make sure he never stopped doing them. There might have been a few bumps and obstacles along the way, but he didn’t let them sidetrack him. And right down to the very end, if you believe the reports that’ve recently come to light, he was still hard at work making sure his final products would come out just so.

Not that he needed to, mind you: he had a gazillion dollars, was dying of cancer, and could have simply just said ‘fuck it’ and plopped himself down in front of HGTV for his final days. Or, when he was pushed out of Apple the first time around, he could have sat moping in a cubicle, getting bitter and resentful.

But because he was passionate about what he did, he kept right on going, circumstances be damned.

And that? That’s what it’s all about, in the end. At the end of the day, I should be excited. I should feel like I’ve accomplished something. I should be passionate enough about something to want to do it because it’s gratifying, not because I need the money. I should inadvertently work late most days because I’m caught up in a project I want to finish. I should want to voluntarily come in on weekends and holidays, not sprint out of the office with a sense of relief that another workday is crossed off on the calendar.

If this is where I’m spending forty hour and another ten-plus hours a week in transit to and from, and is eating up time I could be writing or spending with Boyfriend, then it better be worth it. It better not just be marking time.

And maybe I’ve had it exactly backward all this time: maybe it was a mistake to believe it was my job’s responsibility to provide that. Maybe it’s MY job to make sure I’m making the most of every precious moment and getting what I need out of all this. I desperately wanted out because I felt like my job has been utterly failing me: there’s no validation for work well done, there’s no challenge, there’s no motivation to do better.

Well, maybe I’ve just been completely spoiled in the past and have come to expect entirely too much of my supervisors, administrators, and general workplace (Hi Savona, hi Scott, hi Kirsten!). Maybe I’ve depended too much on the thrill and personal gratification and job satisfaction to come from sources external to myself. And maybe, just maybe, in order to regain those cherished elements of my work, I need a little paradigm shift. If I’m not happy where I am? Maybe I need to find something in it to be passionate about.

So thanks to a little posthumous inspiration from My. Jobs, that’s my goal, now. I can sit around spinning in circles in my desk chair, sighing in frustration over the myriad little fucking irritations and disappointments of what I once thought would be the Greatest Job Ever…or I can make it the Best Job Ever. At least until the Next Greatest Job Ever comes along…

So…come tomorrow morning, bright and early (well, not too early, because I’m still wickedly jet-lagged from this latest trip), I’m going to find the things that excite me and thrill me about my current job if it kills me. I’m going to find the challenge. And I’m going to find the gratification; if the job doesn’t provide it, I’ll fucking gratify myself. And I’ll keep on doing it, giving 150% of myself – and not for anyone else, but for myself.

Eventually, another position will come up that sparks my interest and whets my appetite. I’ll go through this whole process again, and one of these times, the job is gonna fucking be mine, and I can walk away knowing that I haven’t been wasting my time here. Because there’s one more enduring lesson we can all learn from Steve Jobs: that some of us are just too fucking fabulous to be kept down in the muck.

Now…if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to get to gratifying myself.

Nice Guys Finish Last: In a shocking development, Zach plays nicely. The cosmos shows its disapproval.

Green Day really got it right, folks: nice guys finish last.

If you recall the ongoing saga of Zach vs. Evil Archnemesis From Hades, I have had a long-running feud with an individual who is near and dear to my boyfriend. Well, it’s not so much a feud as the commonplace slightly hostile dynamic between a fag hag and her fag’s boyfriend, I suppose. She doesn’t especially like me in the picture, and I don’t particularly care for her presence, either.

To be fair, I’m sure both of us imagine offenses much worse than they actually are, and neither of us really truly hates the rotting fetid guts of the other, in much the way my ex-wife and mother didn’t so much dislike each other as think the other disliked her. At the same time, I’m sure neither of us honestly is free of any guilt in the escalation of our little conflict. I think she’s a pouty, immature, moody PMS machine when I’m around, but that might be because I’m an abusive little prick around her. Or maybe I’m a prick because she’s a pouty bitch. Chicken, meet egg.

At any rate, you know what? To quote Shirley Q. Liquor (seriously, YouTube her if you aren’t familiar – you’ll laugh your fucking face off), it hurts ma heart. See, I’m an asshat, but I don’t like to be an asshat to boyfriend. I don’t particularly like to see him conflicted or upset, and I know that our squabbling over this one particular subject does just that. That’s why every really nasty blog post on the subject has been hastily removed once common sense kicks back in.

Really, I don’t want to spend the next year or so constantly squabbling over this issue. It’s damaging to everyone involved. Besides, my inability to play nicely with a select number of his friends is the one glaring flaw boyfriend can find with me, and I’m loathe to having any detectable flaws, period.

That’s why, in a startling burst of maturity and benevolence (it shocked the fucking hell out of me, too), I spent all day long with Evil Archnemesis this past weekend. Was I planning on it? No. Was I happy about it? No. Did I give even the slightest passive-aggressive indication of my less-than-thrilledness? Strangely, no. It was a challenge at first, but I did it – I was a model un-psychotic boyfriend.

I smiled, laughed, joked around, and generally was the happy, really cool Dr. Jekyll boyfriend that Lee usually sees and loves, rather than the Mr. Hyde boyfriend the world witnesses and boyfriend does not love when I’m not pleased with things.

We all cooked a big ol’ dinner together, played ridiculous little games on her Wii all afternoon, and settled down to play board games later that night…even though I’d gone over with the understanding that boyfriend and I would be cooking dinner together, eating, and snuggling in his bedroom watching an Alias marathon.

And wonder of wonders…after the first little bit, I didn’t have to pretend to be enjoying myself. Once the surprise of our day being completely uprooted wore off (if you haven’t noticed, like Janet – Miss Jackson if ya nasty – I’m a bit of a control freak and don’t like changes of plans unless I’m the one to make the changes), I actually had fun.

It felt friggin’ great to honestly get along with the Evil Archnemesis, too. I’m pretty sure boyfriend was shocked beyond speechless, and knowing that he was pleased we got along warmed the frigid little cockles of my heart. All told, it was a red letter day and quite possibly marked a new level of maturity, class, and grace pour moi.

So what’s the problem with all this? Well, since we’re all friends now, I was informed tonight she’s decided to reschedule her Thanksgiving holiday. Now, instead of boyfriend and I having a nice holiday dinner with our mutual good friends, we’re having Thanksgiving dinner with our mutual good friends and her. I got along with her for six hours, folks. Now I have to get along with her for a whole friggin’ day. That’s big. That’s jumping into the deep end of the pool. That’s learning to drive stick on a mid-eighties Lamborghini. When it comes to this new-found human decency and playing-nicely thing, it’s a little beyond the baby-steps progress I’m comfortable with.

Obviously, this is the universe’s way of tormenting me and reminding me that I’m not meant to be a nice guy.

Dear UPS Driver…

You are a nasty little shit-stain and I hate you. You were supposed to be here this morning. It’s very cold here in Phoenix today, and since my boyfriend’s roommate is finally out of our hair for the weekend, I was supposed to go to his place and stay buried in a pile of blankets all afternoon.

Thanks to your tardiness, I’m instead sitting at home on my couch with just my laptop and a cup of coffee to keep me warm. I am fully clothed. My boyfriend is waiting patiently at his place. I keep wondering what underwear he is wearing. Continue reading

Can You Hear Me Now???: In which Zach, like J. Lo, gets loud

Because so many of you have emailed me regularly asking for status updates on the LUSH job, I suppose one very last entry is due. Turns out, folks, that the job was mine. It was so mine, in fact, that I would have had to absolutely bomb the floor trial to lose it.

As we know, though, the job is not mine. So what happened? Especially since I killed the floor trial? Continue reading

Serious Insanity, Resolved

Dear Kari,

Thank you for considering my application for your Manager-in-Training position. It was a pleasure to meet you during our initial interview and to work alongside you and your staff for the follow-up floor interview. I have been and remain a fan of LUSH products and wish you well with your final hiring decision.

Best Regar–

— no. Wait. Scratch that. Back up. Continue reading

Note to LA Fitness Manager S. Chisholm

Dear Sam,

Thank you for the generous tour of your facility this afternoon. I was very impressed with the fitness floor itself; the machine area and particularly the free weight room were both spacious and well equipped, and the locker room was clean and perv-free. All very commendable.

What I was not as impressed by, however, was the rapid tailspin your friendly, buddy-buddy attitude took the precise moment I explained that I wasn’t ready to commit to your membership deal. While a $149.00 initiation fee, plus $49.99 fees for first and last months’ membership isn’t an outrageous sum to pay for quality fitness, the schoolyard bully attitude you exhibited when I said ‘thank you, but I really need to check out several other facilities before I make a decision’ was outrageous. Continue reading