Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Feb 05

Workin’ in a coal mine, going down down down. Metaphorically.

Blergh. I just spent ages typing the most self-indulgent, weaksauce post about work angst that you have ever seen. Imagine if a 14-year-old whose parent was a shrink had a Livejournal had a demanding corporate job where she was sometimes criticized, and worked through her feelings by writing awful poetry about it on the internet. It was like that.


“Meets expectations.”
Why not just kick my teeth in?
So much more direct.

If hating feedback
Is a crime then lock me up!
But please be gentle.

Your opinion of
Me is now inked on my soul
Forever. So thanks. 

There once was a hedonist named C
Who loved to be creative and free
She was emotionally fragile as glass,
And the corporate world kicked her ass.
Now she cries at lunch in the lactation room on floor three.

You get the point. But I won’t post it, because I like you and I don’t want you to suffer. And becuse it made me sound like a douchecanoe.

I’ll just share the denouement, which is easily expressed without all the whiny shit: I cannot abide being criticized! If people don’t love me completely, I think they hate me — and not only that, but that I am inherently, entirely hate-worthy, and everyone can tell!

I understand that some people can hear criticism of themselves and their work, thoughtfully consider it, and pick and choose which elements to internalize. Have you heard of these people? Have you ever seen one? Please send pics ASAP. And ask them if they like me, or LIKE me like me, or just respect my work. I need them to pick at least two or I get weepy.

As my boyfriend Tony Hoagland says in a poem I love very much:

There are some people, unlike me and you,
who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money as
unattainable as that moon;
thus, they do not later
have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.
Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha

Guess who was skulking outside Starbucks before six this morning because I woke up at four a.m. worried that I would not be ready for my eight a.m. meeting? It’s like there are poems ABOUT ME. Or not. Whatever.

To paraphrase a friend of mine who has had the misfortune to hear me discuss my work angst at length: “I hope your literary or stage career or something takes off soon, because hearing you spouting corporate jargon is so weird and creepy that I kind of feel sick when you do it.”

Thank you!

Today, the copy of Personal MBA that I ordered for myself so I could sound smarter in meetings arrived. I’d forgotten that I ordered it, and the fact that I was excited when it arrived made me think I may also be forgetting who I actually am.

So, to untangle these two messages: mediocre review makes Ciara sad. Yet a few work things and some work people make Ciara happy, occasionally. Or as happy as one can be in a building one must badge into twice (at a minimum.)



On a  completely different note, I saw Marc Maron perform last weekend. He was fabulous, as always, and his warm-up guy, Mike Lawrence, was hilarious as well. He tested pickup lines on the audience, and this is my favorite, which I have repeated 157 times in the past three days:

“I’m bisexual, so I’m straight enough to notice a beautiful woman, but gay enough to treat her like a human being.”


In other news, my apartment is a wreck and every day I have big plans to post something here and every day I fail. Maybe dislodging this bit of work phlegm will clear the way.

 Please forgive me for that last turn of phrase. To help clear your mind, enjoy this picture of the boots I bought myself as (partial) consolation for my (apparently obvious) mediocrity. I will be well above average height, at least.
DV Hal Bootie

8 Responses to “Workin’ in a coal mine, going down down down. Metaphorically.”

  1. asplenia says:

    I’m the same way — I have such a hard time with criticism. Maybe it’s not you, maybe your place is just really shitty. I was lamenting similar things in counseling recently and my counselor asked about my history and usual experience, which made me understand that my experience now may be more tied to the institution & particular people than me.

    The worst part about the soul-crushing job is that you don’t have energy afterwards for the dreams that may lift you out of there one day. I haven’t figured a workaround for this yet but I am determined to try. <3

  2. asplenia says:

    ps. thank you for that poem. LOVE.

  3. Melospiza says:

    Hey, a Hilarity in Shoes post! The day can’t be all bad, then, can it?

    Thought #1: The fact that I tend to gravitate like silt toward the sorts of jobs where “constructive feedback” is lacking – which are coincidentally not often “career building” or “rewarding” or “well-paying” – well, this fact is probably responsible for the very things that bug me most about my chosen life path. Dammit!

    Thought #2: I find I do much prefer implied to actual feedback.

    Thought #3: This makes it much easier to maintain fantasies of myself as Heading in the Right Direction.

    Hmm. I seem to have lost track of my point. Summary: I hear you, sister. Also, at low points I find it helpful to ask myself if this critiqued action is likely to lead to me getting beheaded. No? Well, then. Not so bad, in the broader scheme of things, right?

  4. Nicole says:

    Those boots are hot. So very hot. I want a pair.

    Once I got a work review that said in a particular area I was a 2 out of 5. I almost burst into tears right during my performance review.

  5. MJ says:

    I work for myself pretty much only for the reason of avoiding criticism from others. (I get enough of that from me, yo.) I feel you.

  6. YOU POSTED ON THE INTERNETS! I do not think those people you talked about exist, FYI. I am all of the love/hate duality. Mostly hate.

  7. Lindsay says:

    I once had a work review that told me that I don’t say “no” enough and as a result I take on more than I should… Ummm, well if I said no more often then I’d have about 7.5 hours of free time in my work day to surf the internets, as opposed to the 6 hours I currently have to screw around during any given work day. I think it was a way of them saying “hey, your minimal work and saying yes is making the rest of us look bad, so stop”. SAD.

    But then I quit my fancy job and gave up my salary, moved back in with my parents, and occasionally walk dogs and pet sit cats to earn a few duckets to buy myself a meal out on the town. Can’t buy fancy shoes anymore, but I’m immensely happier. And I get to lounge in a hammock in the backyard on sunny days in the summer, whenever I want to. And read books. Yes, I gave up my material possessions, but it was worth it.

    Corporate America is a soul sucker.

  8. rooth says:

    Blergh indeed – I do hate mediocre feedback as well but actually do appreciate constructive feedback. It just very seldomly sounds constructive and more often sounds mean – boo to those assholes

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