yours, tiramisu

how do i help future Me?

It's 7PM on a Thursday today, and I'm feeling that familiar itch of wanting to go out and make something of my day but also feeling hesitant from not having a plan nor much time. Am I so old that going out at 7PM feels too late? Seeing as I'm still here writing, I guess so.

Recently I've been thinking about something I read a long time ago about doing things to help your future self, and in tough weeks like this one it's a thought that helps me out a lot. For example, I definitely could have gone out right now and wandered until 10 or so, but what would future misu appreciate? Fortunately for him, my better judgment won today, and I stayed in to meal prep, clean, read, write, and get an early night. Another thing future misu appreciates is opting to continue working when I start crying instead of lying in bed to do it (a crazy productive hack, by the way—I get so much more work done this way). My bed is definitely the most comfortable place for a good hard cry, but future misu won't be very comfortable getting yelled at by his boss, so I do him as many favors as I can. (I hear he doesn't have it easy either.)

Work has been difficult recently, to put it mildly. I am currently going through, without a shadow of a doubt, the most trying times of my life thus far. Since I got to college I knew I'd lost my way and gotten out of touch with the things that set my heart aglow, but the easiest thing to do then was to follow the path set out for me: go to class, get good grades, graduate, get a job. Now, I feel like all the checks I cashed for motivation have bounced, and I'm left footing a huge credit card bill from all the times I ignored my gut for the past few years. Some days just getting out of bed feels like a major accomplishment. The cold, hard reality of pushing myself to do work I dislike day in, day out is slowly but surely crushing what's left of my soul.

When I worked at a small startup abroad the winter days were short enough for me to watch the sun rise and set from my desk in the office. I worked forty-five, fifty hours a week then, and I detested the work. It was mind-numbingly boring and isolating, and between tasks I fantasized about jumping out of the window. On my lunch break I'd climb a tree with my lunchbox to eat, holding on to my precious singular hour of daylight as tightly as I could. I think I took for granted how good I had it then. At least there I had the weekends and the end of the internship to look forward to.

I read mei's most recent post yesterday, and she asks herself if she'll ever like a job enough to be more than an Operator for. This is a question I ask myself a lot, except in my case I'm pretty sure that job exists—the real question is whether I can find it (or whether it's financially prudent to do so). I've felt in my flow state in a few roles (none of them professionally, it must be said): as a product manager overseeing development teams in a student organization, as a private tutor teaching Spanish and English, and as a violist and a pianist in orchestra. Of these three, only the first seems plausibly within reach given my background, current position, and desire for financial stability, but fear paralyzes me. What do I even do to get to where I want to be? What if I fail and never get there, or even worse, get there and realize I don't like it there either? What then?

The Bain & Company quiz also tells me I am an Operator, much to the surprise of absolutely nobody, I'm sure. I always find it very funny that companies still use GPA as a meaningful metric in recruitment, because I am the world's worst employee, yet an excellent student by any metric. If you put all my teachers and my employers in one room to discuss me, they would probably not think they were talking about the same person. School misu is engaged, curious, and successful, because he enjoys learning for the sake of learning, and can get help when he needs it. Work misu is indifferent, antisocial, and unhappy, because he can't see the point of his tasks. It's what makes intrinsic motivation preferred to extrinsic motivation, no? At school I study to learn and do well, but in my job I work for my paycheck and nothing more.

I learned today that the reason a coworker stopped responding to my messages on Teams was because he was charged with second-degree murder. I still can't wrap my head around the news, because he was always nice to me. I hope he gets the help he needs. The whole situation reminds me of this Calvin & Hobbes comic I always reference with my mom when she questions my odd hobbies. I tell myself sometimes that I still have a lot to be grateful for, which is simultaneously comforting and disturbing, because, all things considered things could be a lot worse, bu—wait a minute, things could get worse?!? image

P.S. Support your local unions and workers on strike! It seems like UPS workers are on the verge of striking. There's no war but class war, dear comrades ✊

thank you for reading; write to me at yourstiramisu 🐌 proton dot me

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