It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a college degree is in want of a job.
But the job we eventually find is rarely the job we want. We begin our “real world” indoctrination at a sub-par job and, as a consequence, learn workforce etiquette in less than ideal conditions.
We learn that we are wage slaves, that the boss owns our time. Time cards are our shackles and cubicles are our prisons.
We learn that it doesn’t matter that our family members died, our pets are missing, our cars are out of gas, or that our best friend has cancer. As soon as we clock in, we cease being a whole person.
One we walk in the door, we are split. We put on a mask. We are forced to pretend that we are just absolutely spiffed to be there, lest we get fired and the money we depend on dry up.
In school, your friends and (sometimes) teachers will sympathize with your situations. Your boss, however, could not care less. You are bought–you are a product, a pawn, and if you do not perform well, you will be punished.
People in the workforce are used to this atmosphere. But school kids are not. They must painfully transition from a world in which they are encouraged to succeed into a world in which they are expected to perform like a trained monkey.
The degree of respect for their talents and smarts is gone. They are left floundering, uncertain of how to behave, of how to split their very soul into two parts: the person they are and the painted porcelain of a flawless employee.
It’s sitting alone in a car, curled in a ball, feeling utterly sad for no apparent reason. It’s hiding away from everyone who knows you because you’re suddenly convinced that they no longer care.
It’s me, right now.
The worst bit is how I know it’s all in my head, but I can’t stop the tidal wave of sad. The second to worst bit is how I can’t tell anyone because they’ll just sigh and say something dismissive.
Depression doesn’t make sense. It isn’t rational. You can’t reason it away.
I know that the world will turn and I will eventually be happy again. A few days, maybe, or a few hours from now, I will feel better.
I just hate that I feel myself on this terrifying downward spiral and I can’t seem to do anything to reverse it.
I learned a very valuable lesson that I’m going to share. It’s about workplaces, freedom of speech, and social media.
The lesson is this: when it comes to work, you don’t have freedom of speech.
But isn’t that a constitutional right?
Yes, yes it is. But that doesn’t seem to matter to employers much when they fire your ass for saying something stupid on facebook or twitter.
There are some laws in place that prohibit employers from firing you over stuff you said, but that’s all conditional. You have to have been talking negatively about work in an attempt to improve conditions in order for the laws to protect you.
Talking about how much you hate your job isn’t covered, sorry.
I also learned (the hard way) that bosses read into your statuses. I posted a generic statement (that I won’t be repeating here) that didn’t contain the business name in any way, shape, or form. It was a true statement, applicable to all places of business, that (I thought) reflected poorly on consumers everywhere and not specific to the business I work for.
I was very nearly fired for it.
Moral of the story: don’t post about work on social media at all. And, as an added precaution, maybe you should set your stuff to “private” and then also not befriend your boss. Just in case.