If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t get into bed each night looking forward to going to “work” in the morning. Every week starts with the Monday Morning Blues, and by Friday you’re seeing red. Then you spend every minute of your downtime daydreaming about giving your two weeks’ notice, cleaning out your desk, maybe setting your office building on fire, and starting a new life doing... well, just doing whatever it is that would make you happy.
I’m here to tell you that you can. You can quit your job. You can be true to yourself and your bliss. Eventually, depending on what your particular bliss is, you might have to answer to legal authorities or civil lawsuits, but that possibility should not stop you from at least meeting your desires halfway!
Let me share my own story: For ten long, frustrating years I worked for a flower company. I’m not a florist, though. I didn’t work with any actual flowers. I worked at the headquarters of a corporation with a toll-free number that people can call to order flowers over the phone. My job was to write about flower arrangements that people could order. I was given photographs of the arrangements so I could describe them in words like “beautiful” and “colorful.” I never even had flowers on my desk!
The people I worked with were not bad people. I liked some of them, and they seemed to like me. They seemed to trust me, anyway. When their wallets and purses began disappearing from their desks and coats, they certainly didn’t suspect me! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself....
You see, when I wasn’t writing about flower arrangements, I was writing short stories. I really enjoy writing short stories! I find writing short stories to be rewarding... only not financially. Nobody pays for short stories these days. So I wasn’t about to quit my day job to be a fiction writer! But I wrote this one story about a man (“Brian”) who works in an office with people who like him and trust him, and then “Brian” starts stealing his co-worker’s wallets and purses... and it occurred to me that I could try that. And once I’d tried it, I found that I enjoyed stealing wallets and purses from my co-workers even more than I enjoyed writing short stories, and stealing wallets and purses was financially rewarding. Win/win, as people say.
Eventually, even though my co-workers liked me and trusted me, someone must have actually seen me stealing a wallet or purse from a co-worker’s desk or coat, and I was called into Human Resources to explain my actions. When I explained that I simply enjoyed stealing wallets and purses—true passion is impossible to deny!—I was informed that the “matter” was being turned over to the police and that my employment was terminated, effective immediately. So I didn’t even have to give notice! (If you’re wondering: I did not receive a Bonne Chance Bouquet® [$39.99, Small; $49.99, Large] after my exit interview.)
Now, even though I was suddenly “out of a job,” I was hardly sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. Just the opposite, in fact. While I was waiting to hear from somebody about whether criminal charges would be pressed, I continued to steal wallets and purses—only from people I didn’t work with—wherever I could get my hands on wallets and purses—coffee shops, libraries, doctor’s offices. Eventually, I did get a visit from a police detective, and I was later arrested and arraigned, and I am currently awaiting trial, but even if I’m convicted of some of the hundreds of counts of larceny in the complaint against me, that just means I’ll get to enjoy some well-deserved R&R—restitution and relaxation—and on the State’s dime!
But that’s my story. I encourage you to write your own. Ask yourself what it is that you would do if you didn’t have to go to an office for nine hours a day, five days of every week, fifty weeks each year. If it’s making birdhouses, be a birdhouse builder. If you just can’t get enough of poisoning rodents, be a rodent poisoner. If committing insurance fraud brings you joy, be an insurance fraudster! Just do what you love, for as long as you can, until you are required to repay your debt to society. Trust me: You might not regret it!
Next month’s column: What Color Is Your Jumpsuit?
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.