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The Point: Working Girl: laziness and workplace ennui

Published: December 7, 2007
Section: Opinions


I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that I am very, very lazy—at least, it won’t to the people who write us letters like “DEAR EDITOR: WHY DOES EMMA NEEDLEMAN HATE THE POLICE?!?” (just kidding—love you, guys!). Anyway, the point is that I hate doing work. Of any kind. I hate schoolwork, I hate housework, I’ve hated every job I’ve ever had. In some ways, I’m glad I’m not like the obsessed perfectionists I see in the library freaking out about “procrastinating” every time they go to the bathroom or sleep for more than one consecutive hour, but I also wish I could stop watching my suitemates play “Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock ” long enough to actually do my reading.

My hatred of work gives me a certain level of anxiety about my future, so I scheduled an appointment at the Hiatt Center to talk to one of the counselors. I just wanted to discuss summer internships and how to pretend I have professional references, but the (helpful, kind) secretary told me that I had to take an online personality test in order to have a meeting with a counselor. Well, okay. I took it and apparently I am an INFP (I don’t know what it means either). Then I met with the (helpful, kind) counselor and we talked about my results. She told me about some career fields I might be interested in and took me to the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ website. By the way, their site totally sucks. You’d think it would have sick graphics and stuff, but I guess they were too busy sexualizing children to spruce up their HTML.

My meeting wasn’t bad by any means—the Hiatt people are nice and I recommend going to see them if you have questions—but I still felt somewhat unsatisfied. Advertising? Technical writing? Is that all there is? High school Teachers and guidance counselors tell you that if you work hard enough, you’ll graduate and someone will give you a job because you were good and listened to everything the Man had to say, and I still see students who believe it. I mean, those students are probably better hires than me—they have firm handshakes and spend their time studying and not drawing cartoon alligators—but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up trapped in a cubicle with a novelty mug. Workplace ennui is everywhere, from the girls folding shirts at the Gap to entertainment lawyers in L.A.

Two of my friends are starting a band. They play guitar and sing Beatles’ songs. Right now, all they’ve managed to work out is the first verse of “Blackbird,” but I like to watch them practice. They’ll probably never make a penny off of their music, but they put their heart and soul into it. It’s an old cliché that as long as you have something like a Beatles cover band to keep you occupied, it doesn’t matter what your job is. I don’t know if I believe it, but it’s something to think about when I’m not doing my homework.