I Quit my Job during Lockdown
I know! It sounds like a reckless decision. A lot of people lost their jobs because of COVID and I willingly gave mine up? No, I don’t have a trust fund. And yes the job was that bad?
In December 2019 I was desperately searching for a job that I could do temporarily and all I found was a call center customer service position. It was predictably dull, boring and repetitive and my team was made up of supervisors, managers and other hierarchical positions who were all drunk on the tiny speck of power they had within the corporate system. I’m an artist. I mostly act and write and direct films. It can sometimes happen that there aren’t any paid positions available in my field and I therefore have to search outwards for a “normal” job in order to make ends meet.
As someone from a creative environment looking in on the corporate culture and other such office like environments, I’m always shocked at how much the people in positions of responsibility tend to abuse that power. Every time! These low skilled job positions have been so difficult to endure because of how much abuse one must put up with on a daily basis. No-one does their job with too much pride, with a few exceptions. Therefore, there are things that go wrong daily such as customer complaints or the sales targets not being met. During such meetings everyone blames each other and the truth speakers are quickly shut down and threatened. I was threatened weekly if not daily that I would lose my job if I didn’t keep my head down and stopped acting all “smart”.
When the pandemic hit and we started working remotely, I was still being controlled with such severity that if I took an extra minute peeing in my own bathroom, my supervisor would want to chat with me privately to warn me about maintaining the break minutes exact or… else! My colleagues and I would never speak frankly to each other because if we did, since we only had a chat room, the screen may be shared and there was a strong sense of mistrust so… we all kept our opinions to ourselves. Except for me which is why I ended up having to quit the job. It’s toxic and asphyxiating to force someone to be less “clever”, less “astute”, less “of an independent thinker”,less “of a person” and want to only take him/her as an obedient “employee”. Argh…
It’s humbling for me when I have to resort to a “day job” because I understand the real reasons for the general sense of depression and anxiety in the world. Most of the population works jobs they hate for long hours and are “told off” by some power hungry minion that’s very good at following orders and crushing people’s spirit so they’ll work faster and harder…. It sounds like something George Orwell would write.
I’m ashamed that we are allowing this to happen. I wish I had an answer but I don’t, except for this:
It’s worth losing the job! It’s safer to be fired than to forget who you are. It’s healthier to respect yourself rather than live in constant fear. Most of the current businesses out there in the world rule their employees on low wages and hard conditions with fear as their all powerful tool.
We all need money to survive. But guess what? So do these companies. And just like totalitarian regimes have collapsed around the world in the name of free speech and intellectual liberty so will the companies that treat their employees like an algorithm. And keep in mind that they hide their employees’ unhappiness behind “humane” branding and bullsh*t “employee satisfaction questionnaires” which are sent to each employee’s email address rather than be anonymous thereby employing the fear factor again. There is no personal respect or free speech in these office buildings.
Most of the low skilled job occupants don’t really have a tendency to come out and express their unhappiness because they feel stuck, depressed and unworthy. Their confidence is so low they daren’t think anyone would listen to them. But at least there’ll always be broke artists such as myself infiltrate these hellish places that can write about them and shed a light on them in a truly humane way. I empathize with all the people who work excruciating jobs and feel like there’s no way out. In my case, I prefer to struggle with lack of money instead of struggling with lack of self esteem and empathy. Anyway, there you have it straight from the horse’s, I mean, artist’s mouth, “better broke than broken!”