Ah, the weightless fulfillment of full-time work! After four years of contracting and freelancing, a temporary yet full-time position with a local employer has been rapturously simple. When you spend so many months in self-employment land, a numbness to the pressure of the juggling act slowly seeps into your mind, dulling but not eliminating the swirling, colliding to-do lists and goals.
From the first day I set foot in the artificially lit, cubicle-laden office in November, I could feel the burden of self-employment being silently peeled off of me. How wonderful it can feel to have a solution to empty days—an agent of deeply relaxing, frivolous weekends. I had forgotten (had I ever really known?) about the freedom of a full-time job.
It is the freedom to feel that what you’re doing is enough, and that the time when you are not at work is truly your own to do with what you like. Although my current work is not forever, it bears with it the reminder that the demands of a job are not necessarily infinite—requirements do not always span across weekends and week nights and complicated client lists.
I’ve written a poem that attempts to capture the funny reality of office work—the wonderful security, the comfortableness, the predictability, the prosaic simplicity that is both wonderful and completely absurd.
The Good Water Back and forth behind my cubicle door strangers silently trudge over the grey carpeted floor to a grouping of items that calls out homey comfort with drippers and chillers and brewers at alert. They come to heat and fill and rinse at the sink. They like to say hello, but mostly they drink. Because it’s well known through office chatting and fodder that this spot in the corner’s got superlative water. This clear-bodied stuff doesn’t cure boredom or depression. It won’t make you tingle or laugh. The good water doesn’t taste special or splendid. It’s not bubbly or sparkly, not served by carafe. It comes out of a machine that’s plugged into the wall. Push a button or two and it fills your glass tall. When examined up close, the difference is miraculously small. It’s just a bit colder and warmer, that’s all. ###