I’ll take a kennel over a cubicle any day.

A year ago this week, I started a new job at Mega Corporate Behemoth. On my first day, I sat alone for 15 minutes in the lobby, waiting for my manager to fetch me. She was late because she had to stop for coffee. Because coffee was a higher priority.

I should have paid attention to the signs and run screaming from the building.

I have a friend who once took a new employee out for lunch on her first day. The newbie ordered an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, paid for by her new employer – and then never showed back at the office after lunch. Or ever.

My friend was horrified, but in a way, I admire that kind of moxie. Especially since sometimes, there are really obvious clues that a gig is not a good fit. See also: my first-day lunch at Mega Corporate Behemoth, wherein my boss and her harpy lieutenant invited me to dine, then ignored me and my attempts to join the conversation.

I was so unhappy in that job. Even thinking about it a year later makes me sad.

However, things are better.

I only had to sit in my Cube of Despair for 2 months until I was canned. That was a blessing.

In my next, equally boring but way-nicer gig at Globotron, I relearned that yes, there are nice people in Corporate America. I actually made friends. I also learned once and for all that I am not meant to be a cube dweller.

When My Guy and I agreed that I needed to say goodbye to Corporate America for good, he had 3 stipulations:

  • Be happier.
  • Don’t feel guilty.
  • For the love of all that is holy, no more dogs.

Well, 2 outta 3 ain’t bad.

I’m still struggling with the guilt. I don’t bring in the cash that I used to. And how could I possibly be a productive member of society when I’m unshowered and wearing yoga pants? Yoga pants with dirty paw prints on them?

I’m also struggling with how to describe myself, or explain what I do. My friends ask how things are going, and I’m at a loss, except to say, “Great!” and change the subject.

I’m kind of being a housewife and kind of being a writer. And I’m toying with calling myself an artist instead of a writer, because people expect artists to be a little crazy and defy description. What kind of writer can’t even find the words to describe herself? But an artist? Well, that’s different.

Here’s what I know: I have 3 dogs curled up under my desk and a giant canine noggin resting on my foot. A dachshund is snoring. I am blessed.

A little frustrated at my difficulty in figuring it all out. But blessed.

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  • Reply Gary's third pottery blog June 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    THREE! We had 3 dogs for a long time 🙂 A pack! I tell the wife the same thing, since was sh!tcanned not long ago: be HAPPY in the next job, priority ONE.

  • Reply Patience_Crabstick June 6, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Writing is an art, so why not?

    I would love to escape from my cube of despair, even though most of the people I work with are nice. Staying in the cube earns a safe income, but am I wasting my life away? I admire you for breaking out of the cube.

  • Reply Anonymous June 6, 2013 at 11:32 am

    in my opinion, as long as you're happy, then that's all that matters. if i didn't love what i do, i would not stay in it; life is too short to be stuck doing something you hate and it sure makes it hard to get out of bed every day.

    and you're totally right — there are douchebags AND nice folks in The Conglomerate; i've worked with both and my current team is the best. although i'm at a huge company, it's like a family in my department. every day at lunch, we all sit at the lunch table; this includes executives (the director, SVP and CIO) and we talk/laugh about things. sometimes we're so loud that people come by to ask us to keep it down but then they see the SVP and CIO sitting there and they just walk right on by LOL.

    so i agree; who you work with makes a huge impression on how well you like your work environment.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin June 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    An artist with warm feet, thanks to your daily companions…

  • Reply sherilee June 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I believe there are times in your life–and time enough in your life–to do a variety of things. Cube life can suit for some times, places, and situations; at other times, get the heck out. I've done both, and each have pros and cons…

    It took me years to get comfortable with my identity as a stay-at-home. And as soon as I did, I got sucked back into the cube. Ha. Irony, perhaps, but I know a day will come when I'll be post-cube again…

    Hang in there and enjoy those pups!

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) June 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I like the first two of your guy's rules. The third one is negotiable.

    When we moved here almost 2 years ago, my husband was newly retired and pushing 48. He usually enjoys telling people he is retired. (They usually respond by asking what he'll do next.)
    So perhaps you want to tell folks that you are retired, and then when they ask what you plan to do next, you can discuss writing or ____ or ____.

    In the meantime, I've had my own crisis of not knowing what to say or do, because my SAHM gig has nearly run out (thanks in part to the retired husband hanging around the house).

  • Reply Mrs. G. June 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I think you should refer to yourself as a "Virtuoso" just because I like the word and I doubt you'd get many follow up questions.

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