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I‘ve been bad at a lot of jobs. There was the first time my Mum asked me to put the bins out for instance. Being a rather young chap with no experience or qualifications for the role, I literally went to where the bins were and took out the bin bags one by one. My mum woke up the next morning to find about 12 plastic bags of rubbish all over the garden. So it is fair to say I started young in my mis-adventures of bad jobness (and bad spellingness).
It didn’t necessarily improve as I got older either. Recently I talked about rushing to a job interview when my car suddenly broke down, despite that, I did in fact get that job. Congratulations! You get to do 12 hour nightshifts at a local factory – but not just any factory, the best factory in town!*.
My job was to apply a small plastic sticker within some lines on little metal boxes. A simple job, but I was reminded quite regularly that my inability to stick a sticker within some lines was costing the company thousands. I of course, argued that lines were a figurative construct of the machine in order to contain us and control us. That without expansion and simultaneous adjustments to the meta, a new perspective on human development could never be achieved. Our creative outlets cannot and must not be suppressed without dire subcultural consequences – I say there are no lines, there are only limits we willing impose on ourselves, like birds closing the door to their own cage. He said there are lines and I need to put the stickers in between them.
We parted company shortly afterwards.
Then there was the time I wrote copy for my universities marketing material, after 2 months in job they sent me for, and paid for an expensive test to check for dyslexia, because my writing was that bad. I wouldn’t describe the mood in the office so much as relief when the results came back that I wasn’t dyslexic, it was more something along the lines of disbelief.
Naturally I took all these setbacks onboard and did precisely nothing about it.
There is a good reason for this. I never truly believed I was bad at the jobs, I was of course, doing a bad job, but that does not speak for my capability to do a good job. I can write well and, I’m not trying to being immodest here, I can also stick stickers inside lines too. I do still struggle putting the bins out though. The garden is a mess*. The point is, I just never cared enough about the jobs to put in 100% effort, or even 43% in most cases.
I’m disheartened today. Disheartened because I am not very good at my current job. I am a private teacher and whilst no one has told me that I’m bad directly, they have given me more signals than one of those air traffic controllers with those funny table tennis bat things. I will be honest and say it is hard to disagree with them either, I am not qualified for the job and I am certainly not naturally talented enough to intuitively improve. In the past I knew I could do better, but with this job I don’t think that is true, at least not without proper training.
Each day I fight the voices of mental illness who are trying to fill me with self-doubt and insecurity. I’ve learned over the years that these voices happen whether it is true or not, So I now pay no heed. Today though, the voices seemed to be get a lot of validation. They’re getting the validation from other people, inferring that I am insufficient in my role. So I feel a sense of resigned guilt, depressed even. I will of course try harder, but I just know this industry isn’t where my skills lie.
There is hope though, there is a silver lining, and that is Donald Trump. He is my canary down the mine, if someone that bad at a job can still keep their job, and a significant one at that, then I know I’ll be OK. Although that now puts me in a position where I have an incentive for him to stay in power. I’m oh-so conflicted, not to mention tomorrow is bin day. Uh-oh.
*Thats not true, I actually don’t have a garden, I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment block.