Things I Wrote This Week: Healthcare, Christian Veganism, Charleston, and Father’s Day

I’m trying to get in the habit of writing daily to improve my writing and get the creative juices flowing in my brain. In the past when I try to blog daily I end up quitting shortly afterwards. So, this time I’m going to just try to write something relatively quick daily… maybe something that was distracting me while meditating, or maybe a current event, or maybe something else. Regardless, if I keep up the practice I will post them as a blog post every week or so. These aren’t meant to be a completely thought out opinion or well formatted posts, they are just some thoughts going around in my head.

6/18/2015 – Health Care
I know I may lose my libertarian credentials for this view, but at this point I don’t really care. More and more my libertarian opinions are founded on the belief that libertarianism will bring the best life for the most people instead of some philosophical purity. If I have to muddy my libertarianism in order to make life better for others then so be it.

All other things being equal, I don’t have a problem with a tax-based single payer healthcare system in the United States. As much as the US likes to boast about being the best we are actually pretty shitty in most healthcare measurements. The VA system when I was in the military wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t worry about breaking my arm and going bankrupt. Young soldiers didn’t worry that their children would get an ear infection and die. Pregnant wives didn’t wonder if they could afford to see a doctor throughout the pregnancy. I see no reason why we can’t have a single-payer system in place that is supplemented by private practices.

I realize it will be imperfect. But our current system seems devastatingly imperfect. Particularly for people like me who don’t have a traditional life. My partner is paying for health insurance but is basically uncovered because most plans won’t cross state lines, and those that do cross state lines are prohibitively expensive. We might as well be crossing international borders. Hell, even if there wasn’t a tax based system it would be nice if there was a truly national healthcare system available. I just don’t understand why car insurance companies have figured out how to operate in both North Carolina and Oregon, but if I need to get pink eye looked at in Oregon I may be shit out of luck because my insurance is from California. We live in an online, international age but we still act like people only leave their homes for an annual vacation to a time share 200 miles away.

6/19/2015 – Christian Veganism

When God gave man dominion over the beasts of the earth (Genesis), was there any limits to this? Does this dominion mean that man can do whatever he wishes… own, cause pain, and even kill? Or does it mean that man is to care for the beasts of the earth?

I’ve seen this argument made to basically say God is okay with us eating animals for food unneccesarily. I’m not a Biblical scholar but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Christ seems to have wanted to minimize pain and suffering in the world. His message was one of love towards all, particularly those who can’t defend themselves. Maybe that doesn’t apply to animals, but I don’t see how God would be upset if we lived our lives in a way that minimized harm to animals as well.

Doesn’t the Bible also say that husband has dominion over the household and his wife? Does that mean that he can abuse and kill them as well? Maybe it is a different root word or my memory is wrong. It has been a while since I read up on this. Even if Biblical morality allows for eating animals, it seems like it is better if we don’t. Animals don’t exist simply for our pleasure.

6/20/2015 – Charleston
What happened in Charleston was a tragedy. It was a racist, terrorist act committed by a young adult who was indoctrinated and brain-washed. I’ve lived in South Carolina, I was engaged to a young woman from South Carolina, I have a little bit of insight into the culture there. There is certainly a pride in ignorance. Much of “Redneck Pride” and “Southern Pride” is about rejecting outside influence, placing tribe above all else, and racial segregation. As disgusting as the rebel flag is to many of us, the outside push for it to be removed from the SC statehouse is only going to make things worse. There is a strong current of belief in the south that all the poverty and problems are the fault of outsiders. They cling to their flag and what it means to them (sometimes racist, sometimes not) because it gives them a reason why things are bad. It is a corner of the US with a weak economy, a poor education system, and a theocratic view of government. It is no coincidence that poverty, obesity, abstinence only education, and harsh criminal penalties for marijuana all exist in the same place. There is little education available and a cultural resistance to what education can be found. There is a religious culture that views contraception as evil. I remember when my ex-fiancé wanted to get an Associates Degree at a Community College, her family freaked out and didn’t understand why she would ever want to leave her hometown (a hometown with three generations of family members living in trailers with no economic opportunities). I remember her father saying that he would never allow his daughters to date anyone who wasn’t white, though his son could date any race as long as he didn’t marry them or get them pregnant. A nice dash of sexism with your racism. He swore he wasn’t racist, just that the races mixing was unnatural… “like cats and dogs fucking”.

Regardless, the outside pressure is going to make things worse. It is going to make those in poverty believe that outsiders are trying to destroy their way of life. And maybe outsiders are, I’m all for the destruction of terrible institutions and cultures. But I will be very surprised if this outside pressure through petitions and phone calls and viral videos of  rebel flag burnings is going to bring about anything fruitful. Like it or not, if you want the rebel flag to come down the culture of the region needs to change on its own, or you will have to send in men with guns to force it.

6/21/2015
Today is Father’s Day. A hallmark holiday with good intentions, buy like many good intentions meant for universal distribution it often has some negative side effects. Those who have suffered the most often bear the worst of it. A child whose father was abusive, absent, or just a shit-head are forced to be surrounded by happy children celebrating the paternal figure in their lives. Some are likely forced to make cards by well-meaning teachers who are unaware of the hurt and pain that these children experience at home. I think it is important to show love and caring and recognition to those in our lives who are good to us, but to force a universal standard upon children is a maneuver that will hurt many.

Adults on Father’s Day are better off, for they are adults and can handle more pain, but it can still be a day of sadness. Many are plagued by memories of betrayal, sexual abuse, or abandonment. While others long to be a father but can’t due to lacking a partner or physical inability. As ads flood our tv channels, radio waves, and online searches imploring us to “thank dad” many people have a spotlight shone on their pain.

Sure, Father’s Day (as well as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day) means well. But for some it hurts. That doesn’t mean those of us with loving fathers shouldn’t recognize those in our lives who have provided support, comfort, and guidance. But maybe, just maybe, we should be aware that our perspective is a limited one and not everyone feels the same.

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Dating Just to Date

My roommate and I found ourselves discussing dating for some reason tonight. It is a subject that comes up regularly, I think because nobody in this house really falls into the traditional model of dating. I was raised to believe that the purpose of dating was simply to find the “one and only” and served no purpose other than that. If you were with someone who you couldn’t see yourself with long-term (or forever) then you shouldn’t be with them… dating is a means to an end, and not an end itself. In my old age now I don’t think this is right for most people, particularly people in college and early career (or adventuring) phases.

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve dated a few people, been engaged once, and had friendships to varying degrees from bang-buddies to deep non-sexual friends. Sadly, there is a lot of pressure to settle for a person if you love them, even if there are important parts of your future plans that don’t align. We are told that things will just work out, which roughly translates to one of you will give up, give in, and possibly harbor resentment. It seems there must be a better way, I believe we should encourage dating just for dating sake.

The women I have loved have wonderful lives, probably in part because we broke up. But our relationships were not failed relationships. They involved two people who had adventures and experiences together, challenged each others beliefs, and had a lot of damn fun. I learned a lot about myself during that time, and because of those lessons I am a better partner now to my current lover. Dating should be a way to explore how you handle emotions, intellectual stimulation, new sexual experiences, and explore new cultures and environments. Maybe you find someone you can do that forever with, but more likely than not most of your relationships will end, but again, that doesn’t mean they are failures.

There are so many people in this world. There is no reason to settle quickly when your long-term goals don’t quite match up. If you want kids and your partner doesn’t it is better to enjoy the dating and end it when it is time to move on instead of abandoning the things that are important to you. Whether it is marriage itself, children, or your lifestyle choices you can find someone that matches up… and the search is a lot of fun.

If I could go back and talk to my past self I would encourage younger Peter to enjoy dating more, stop looking for “the one and only”, and look at each relationship as a success if you learned something from it or had great memories. There is no rush to lifelong partnership, in fact, it is all a journey… something to be enjoyed and experienced as fully as possible. And even if the person you are dating is a perfect match there is no rush to marry because there is a lot of life ahead of you. You can marry at 30 and still have plenty of kids or whatever else you want. Don’t rush younger Peter, enjoy the ride.

Expectations of Others

I’ve gone back and forth for a while about writing this blog but after a conversation I had today I think it is worth writing. Too many people have vented to me or asked how I deal with this topic that it makes me believe there might be others out there with this struggle. I certainly don’t have all the answers (or really any answers) but maybe sharing my experiences and thoughts can be of some help to others. So, these are my thoughts about dealing people who have expectations for how you should live your life and pressure you to abandon what makes you happy to do what they wish. In my life this was my mother so it will be from that point of view but it could really be any family member, friend, or mentor. (Spoiler: Things between my  mother and I are awesome right now).

Obviously I don’t know what it is like to be a parent but here is a quick run of my background so we are all on the same page. I am the oldest of six children and grew up mostly in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I never planned on leaving Gresham until I joined the army and saw some of the world. After the military I started college in South Carolina where my ex-fiance lived. She lived within a few miles of her parents, grandparents, and all her aunts… basically generation after generation stayed in the same area. Because I started college when I was 22 I had a little bit different perspective on it. After college I moved to Washington DC where I worked in a couple non-profits for a few years and then headed out west to Los Angeles where I live now. Currently, I am living with my partner and her best friend, and the three of us are leaving in April for a 18 month bicycle ride around the continent.

So… that’s me. During my life (particularly when I was in DC and now in LA) many people have come to me expressing frustration about the way they interact with their parents. I guess they come to me because I live my life so vocally and openly, and clearly did not stay in the traditional, Christian, conservative life that I thought I was going to.

The tension between my mother and I really started when it became clear that I wasn’t going to be moving back to Oregon. My mother had a vision of all of her children growing up in the same area, getting married, and all of our kids being best friends. She had expectations, unfair ones that involved other people that were not consulted. Even if you don’t have kids it is important to realize that you do not have control over other people, only yourself. Your emotions are yours and if you base your happiness on the lifestyle of someone else (particularly someone who you haven’t discussed things with) you will end up hurt almost every time.

Tension continued to mount between my mother and I. It seemed she took every decision I made as a personal attack on her. Sex before marriage, not moving back to Oregon, not being religious, deciding not to have kids… these were taken as an assault on her motherhood. She viewed herself as a bad mother (and thought I viewed her as a bad mother) because my life choices didn’t match up to her expectations. In truth, she was a wonderful and loving mother. I cannot imagine having anyone else raise me.

Sadly, the tension, anger, and resentment led to us rarely talking and I dreaded returning back to Oregon to visit. We both felt attacked by the other, we both couldn’t find a way to resolve the differences in our life. Even the act of visiting seemed to make things worse, no matter how long I visited (2 days, 5 days, a week, etc) it was never enough, she always wanted me around more and thought my desire to leave was because I didn’t want to be around them. In truth, the real reason was much simpler. I didn’t want to be back in Oregon because I didn’t really have friends there, the only activity going on at my home was watching tv, and missing work was incredibly costly for someone just starting out.

As time progressed it got to the point where any real communication that was happening would be through my sister or one of my brothers. The conversations my mother and I had were superficial at best and rarely broached any subjects of importance. It didn’t help matters that I was openly blogging about my “sinful” life at this time. (Lesson: Parents have a right not to know things about their adult children, but they also have a duty not to look for things… so if you have a blog don’t tell your parents or if you do give them fair warning of the content and encourage them not to follow it. My mother no longer follows my Facebook or blog). Neither one of us wanted the distance between us that we had but we didn’t know how to fix it.

I don’t know exactly when but things eventually started to get better. I think part of it was I stood my ground and got to the point where I had to be very forceful, even issuing an ultimatum that basically said “this is my life, if you want to be a part of it you can’t be trying to guilt me into things or use emotional blackmail to control my actions. You have one year to be angry, upset, and to question me about why I view things the way I do but after that year is up if you can’t accept who I am then our relationship is over.” Through the year we had fights and great discussions and we came out stronger in the end. Now we both respect that the paths our lives took are very different but we are both happy and there is not just one way to happiness. Our relationship isn’t perfect but it is healthier, happier, and for the first time in a while I look forward to visiting my family in Oregon.

I’m not sure why this tension seems to exist between parents and kids. Maybe it is compounded by the changes society is going through. Our generation is very comfortable communicating primarily through email, skype, and cell phones. We have seen pictures and videos of people all over the world and we want to visit. We have had study abroad opportunities and can connect with people from around the globe with the click of a button. We also seem less interested in committing to a life time of kids in a single relationship until we have explored the world more. We see an opportunity to have it all and see no reason to settle down until our 30′s or later (or ever). Life is to be lived, and for me that means new experiences instead of the path so many have already been… and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

PS: I will probably add more to this. I had a lot more ideas running through my head when I was biking today but some seem to have slipped away.

You Should Give As Good As You Get

This is going to be one of those “if you believe TMI exists and/or are related to me and uncomfortable with sexual information it may be time to close the tab” blog posts.

I follow a fair number of sex and relationship advice-givers on my Facebook feed and have noticed something interesting. About once or twice a week a “How to give a great blowjob!” post appears on my feed, but I have yet to see a “How to give good cunnilingus” ever appear. I’m not exactly sure why that is. I admit that with the exception of Dan Savage (who is gay and has a high book knowledge of vagina’s but has not had much personal experience with them) most sex and relationship columnists tend to be targeting women. I had a friend point out one Vice column about cunnilingus but personally I found it fairly unhelpful and seemed to be more for shock value than actual advice. So, after a pretty decent Facebook discussion and encouragement from a number of female friends (and my partner) I decided to write this post.

Big Huge Fucking Disclaimer: I won’t even begin to claim I have the answers for creating pleasure. I am one guy who has had a fair number of partners and I am comfortable with my oral skills. These tips and thoughts are based on my personal experiences and the contributions of my partners (past and present) and some friends that shared their thoughts with me privately. Every person is different and desires vary widely, what I talk about here may not actually be effective for others, these are just my personal experiences. I don’t know if any of my followers will find value in this, but I hope they do… if nothing else I hope it sparks conversation because talking and discussing things with your partner is the only way to guarantee everyone is satisfied, inside and outside the bedroom.

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In retrospect, I owe most of my base knowledge to a guy I met in Basic Training that we called “Romeo”. When word got around that I was a 19-year old virgin Romeo took me aside and felt the need to tutor me. He could have done all of this in front of the group to humiliate me but I think he genuinely wanted me to have some working knowledge of the vagina before my first real sexual experience. So, he told me things that I would have ideally learned from either sex ed or my father, how to bring sexual pleasure to my partner.

Some Basic Information: If your partner has a vagina and desires oral sex you really should give it. Approximately 75% of women cannot reach orgasm through penetration alone… that means there needs to be some clitoral stimulation at least. In my experience I have only had one partner that could orgasm off of penetration alone and she could also orgasm off of only nipple stimulation, so she was a rarity. So, if you look at your previous partners and most of them orgasmed just off of penetration either that is a statistical anomaly or you have been lied to. (Side note: Ladies, please don’t lie about having an orgasm. This does not do anyone any favors. If your partner cares about you they will want to make you happy and that requires honesty. It is better to temporarily bruise an ego than fill your time with less than satisfactory encounters.)

In my experience some partners can be nervous, uncomfortable, or apprehensive about receiving oral sex. From the discussions I’ve had this stems from false stereotypes about the vagina (men don’t like giving oral, it smells bad, etc) or past partners have been really bad and it has not been enjoyable. It is important to remember that for most guys bad sex is better than no sex, while the opposite is true for women where bad sex can be painful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. As with all new sexual things with your partner (or experiences with a new partner) it is good to move slowly in the beginning and communicate. All sexual acts should be consensual, and ideally that consent is enthusiastic. Communication really is key and the more comfortable everyone is beforehand the better. It should, and will, come naturally in the end. Oral sex is fucking awesome but remember, good relationships are GGG, and that second G means “giving equal time and equal pleasure”. There is no need to keep a scorecard of sexual acts but we all know when our partner has woken us up to oral sex or been the major pleasure recipient in a quickie, the last thing you want is for your partner to feel like they are being taken sexually for granted.

Alright, now for some basic anatomy… to be honest I wasn’t sure how basic I was going to get but I figured better be safe than sorry. One of my life motto’s is “The only thing I want more than my own orgasms is for other people to have orgasms” and it would be sad if a basic anatomy lesson prevented that. So, oral sex is mostly focused on the clitoris either directly or indirectly. As you can see in the picture below the actual clitoris is way, way, way more than the small glans above the vaginal, it is a web of nerves that extends all over the pelvic region. The “glans clitoris” is important and a major pleasure producing spot for most women but it is the tip of the pleasure iceberg for your partner, the nerves underneath the skin can (and should) be stimulated as well. Remember though, everyone is build differently and some woman are tip sensitive, some g-spot sensitive, some prefer light thrusting, some fast, some hard, some need to concentrate hard to orgasm, and for some it comes with little focus. All sex takes practice to get great and hopefully the following info will help you along the way.

Clitoris_anatomy_labeled-en

Warm Up: It is pretty unlikely that sex is going to begin with oral. In general, women need more warming up to be ready to receive oral. There is rarely a rush, so take your time. Start with kissing, touching, fondling. I find some over the clothes genital rubbing can really get things going, and trust me, it pays off in the end. To be blunt, oral sex can often take a lot of time and energy, the more you put into foreplay the easier giving your partner pleasure will be in the future. So, instead of rushing to the mouth banging take some time and treat each article of clothing as a new experience, every inch of new flesh can be a new place to explore with all your sense while you keep rubbing and playing with her body below the clothes. As a guy I know it feels good when I am still wearing boxers or shorts and I am being rubbed, in my experience that pleasure is similar for women.

Oral Sex: When it is time to begin your partner will likely be pretty moist. The actual level of fluid can vary significantly depending on your partner but hopefully if it is on either extreme (generally really dry or generally really wet) your partner will communicate this ahead of time. Often the vaginal folds will keep moisture in so it may take some play with your fingers to get to the vaginal opening. Use the natural fluid to make rubbing and touch less abrasive… just as it feels better to get a handjob with lube it feels better for the woman to have some moisture when playing with the clit. Once you begin playing you should use your hands/fingers and your mouth to provide a multiple stimulation.

Mouth/Tongue: For me the mouth is used primarily for clitoral stimulation but it starts as the primary tool. Kissing and licking along the inner thigh before you actually start with the vagina and clit can help build up pleasure through a bit of teasing. Again, there is no rush. Long, slow kisses from the bottom of the vaginal opening to the clit can be great stimulation. Once things are going the tongue focuses more on the clit itself by hardening and rubbing against it horizontally and vertically. A decent trick is to use your mouth to “draw” each letter of the alphabet, this provides seemingly random stimulation but keeps things going. If you find your tongue gets tired fairly quickly you can exercise that muscle by daily moving your tongue horizontally 100 times and vertically 100 times. Some partners may also enjoy it if you press your lips down around the clit and hum, causing vibrations to ripple throughout the area.

Primary Hand: To add stimulation your primary hand can put fingers inside the vagina. The amount of fingers varies depending on the woman but having it palm up and making a “come here” motion with your fingers can often stimulate the g-spot. Playing around with the locations, speed, and pressure can help you figure out what your partner likes. This stimulates the internal nerves of the clit and it would be a shame to ignore all those pleasure spots.

Secondary Hand: Don’t let your non-primary hand go to waste. You can use your secondary hand to massage your partners legs, caress along her skin, grab her butt, or relieve your primary hand when your fingers get tired (be sure to make sure they are wet though through quickly sucking on them yourself or using your partner’s fluid). A great use I’ve found for your secondary  hand is to massage or place pressure on the pubic mound or near the hip/leg joint. This can sandwich the clitoral nerves between your fingers inside the vagina and the skin on the outside. Play with her body, feel things out, and see what she likes.

Communication: In the end, communication is what it comes down to. Pay attention to her body and make adjustments as needed. Also, recognize that communication can sometimes be difficult and body signals can vary significantly. I’ve had partners that get incredibly quiet and still when they are close to having an orgasm and I’ve had partners that start to get loud and buck their hips or grind into my face. Once you know the signs it gets much easier. Not everyone (including me) is comfortable with a lot of verbal instructions, particularly during intercourse. It can be helpful to develop non-verbal signs with your partner (for example: one hand lightly pulling of my hair means speed up the tongue, two hands lightly pulling my hair means slow down, etc). Non-verbal instructions can start to become very natural and oftentimes become unnecessary, but they do offer a way to enjoy the pleasure that comes with knowing and being in control of the act (like with masturbation) and the spontaneity and freedom that comes from a partner doing the “work”.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope this helped somebody, if nothing else it was fun for me to write. Happy orgasms everybody!

 

Couples Therapy

I have often talked about my advocacy for using MDMA* as a therapeutic assist for individuals facing PTSD, as well as a way for romantic couples to keep communication open and maintain a strong love for each other. A while back my partner and I got to experience something else when we had a night “rolling” with another couple who are our friends. I found this experience to be incredibly positive and I hope to relive it again with that couple and others that we know.

There is a false stereotype that MDMA is some sort of “sex drug”. In reality, it opens doors of communication and fosters love and trust between those involved. Due to the nature of the relationship of all involved the only sexual contact occurred between significant others and did so in a fairly private manner. Instead, the whole experience was a lot of discussions about love, life, relationships, and how much we appreciated each other. We  all got to discuss how we face the problems in our lives and what we hope for in the future. We were also able to find out how another couple deals with difficulties in relationship types (both being kind of mixed poly/mono couples). People who love each other should be free to discuss anything openly, but sadly social barriers and our past often prevent that. MDMA helps open that up.

Moving forward I certainly hope we have more experiences like this. With all things pre-intoxicated discussions are key. While I may be comfortable with things like being naked in front of friends, giving/receiving massages, having sex while others are in the room, or even sexual intimacy with others it is important to get these things on the table beforehand when everyone is completely sober… if something comes up of interest during a roll you can always discuss it the next day and save it for another time. It is better to guarantee enthusiastic consent and interest in an activity than risk harming a person or relationship. Basically, err on the side of the most conservative member of the group.

Unfortunately, I am not as outspoken in person with individuals as I am when writing about things as broad issues, so though I may be interested in something I often remain quiet. I’m working on this, and thinking there might be a better way. I’ve seen lists of sexual interests that couples can exchange where they rate things like “I’d love to do that – Maybe under the right circumstances – No way in hell” and I’m sure that could be adapted for couples therapy. Even if new boundaries aren’t pushed, enjoying a loving and intimate home environment while rolling is still one of my favorite things to do, and it sure as hell is a lot safer and cheaper than alcohol.

*Unfortunately we live in a place where men with guns are willing to throw peaceful adults in cages if they possess MDMA. Due to Prohibition the quality of MDMA can be compromised and can become unsafe. Please, please, please, always purchase from a trusted source, use a test kit to ensure quality, stay hydrated, and look out for each other. Rolling is amazing and can be a near spiritual experience, but it isn’t worth taking unnecessary fatal risks.  Be Safe.

Perfect Day

I spent the last weekend in St. Louis for a wedding (read: drunk shitshow of awesome), which meant I had a couple of flights in a short period of time. Usually I sleep on flights but the times didn’t match up that well with my sleep schedule so I was actually able to get some reading done, and my book of choice was the highly recommended “Steering By Starlight”. In this book there are lots of exercises and such to try and help you find your “North Star”. Maybe it is because I am quitting soon, maybe it was the book I was reading, maybe it was my increased reflection and drive to do what makes me happy… whatever the reason, I decided to think about what my “perfect day” would actually be. So, here is what would be my perfect day if I stopped worrying and started living:

  • Groggy, uncoordinated morning sex… mmmmmm
  • 0900hrs – Wake up and a light breakfast
  • Meditate
  • 12-15 mile bike ride – Bike riding serves as a way to motivate my writing, I do some of my best thinking while on the trail
  • Write
  • Lunch with Anna – we don’t get enough meals together.
  • Second workout – Yoga, weights, or more bike riding
  • Write
  • New Skills (Musical instrument, dance, massage, foreign language, art) – I’ve come to realize the thought of living my whole life without learning music, art, language, dance, or touch therapy feels like an incomplete life but I need to actively pursue those things, they aren’t going to magically ingrain themselves in my brain… and I don’t think I would want to go the Neo-upload route even if I could
  • Dinner
  • Study Psychology – I still have a driving passion to help people who have suffered trauma (soldiers, victims of violent crime and natural disasters, etc), as well as help couples and individuals reach their potential (particularly in sex and relationships)
  • Read just for fun
  • Relax, TV shows
  • 2400hrs – Bed time and maybe some banging

So, now I need to find away to move my life closer to this daily ideal (and adjust my ideal if it proves to be better in my mind than reality). One thing is for certain, I can’t be closer to this without leaving my job that takes up 9 hours per day of “work”, 3 hours per day of commuting, and being on-call 24/7. Time to take some damn action.

Expiration Dates

I mentioned last week that I told my boss about my upcoming bike ride and how that would be the end of my employment here. I thought things would get smoother but to be honest, it hasn’t. Like most things, it reminds me of a girl. In college I dated a girl pretty seriously my senior year. Let’s call her Miley (because I’m listening to Wrecking Ball right now). With the exception of my current partner Miley is really the only woman I can still look back and say we could have had a long-term thing, but it didn’t happen that way. I got a job in DC and she was continuing her graduate studies in Charleston, and neither one of us could really do the long-distance thing. After we realized our relationship had an expiration date things got rocky… we tried to make it work and tried to focus on the present but that didn’t work. We had an expiration date.

The same is with my current job. I wonder if it wouldn’t just be better to rip off the bandage or if I should try to hang in there for another couple months. Neither my boss nor I are really “wrong”, but knowing that this won’t last has made small problems seem much bigger and my misery at work is increasing. So here I sit, with only written words to help me clear my thoughts. This is probably going to be mostly for me to vent, but maybe there is a boss or something that will stumble upon this and something good will come of it. Here are the reasons why I am unhappy at my job and why I’m not sure if I can make it another couple months.

The Old Way of Doing Things: Maybe this is a generational issue (am I a millenial?) or maybe this is just me personally, but I hate the office environment. My job requires me to wake up at 7am, commute to work, sit at a computer from 9 til 5, and then commute home. When you factor in commuting my “work day” is 12 hours. And why? Why the hell should I put on dress clothes and commute to work on a computer that has half the power of my laptop? Well, it is because that is how things have been set up. The office is dying, I know this but my boss doesn’t. I waste moments of my life to warm a seat. I am not judged on the quality or quantity of my work but am constantly critiqued on my time in the office and my attire, two things that should be irrelevant if I am doing my job.

Money Only Motivates So Much: When I can live off of 30ish hours a week at about minimum wage and still save for my retirement there isn’t a lot of monetary motivation. I don’t care about things, I care about my time and experiences. No raise is going to convince me to stop spending time with my partner or miss a weekend bike ride or not go to a rave. I just don’t care about money. If my boss wanted to motivate me he would give me days off or let me go home when my work is done… instead I sit in an office because someone needs to be here to answer our landline phones, because apparently landlines still exist.

I’m Never Off Work: This is a big one for me. I am salary which apparently means “haha, sucks if you had plans on Sunday we have an asshole client who needs something done ASAP”. When I spend 3 hours commuting each day I really need my evenings and weekends to myself. This wasn’t something that was mentioned during the hiring process and I wish it would have been, I may not have taken the job.

Industry People Suck: I work with a lot of people in “the industry”… basically movie and television assclowns who have egos similar to people in Washington DC. I don’t deal with most people in general very well, much less pretentious dicks. It stresses me out to deal with them, particularly when I don’t feel like I have any type of back up from the rest of the office. When someone is incredibly disrespectful, angry, or unreasonable there is this idea that I should just shrug it off because that is how the industry is. I guess I might be able to shrug it off if I was somehow compensated for dealing with these people but even if we charge assholes more than nice people I don’t see a dime of that… I still have to deal with the assholes.

As I look back at things now I am glad I took the job but wish I would have asked more questions and discussed things before accepting the job. This was my first time working in corporate America so I learned a lot of things, a necessary if sometimes painful lesson. So now I must decide what to do about it. I can quit soon and find something part-timeish to get me through until April, or I can stick with it and hope I don’t lose my mind in the process. There really are only two reasons to stay in my mind: I don’t want to abandon my office spouse (she would be dealing with a lot of bullshit if I left) and I don’t want to hurt the reputation of the guy who recommended me for the job. I don’t know… writing things out some helped but I’m not sure what to do still. It seems really likely something stupid will just set me off and I’ll quit with no notice.