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1. Quit.

20 Jul

Length: 7 paragraphs. Read Time: 2 minutes

When you’re laying facedown on your stomach in the middle of your apartment floor, sobbing into a throw pillow, I think you’ve had a bad day.

Two hours earlier, I thought being rolled up in a standing fetal position on the co-working bathroom floor was hitting rock bottom but I think the above state is the tar pits where T-Rex’s go to die.

It didn’t make it better when I pushed myself up to wipe all of the liquid coming out of my face and found clothes strewn everywhere–a half-eaten box of Popeye’s chicken, judging me by my couch. Who bought that? How did that get here?

“I want out.” I thought. And descended, very much, into the ugly cry.

It is a 70-hour work week trying to achieve something you’re not actually good at. I work that, just to keep up. I don’t do anything I like. I look fondly on the days where I use to sew things and read books instead of shovel through gmail. Being informed about all the earth’s current events used to be my primary mode of being. I haven’t read the news in 4 months. Who the fuck is Rupert Murdoch?

I wish all that grit meant something, like by attempting to rise to this challenge, I put out more content, proved my worth as the model employee, the endeavoring boss. But it’s not true. Now more than anything, I feel like my entire staff won’t listen to a thing I say. Don’t fucking grumble about writing up the events on the event board, just DO it, and I promise you can continue to do what you were doing before. I walk around feeling like I’m cramping their style and feel like I’m failing at managing all the talent I see within them. When they’re not taking long lunches and forgetting to straighten up the co-working space, they’re pitying me. Poor Unimposter. Never eating. Never drinking. Never stopping. Always working.

And I think this is when people step in to comfort that little girl on the floor, twirling their little red/white/blue flags of the American Dream, whispering: dig deep. push through it. You’ll get better if only try harder. Try harder, little sobbing girl. Try harder.

Bullshit, you banners of pick-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps.

Let this ring from the controversial heavens: trying harder is a lie. Trying harder at the same destructive things that got you where you are in the first place will kill you.  Don’t let inspirational videos give you the wrong idea. You’ve got to figure out the difference between good pain and bad pain before you lace up those shoes again and run that mile.

This is counterintuitive to most, but I only get better when I quit.  What will allow me to get out of bed in the morning is humbly admitting to myself I cannot do this. I cannot work 70-hours a week, I cannot get everyone to do what I say, I cannot answer 80 emails/day. I cannot answer every question, fix every problem, anticipate the next co-working space disaster (“No wireless?! NOOOOOOOOO!”). I can’t try harder. I won’t. I’m done.

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I’m an Imposter, not a Con-Artist.

31 May
Crook

"I am not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."

Lying is silly, so I won’t: girls like me should be high school guidance counselors and watching seasons of MTV’s Daria on the weekends (which are worthy endeavors, are you kidding me, Daria is hilarious). The bosses? Not convinced. So I’ve set myself up the task of doing a kick-ass job despite the facts. I have no interest whatsoever in playing dress up to leech the life flow of paychecks until it stops coming.

Though the paychecks are nice.

I’m an imposter but I’m not a con-artist. I know what a con-artist looks like. He has come into the co-working space with no intention of paying and every intention of schmoozing our members and eating our Salads that are Sexy!*

I could smell a hint of slime at the very first introduction. He was just so goddamn complimentary. A crisp pinstriped dress shirt and pressed gray slacks, a wide smile to complete his thin professional disguise. I gave him a tour and his bemusement was palpable.

“See, I was wondering how you could get this space for free?” he creened.

INTRUDER ALERT #1: If someone immediately asks you how he or she can get stuff for free, he or she is not there to contribute the community part of “co-working”. This is not a profile of a co-working worker.

“Well, you can’t really, since everyone here recognizes the value of being connected to the space, they pay. However, we also have a work-trade option where you can do administration one day a week for free use of the space.”

Usually at this point, the eyes of credible folks sparkle. His shifted down and to the right. “Yeah, yeah, I guess I could do that,” he gritted through his teeth, as he slithered away from the thought of labor.

INTRUDER ALERT #2: Someone who fails to extend a compromise or rejects your efforts to help them should be heeded with caution.

I told him to think about it, he’d benefit a lot from being in the space. I guess he wanted to think about it in person, because he came back every Tuesday, feasting on the member lunches in my face; :chomp: “I just don’t think I can afford :chomp: to join at this time.” THEN GO TO THE CO-WORKING SPACE DOWN THE STREET! I matched smile for persuasive smile, coaxing him to commitment but he wouldn’t. “No, but I am just going to keep coming by if that’s okay.” I am going to kill him. The fourth time I saw him, I was so outdone, I couldn’t speak. Adrian and Nate, with kindness, closed his once-wide welcome for me. Apparently, he had also been using my name as an entrance alibi.

The Reflection: I am not a con-artist. Con-artists don’t give, they only feed of off. But I am an imposter—and that is what we have in common, this guy and I. Showing up in places where we cannot be fully ourselves is our livelihood. Until we overstay our welcome, we show up smiling, hoping to get the best out of the situation.

*every Tuesday, a guest chef comes in and prepares a CSA box of organic greens for our members. We call this sexy.