Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I was in Whole Foods the other day to buy yogurt. Surprisingly, the kind of yogurt I like is much less expensive there than at Kroger. I was wearing dark-brown dress pants, a pink (Pink! Seriously?) short-sleeved sweater, and brown strappy heels. I hate wearing dress pants. I usually wear dresses to work in the summer, but it is excessively cool for July and I knew it would be about 40 degrees in the office so I just wore pants. Here is the bad thing about wearing dress pants... they always make me feel like I'm pretending to be an adult. I was walking down an aisle in Whole Foods thinking to myself, 'What am I doing? Why am I dressed up like a business person?" It was so weird. I felt completely uncomfortable. I had the impulse to run out, buy a pair of jeans, put them on, and burn the dress pants in the parking lot.

I finished up my shopping, but couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I was a total poseur. That I'm "a person who adopt[ed] the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a group or subculture" but who does "not share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture." Yes, I have a college degree to pay for and yes, I need a good job with benefits to pay for that degree and for my mortgage and for my other various bills. But I just feel like such a fake. I dress up every morning and drag myself to work and sit in a tiny cubical near all these other people in tiny cubicles who take their jobs and the business world in general very seriously as though business is actually important in the grand scheme of things. As though someday they will look back on their lives and be happy that they gave the majority of their life to a corporation. If working at a big, heartless company truly makes them fulfilled, then I am happy for them. However, I just can't believe they all love the business world as much as it seems they do.

I know it sounds like I hate my job, but I don't. I actually think it's a great job. I learn new things all the time and get to talk to lots of different people and try to figure out why something went terribly awry and what we can do to fix it/prevent it from happening again. But despite that I like my job, it's not as though it really matters to anyone other than some of the people at this company. I'm not helping people or doing something meaningful or for the greater good. I'm just here. Sitting in a cubicle. Wearing dress pants.

Later, I read my friend Irena's post in which she discussed her current gainfully-employed-yet-unfulfilled status and that just added fuel to the flame. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time the next morning, thinking back to when I was just finishing up high school and who I was then and why I went to college instead of floral design school and how I ended up here instead of somewhere else. It's kind of weird to look yourself in the eye and try to picture what you should be doing instead of what you are doing. (Just to be clear, this isn't an "I want a different life" crisis. I love my family. This is strictly a personal/occupational crisis.)

When I picture myself doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm standing in front of a table full of flowers and scissors and floral tape and wire. I'm wearing a black t-shirt, well-worn jeans, and chuck taylor's. My hair is longer and pulled back to keep it from bothering me while I work. I know it would be delusional to think that if I was doing that I would be perfectly happy and never stressed and everything would be great, but I just think I would feel as though I was doing something that I liked and something that was meaningful to other people.

There is no good place for me to go from here. I can't just quit my job and join the circus (or a flower shop). I guess I need to take baby steps to something else, even if it's just on the side. And I think I need to do more things that make me feel like myself and not a different, office-worker-poseur version of me. Today, I wore a purple t-shirt with a koi fish and flowers on it with my dress pants and heels. Tomorrow it should be warmer and I can go back to wearing dresses, which are nothing like dress pants. I can get away with wearing a dress with a funky or mod pattern and heels and look professional enough without feeling unlike me. I know this isn't really about what I wear, but I guess I don't like the thought that I even look like I fit in here. Anyway, I'll figure it all out somehow. One step at a time. Wearing a pair of Chuck's... at least in my mind.

Red-handled scissors
and tan walls
closing in,
Endless drone of
out the window.
People going places,
not trapped.
Not trapped here.
Likely trapped
where they are going.
is far too


  1. I'm so glad you wrote this. It's also a damned good piece of writing.

  2. Thanks Irena. Coming from you, that is a HUGE compliment!

  3. It's a huge compliment only because it's true. You're an awesome writer, and you grow with every post.