I just finished Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. In short, I loved this book. Loved it. This novel hit a sweet spot for me -I was desperately in need of a Thinker and it was cleverly written in first-person plural (the voice of "we") while possessing some amazingly spot-on observations of the so-called professional world of Corporate America. I found myself laughing, nodding my head vigorously in agreement and even getting teary-eyed at some parts that brought back so many memories of my former professional life. When I finished the book, I will admit that I did miss a bit of the camaraderie that can happen in the working world. Fortunately, I was able to take many of those former comrades with me to this new I have cobbled together. Goofy Girl, Average Jane, It's Only Me and Surrender, Dorothy are all leftover co-workers from my working days.
One of my favorite pieces in this book, simply because I loathed doing timesheets:
Input meetings made us happy because they meant we had work to do. We worked in the creative department developing ads and we considered our ad work creative, but it wasn't half as creative as the work we'd put in to pad our time sheets every Monday morning since layoffs began.
And this bit, as one character writes in an email to his co-workers:
.........What I'm doing is trying to generate a buck for a client so as to generate a quarter for us so that I can generate a nickel for me and have a penny left over after Barbara gets what the court demands. For that reason, I love my job and never want to lose it, so I hope no one reading this finds me smug or ungrateful. I'm only trying to suggest that as we find ourselves in this particularly unfortunate, miscontrued, ungodly juncture of civilization, let's not lose sight of the nobler manifestations of man and of the greater half of his character, which consists not of taglines and bottom lines but of love, heroism, reciprocity, ecstasy, kindness and truth. What a bloated bunch of horseshit, you will say. And good for you. I welcome you to shoot me up close in the head. Peace, Tom."
Yes, Ferris did not create a very tight story arc and the action weaved in and out of its timeline somewhat haphazardly. However, the ending was worth it and he wrapped up the story very nicely and quite appropriately. This book left me thinking and in fact, still has me thinking today.
I have always been very frank about how happy I am staying home. I feel so incredibly blessed that I am doing exactly what I have always dreamed of. However, I am glad that I did get the chance to have a crazy career, one that I could be 100% devoted to before I had kids. When I left it, I felt that I was not missing anything and still, I feel that I am not missing anything after 3 years of being out of it. While I do miss having co-workers and the adrenaline rush from traveling, meeting new people and pushing to meet ridiculous deadlines, I do not miss the tedium of getting up, fighting traffic and working for the Man. And I love the simple, lazy days spent with my kids because have to hassle with pesky school schedules. Overall, it is nice to be so happy and to not want for much.
Are you where you want to be? If not, why? What do you need to do to get where you want to be? One of my favorite quotes ever is "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Roll that around on your tongue and in your brain a few times. Think about it. Long and hard.
While I am happy where I am, this is not the end of the road for me. These kids will be heading to school and then to college someday. I will need to find something else to occupy my time. I have some ideas and I am turning them around in my noggin. I have some time before I need to make decisions and it will also depend if we are living in Kansas City or elsewhere as to what I decide to do.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
That quote is my inspiration and hopefully, will guide me to something as fulfilling as what I am doing right now.