It’s a Job

I received termination papers from my employer on Friday. It made me a little bit sad. Not because I’ll miss the place — I hated my job — but because I had gone in with such high hopes.

For the first month or two, I was the first one in the office every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I thought that if I pretended hard enough to love my job, it would become reality. I remember the moment my imaginary world came crashing down.

I had been assigned to conduct physical synthesis trials with my coworker Brian. This is a task that involves running a script and squinting at numbers, maybe rerunning parts of the script if the numbers didn’t look right. Brian was walking me through the protocol, but I kept skipping steps and rushing through the output. This frustrated him.

“What’s your hurry??”

“I want to get this sizing stuff done so that we can move on to the FUN stuff!”

“What fun stuff? When we finish this, we’ll just have more cells to do.”

“And after we finish those, then we get to do something more interesting?”

“Then we do this for the rest of the chip until it tapes out next year.”

“What the HELL? When do we get to the fun stuff?”

“There is no fun stuff. It’s a job.”

A job. He sounded like my mother. Jobs aren’t supposed to be fun. Brian is a Chinese immigrant, just like my mom. They came to this country to work hard at soul-sucking jobs so that they could provide their children with the opportunity to — do what?? Grow up and get unfulfilling careers of their own? Pass this misery on for generations?

If I wanted to sell my soul for a six-figure salary, I would have become a prostitute. At least the hours are flexible.

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