The Other Holiday Hangover — the dread of going back to work.

You know what my mom said the other day?

She had just opened a gift of those coffee-bomb things you put in fancy espresso makers. She said, “I can’t wait to go back to work tomorrow.” Ostensibly to use the things, but also because she is a freak that loves working.

My dad always says, as an example of how the two of them are so different, that his favorite day is Friday, and her favorite day is Monday. I’m more like my dad. It doesn’t matter what my job is, at some level I will always hate it.

I currently actually really like my day job. I get to tell people what to do, show up in my pajamas, and feel like the hero on the daily because I’m the most technically proficient person on staff.

But, every morning, it’s still a fight between the tattered, flimsy bits I call my work ethic and this unknowable dread…

It’s worse after a weekend, and worse still after a holiday. The longer I spend time away from work, the longer this dread builds inside of me. It’s as if I forget that work is something I must do, and I start believing that vacation could be permanent.

I don’t know if “normal people” (or at least people like my mom) have a different perspective on work but I suspect they do. I don’t think everyone has a gremlin living in their cupboards, like an evil Doby the house elf, that just wants to be set free. I can only guess that my resistance to a normal work schedule began with public school, when my teenage internal clock fought the 7:55am start time. Getting up in the morning to a day that doesn’t belong to me feels like prison.

I could try to take ownership of my work, so that I might look forward to it more — but I feel my true work will always be my writing. I have to barricade space for that, or else I’ll be spending my mental free time structuring Trello boards and writing Gmail filters. Such things can be rather addictive unless I tell myself that I hate them.

I know that when I have to go back to work, the night previous I will be a restless mess of reluctance. I will do something pathetic with my time, like watching cable television and playing solitaire on my iPad. I don’t know why, but I waste every moment that is my last, simultaneously berating myself for not doing something more valuable with what I still have.

At my core, I don’t want to work a goddamn day. I only want to write. And maybe that’s it, only my life’s passion won’t fill me with this mysterious dread. As I point my head towards something that isn’t my dream, my body recoils at the very thought of spending time on anything else. When I’m still foggy in the morning, and my sense of responsibility hasn’t set in, I struggle to talk myself into the reality that my heart hasn’t chosen.

But maybe, if I chose writing as my job, it would become just that. Maybe, I would learn to hate that too.

My friend Katie says I need to take more selfies, so here's a particularly festive one. Enjoy (what's left of) your holiday!

My friend Katie says I need to take more selfies, so here’s a particularly festive one. Enjoy (what’s left of) your holiday!

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4 thoughts on “The Other Holiday Hangover — the dread of going back to work.

  1. I think *maybe* if you can turn your passion into a career, you will have a passionate and full life. That is equally possible! You write well, and you enjoy it. Readers enjoy peeking at our most intimate and REAL thoughts, and you express them so very well.

    You already ARE a writer, the question is how far down the rabbit hole you want to try to go? <3

    I dream that one day I could marry my passion for 'finding' things in thrift stores into a resale business. The intersection of your passion and income is your dream job. The transaction you make where both the buyer and seller almost feel 'guilty for taking advantage' is the perfect sale. We just have to find the right intersection!

    • You saying that I am already a writer is validation enough for me. I’m going to make a button that says “writer” and wear it always. I don’t even care about being *that* person.

      *hugs*

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