holiday cheer

December 20, 2002

Sometime in the not-so-distant past someone made a snide and off-handed remark about how easy and boring my job must be and then went on to ask how I could keep from becoming brain-dead after so long working in a library, going so far as to suggest that librarian’s salaries are a waste of tax dollars.

I have a fun job and a great boss. Some parts of it can be very tedious, but it’s never the same two days in a row. It also requires critical thinking, diplomacy, and social skills – it’s not mindlessly sitting at a desk staring into space or reading a book all day. I’ve had the job for ten years now and there’s always something new to learn. Could I do with fewer meetings? Sure, who couldn’t?

I kept trying to say as much, but the person said, “Yeah, right,” in a really snide way each time. I don’t like the person so I blew it off, but it pissed me off all over again this morning when a coworker was talking about her intense dread over going home for the holidays because her family is incredibly shallow and only values money, brand names, consumer goods. A group of us tried to cheer her up, pointing out how their constant sneering at her job and inability to form opinions on other people based on anything other than the brands they wear is a pretty pathetic form of arrested development and she should view her time with them as an important cautionary tale, or maybe a reminder of why she lives far away.

But I’m about to digress into a generalized tirade about rude, materialistic and judgmental people, when the original post was supposed to be about, oh, wait, rude, materialistic and judgmental people.

So yeah, I get it that there are people who don’t respect the choices of anyone other than themselves. They don’t understand I have actual responsibilities and a staff to supervise. I have a lot of flexibility – but I also have to work early, late and on weekends. I got 2 free college degrees courtesy of this job and I have no student loan debt. I get loads of vacation and I can have lunch or coffee with Husband every single day if I want to. I work with some annoying people, but I also work with some of the greatest people in the world.

Plus, my office is cold and dark, except when it’s really hot. Wait, why is that a good thing? I don’t think it is so I better quit while I’m ahead.

What I’m saying is, happy holidays and don’t let your family drive you insane. Instead of taking the bait, try this: paste a Mona Lisa smile on your face and just stare intently at them no matter what they say to you.

Reply, “How very interesting,” or “How so?” whenever a response seems to be required. Repeated often enough, these phrases will eventually fill them with self-doubt and discomfort and hopefully they’ll go annoy someone else.

You could also get a jump-start on the New Year’s Resolutionaries at the gym and go burn off that aggression in a way that won’t land you in jail.

Alternately, you could end every sentence with, “…as it is written” while carrying around a copy of Dianetics or some other such tome that spooks your family.

Any one of these approaches should buy you peace and quiet in no time.

Merry Christmas!