Put on a Happy Face
Other than having more time to write, the number two reason I have trouble with "real" jobs, which often made me want to quit in the past, was this: At work, you're not allowed to have a bad day. Not before you come in, at least. I've had bosses ask me to do things as incomprehensible (to me) as "change channels" when I was an emotional wreck. Not, "Take twenty minutes to breathe, or even, "Maybe you should go home," but just "turn off the bad feelings and put on your happy face." I've cried, hidden in storage closets and bathrooms; and been grateful for the silence of the client on the massage table, hoping to hide my feelings before the boss found out.
There is a degree of this at every job, and of course from the customer's point of view it makes sense. Who hasn't been rung up by a surly clerk who's clearly had a bad day? Who hasn't received hostile comments or undeserved brusqeness when all you want to do is pay for your tomatoes and go home? Nobody likes a sour puss, or worse, someone crying sad, mucus tears while they serve you food.
I totally understand the reasons behind why it is good to put on a happy face in a workplace. The problem is, I have never been any good at that.
You could be one of those people slow to interpret feelings and you'd still know mine with a quick glance because I wear them like brashly colored medals. When I'm upset, my voice shakes. Trembles! It drives me nuts. I can't lie for the same reason. Dark circles form under my eyes. I cry even in public. I get "hollow" and faraway no matter how hard I try to come out of it, it's like being on a weird elevator that keeps going down when you want to go up.
It's been two blissful years of getting to feel how I want, when I want, as often as I want because I work for myself at home where the only one to notice when my husband isn't home, is the cat--and between us, Figaro is very self-centered.
Now that I'm back interacting with the world, I realize that I am going to have to take a "happy face" lesson pretty damn fast, because there's always going to be another bad day.