March 21, 2022•349 words
Or am I just another whiny Peter Gibbons from Office Space?
I am notably not in touch with my emotions, deep motivations, and similarly abstract parts of my mental and spiritual being, so this is an unsurprisingly difficult question for me to answer. As I try to figure out what the actual heck my deal is and why I often feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, my latest thought, which has been brewing for some time now, is that perhaps I'm simply not suited to my lifestyle of regular, daily work doing something I'm good at but don't care all that much about.
I know artists often talk about flunking out of their previous lives in the daily grind. And I do mean flunking out, in the I-basically-got-expelled-from-the-real-world kind of way. Whereas, I appear straight-laced and not at all a rebel except for maybe being the first at work with a light undercut before it became the cool thing among Nazis. And even when I do look like a “rebel” with my funny print shirts buttoned up to the top, no one really believes it. (I might need to finally get those tattoos I’ve been thinking about.) Anyway, I do a good job and get rewarded with more responsibility—and, more importantly, more money. I really do somehow outwardly fit the mold of an engineer that distinguishes himself well and for which management has great things in store.
But it's all just a slog for me, and with no end goal.
So, back to the title. One intersting thing to note is that Mike Judge, the creator of Office Space, was himself a physicist and mechanical engineer working at a Silicon Valley startup and some other nominally plum jobs until he left to play bass and make TV shows.
I suspect that the whole point of Office Space was not necessarily to answer these questions. Indeed, Tom Smykowski calls Peter a whiner. Is that Mike Judge talking to himself? Is he asking more questions? Is he just reminding us to be careful as we carve out our own paths?