Thursday, November 19, 2020


My phone starts buzzing. It's Skylar. It's 4:00 PM. The fact that he's calling me at this time probably means he finished his rotation early today.

I answer.

"She didn't really explain what that meant and AHHH I just realized I forgot to pick it up what time are you going to be there and do you know yet what we're doing for dinner?"

He starts every phone call like we're in the middle of a conversation already and he expects me to understand what the hell he's talking about.

"I have no idea what anything you just said means. I'm not inside your brain," I remind him.

The disconnected thought vomit gets worse toward the end of the week as he seems to be in his most exhausted state by then.

"Nevermind," he says. "Your turn. Tell me about your day?"

He requests this as though he's already given me a coherent account of what he's up to.

"Your life is more interesting than mine," this medical student who is spending his days in hospitals during a historic pandemic assures me. "Your life sounds like a legal drama on HBO."

He's mostly wrong about that, as I remind him every time he says it. "I really don't think a television program depicting someone staring into a laptop all day and typing angry letters would do very well."

"It'd be more interesting than watching someone burn a wart off of a foot." He's certain about that.

I sometimes wonder if we should do a better job preparing our children for the realization that most aspects of every career are pretty boring. I have a friend who's a comedy writer for a television show. "That sounds like a dream job," I told him. He laughed. "Yeah, every girl hopes to one day cry at 2:00 in the morning in their tiny Manhattan apartment at the end of an 80-hour workweek while desperately trying to write a joke that's funny enough to stop the inevitable cancellation of your television program and impeding unemployment."

"I love it!" a law professor told me several years ago. "Well, I love the teaching part, anyway. 97% of my job is writing articles about securities. That part is really terrible. But the other 3% is so fun."

"Maybe I'm just not the type of person who is ever going to truly love his career," Skylar confessed last night. "I don't think I'll hate it. But I don't know if I'll ever be one of those people who wakes up excited to go to work every day."

"No one wakes up excited to go to work every day," I said, probably to myself more than to him. "If they claim otherwise they are probably in denial." 

Earlier this week he came home mid-day and had 45 minutes to kill before a zoom meeting. "I'm just so tired all the time," he said before dropping his stuff and falling on the floor. "Maybe I'd be more excited to go to work if I wasn't so tired."

"You're a med student now," I tried to comfort him. "This will all be better one day when you know what you're doing and have some authority to do it. For now, it's supposed to be a little miserable."

He was asleep before I finished the sentence so I don't think he heard it.

I married a cat.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I think it's good to feel good about the work you're doing, but that doesn't mean that you'll enjoy the work it takes to do it. If that makes sense.

    I enjoy my "big picture" work (capital-W Work, maybe?). All the detail work is cumbersome and blah, but the big picture is great. I think the whole mindfulness movement helps us remember to make time to take that step back and admire the big picture more frequently than we probably do. Perspective helps alleviate the drudgery of all the work that makes Work possible.

  2. Love the last line the most. “I married a cat” 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  3. I read a while back about how generations ago, Americans found enjoyment in families and home, recreation and friends. They did not expect it from work. They usually expected work to be kind of terrible or at least boring.

    Nowadays, people expect fulfillment and enjoyment from work, but work often does not deliver. Most jobs are full of drudgery. And this has caused more depression and disillusionment in people who expected work to be the life goral that fulfilled them. But then it didn’t.

    I don’t have a career, so I can’t have much of an opinion, but it was an interesting read.

  4. I’m in marketing, in an industry where vendors still rely on wining and dining, so I get lots of free job perks. Everyone is convinced my job is all play and no work, and I can’t argue too much with it. 😂 But for every vendor I love working with, there are vendors I don’t like any monotonous tasks I put off. Some work is just work. I agree: I don’t think anyone in the world wakes up *every* day happy about work.

  5. Burning off a wart may be sexier than a Dauber motion, but at least we don’t have to look at blood.

    1. There's actually no blood when warts get burned off - my son has two taken off the bottom of his foot.

  6. Fun fact: you can use breastmilk to remove warts. Don’t know how or why it works. But random things like that make my job as a human dairy a little more interesting than it would otherwise be.

  7. I can't remember what my comment was, but something along the lines of misery of work, and one of the trauma surgeons on the webex replied "not when you love what you do". I envy that enthusiasm.
    I think Skylar is in that hard year where he rotates thru Every specialty, and I truly hope he finds one that fascinates him.
    I can confirm that even the ones that LOVE their specialty still have complaints about iCentra, leadership directions, the nit/grit, but getting to care for patients is what keeps them going! We're all cheering for your cat spouse!!

  8. This is why you get paid.

  9. The other day I read that peloton has a "head of music" and I thought that must be the best job ever. But then I thought that it must be a bit of a headache bc they probably have to actually deal with lawyers and paperwork... I tell my boss every day that I'm quitting (I'm a director level in a consulting firm) because work it's hard and demanding and I've got kids to homeschool. My grandma says "if it was fun, they wouldn't call it work". An old co-worker of mine used to say every job is just pushing a pile of paper from one side of a desk to another.. Anyway, random thoughts about this subject.

  10. Once upon a time I thought about turning a hobby I thoroughly enjoyed into a job. Then I realized that if I had to do this in order to pay my bills, I'd eventually hate it. Don't do what you love. Do what you can stand enough to pay for the things you love.