Why you need to start doing things NOW
There were so many things he could be doing at this exact moment. It was a cold afternoon in January. He sat at his desk in the office, contemplating. He had rather be anywhere but here. He could be walking through the city, visiting a friend, being on a holiday, buying that record he had been planning to buy for a while. Writing Elena, trying to fix whatever he had broken. Even doing laundry seemed to be better than what he was doing right now. He was stuck in an office, sitting behind a computer, doing something he didn’t enjoy. Actually, he wasn’t even really doing it. Only a couple of hours a day he would work efficiently, the rest of the day he would just relax — killing time on the internet.
He still had to finish that… hey, he didn’t know his ex-girlfriend got a baby! He clicked on her profile picture on Facebook. How could he have missed that? Was she still together with that guy? There were a lot of baby pictures on her wall. He scrolled down, where was that boyfriend of hers? Oh, it was her husband now. He clicked on his name — his wall was less filled with baby stuff, only once every few weeks he posted something, something stupid in his opinion. This wasn’t interesting. He looked at the time on the top right corner of his computer screen: 3:42. He still had more than two hours to go. The only thing he had to finish was — a red envelope popped: you’ve got mail. Quickly he opened his personal email account. Too bad, it was just a bill from his phone company. He stretched his hands behind his head and looked around the office for a moment. Maybe he wanted a coffee? Coffee always helped him getting out of the ‘being annoyed mood’. He got up, but halfway he turned around for his colleague:
‘Up for a coffee?’, he asked him.
‘Yes please! Give me one minute, I need to finish this first.’
He sat down again behind his desk. His Facebook page was still open, showing him new status updates. He scrolled down. Was there something interesting to read in order to kill these couple of minutes? No, no, no, no, yes, like. When was the last time he had posted something? He was always reading what other people had to say but he would rarely post something himself, or comment on anything — he was the kind of person that just ‘liked’ things. Was it because his life wasn’t interesting enough? No, it was just that he never felt like sharing it. He was handicapped in that way, he didn’t really know how to share things on social media. His profile page made him look boring: it contained just a few pictures of him — taken by other people that had tagged him.
He didn’t have that talent that most people had, that magical creativity to post stuff that people actually found funny or interesting.
His posts usually got three or four likes — not really worth it. He scrolled through his feed. There, why couldn’t he do that? A friend of his had made a funny comment about a television show and shared a link: 12 people liked it. Another friend posted that she was in a relationship: 64 likes. Someone he didn’t really know, but was interested in, shared that she just got a new job — he clicked on ‘like’. Everyone was doing well. Why wasn’t he?
‘Ready!’, his colleague said. ‘Up for a coffee?’ He turned around in his chair.
‘How is everything?’ They were now standing in front of the coffee machine.
‘Good, good, you?’
‘Yes, good.’ They stared in silence at the brown coffee stream that dripped into their cups.
‘How is Deb?’, he asked after a couple of minutes of silence.
‘O, she is fine, as always.’
‘Great.’ Although they had nothing in common, they kept trying. He was a twenty-something bachelor and his colleague was a thirty-something married man with two children, stuck in an office job. They had that in common of course, the job. However, he was determined to get out of it. This situation was just temporarily, he would work on his own things and then he would quit. After their cups were filled with pitch black coffee they walked back to their desks.
He sat down and looked at his screen. Yes, he had to change something. Inspiration, all he needed was to be inspired. He opened Facebook again and searched for an artist who usually inspired him. He looked at the artists’ posts, his work was so great, he could never do something like that.
Why did he still believe he was going to be an artist?
He had no talent compared to that guy. He closed Facebook — enough. He would work now and let the subject rest for a while, it wasn’t doing him any good.
His colleague tapped him on his shoulder and he turned around.
‘Hey, do you know anything about gardens?’, he asked him.
‘Yes, Deb and I want to change the garden and we’re thinking about tree bark instead of grass. Do you have any experience with that?’
‘No, I’m afraid not, I don’t have a garden.’
‘Ah, too bad, thanks anyway.’
He closed his eyes for a moment — he couldn’t stay in a job where the only interesting talk a day was about gardens. What could he do in order to change his life? He opened his eyes again. His computer screen flickered. Great, now his computer had crashed. He pushed the on-and-off-button and waited for the computer to restart. This was getting ridiculous. He was letting the days pass him by and if he wouldn’t act now he would end up like his colleague. For a moment he laid his head down on his desk. Dear god, universe, whatever, please get me out of this place.
‘Hmm,’ he looked up, it was his manager. ‘Are you busy?’
‘Yes,’ he felt his heart beat in his throat. ‘I’m sorry, I was waiting for inspiration.’
‘Can I speak to you in private please?’
‘Yes, of course.’ His mind started running, looking for excuses to save his job. He wanted to leave this company anyway, but not now, he really needed the money! What if he would get fired in a couple of seconds? He could move out of his apartment and search for a cheaper one, he could get himself a roommate? He would find a new job, absolutely. He could go back to being a waiter or something, or maybe he could temporarily work in a coffee shop. He liked coffee.
‘So, Marc, how do you think things are going?`
‘Fine,’ he lied.
‘Really? I have been checking some of your work load, and, to be honest, your efficiency doesn’t really impress me. You never take any phone calls and your sales are very low. However, you do have a high customer satisfaction.’ That was true, he had found a way to fool the system. Every time he helped someone, instead of sending them a questionnaire he found that within the first 10 seconds after closing the sale you had the possibility to fill in the questionnaire yourself. It had to be done quick though and you couldn’t fill in any of the remarks, but those 10 seconds gave you enough time to single out the ‘5 out of 5 stars’.
‘For some miraculous reason none of your customers have left you any comments, they’ve all just graded your service with 5 stars.’ He could see a vein on his forehead almost pop.
‘Am I correct in thinking that you’ve been fooling the system?’ He swallowed. They had caught him. Should he continue to lie now?
‘I can explain,’ he started but before he could continue, his manager - bending over his desk and leaning on his fists - screamed:
‘You’re fired! Get out now and never let me see you here again!’
A loud bang woke him up. He looked around, surprised. A glass of water had fallen of his desk. He had probably hit it with his arm. Thank god, it wasn’t real, it had all been a bad dream. He looked at his computer. It was on again. The clock on the right corner of his screen showed him it was 4:12. He had probably fallen asleep for just a minute or so. Had anyone noticed it? He looked around the office but no one seemed to care. He opened Facebook, had he missed anything? Ah, Elena had shared her status update, apparently she wasn’t as devastated as he thought she would be — he clicked on like.