Dear Work: An Open Love Letter
A recently quarantined college graduate expresses his newfound appreciation for paid labor.
I miss you. It’s been a while since you and I had an interaction outside of a computer screen. These are hard times, and it feels like we’ve grown apart.
I know we have our differences. You were always a morning profession, while I needed several modern devices to rouse me from bed before ten. And I’ll admit, sometimes it was exhausting to be around you. You demanded a lot from me, and you were super particular about what I could wear, do, or say. After eight hours of dealing with your drama, I would often come home and sink onto the couch, praying for some mercy.
On the darkest days, it felt like you didn’t appreciate me. Like I was just a slave to your whims, sacrificing my well-being for your benefit. Sometimes, I found myself eating spoonfuls of ice cream, lamenting how unhappy you’d made me.
But for all those flaws, work, I now realize how important you are to me. Let’s face it: you pushed me to be better, even when I didn’t want to. You interrupted my selfish patterns, challenging me to earn my survival by aiding the survival of our civilization. At your best, you gave me purpose, fulfilment, and connection with others.
You taught me professionalism, one of the most valuable skills I’ve ever learned. You showed me that disagreements and sticky situations didn’t have to be the end of the world, that one could maneuver through them with poise, politeness, and grace.
I’ve seen what my life is like without you, and I spend a disturbing portion of it watching YouTube in my bathrobe. And while I can’t be dependent on you for my happiness, I know that you have a lot to offer me if I give you the love and care you deserve. At the end of those video binges, I wish I had been with you instead.
Often, I found myself checking my email, wondering if you’d written me back. I also kept all your important dates in my calendar – when that project was due, when you needed that form signed – just to show that I cared. And you sent me such wonderful messages – like “Your request has been approved” or “URGENT: ACTION NEEDED” – that gave me butterflies in my stomach.
Please take me back. I also miss the money.
Yours truly (except when I’m sick),