Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm a slacker; she's a slacker; wouldn't you like to be a slacker, too?

It's a very small world, it seems. I just edited an e-mail that the president of our company is sending to the guy who graduated immediately before me in the Class of 1997 College of Arts & Sciences ceremony at my alma mater. When I say "immediately before me," I mean that they arranged all of the graduates in alphabetical order, and his last name was the next-previous to mine in the list. If we were talking straight GPA or leadership and academic achievement, he probably would have been considerably further ahead of me in the lineup. I was a good student with a higher-than-I-should-have-bothered-striving-for GPA, but this guy was significantly more serious and definitely more involved. He was our own Alex P. Keaton, right down to the diminutive height and the suits and ties to class.*

Apparently this guy's drive and motivation hasn't subsided into lethargy and laziness in the intervening years since graduation (as mine clearly has). This is evidenced by the fact that he currently holds a position within a County office (in the capital city of a neighboring state) that makes the president of my company want to contact him, and furthermore prompts our president to have his resident grammar geek edit that correspondence first to avoid any embarrassing errors.

I doubt this guy would remember me, so I resisted the urge to add "P.S. Stefanie says hi" at the bottom of the e-mail. If I actually were contacting him myself, I'd probably say, "It looks like your career is progressing nicely, and as you always seemed a kind, decent, stand-up sort of guy, I'm pleased to see things are working out well for you. By the way, have you come out of the closet and met a nice young man to share your life with yet?"

I don't know what ever happened to the motivation I used to have. Maybe I never really was motivated, and my initially strong post-college work ethic (the work ethic that made me feel guilty writing personal e-mails or doing non-work-related web surfing on company time) stemmed more from the residual guilt so common among people who grow up with Catholic parents.

I am fully confident I'm not the only one wasting corporate resources on idle web surfing and e-mailing (it's obvious by the time stamps on blog posts and comments that a good portion of the nation's workforce is with me in this boat), but I still feel more than a bit wrong about it. I do typically avoid writing blog entries at work (even if I still read my share of them), though obviously this post itself is evidence that I don't consistently stick to that rule. Actually, it seems only fitting to write a post about slackerdom while actually being a slacker myself, so I'll just chalk this particular incident up to journalistic authenticity.

In high school (and college, too), I was always a good girl, a model student, an overachiever. I got good grades; I didn't cut class; the teachers liked me... So when I think about being one of the many bloggers and blog-readers spending work time hanging out with their "Internet friends," I suddenly feel like one of the greasers sneaking out for a smoke behind the auditorium during study hall. It seems pretty pathetic to hit my "I'm a rebel" phase at 31, but I guess I always was a late bloomer.

* I'm fairly sure the suits and ties had something to do with his frequent meetings with Student Senate (of which he was president our senior year), but I like to think he wore them simply out of an old-fashioned respect for the institution of learning, like in movies set on campuses in the mid-1900s, where professors never wore jeans and always referred to students as "Mr. So-and-So" and "Miss Whatever-Her-Name."


Poppy Cede said...

Yours 30s are your decade to stop caring less about what others think, so if you look at it that way, you've always had the drive to slack in the background of your brain, and now you're letting your natural self out! High school and college just are not real world representation. We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it's only natural that we'd blow off some steam there. Or, at least that's what I tell myself as I check my 35+ blogs a day and post about whatever happens to cross my mind while sitting at my desk pretending to work. :)

Poppy Cede said...

Did I just say stop caring less? I meant to stop caring, or to care less. Proofreading is my friend. See? If this had gone to your big shot Alex P. Keaton he would have thought your president was a moron! :)

stefanie said...

So what you're saying, Poppy, is that I'm actually a natural underachiever and I should decide to just embrace that? Ordinarily I might find that depressing, but since I just made an anti-resolution to be at peace with my lazy self, I'm going to go with it. Thanks!

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