What Have I Done?

I had a strange dream last night, in which a former supervisor of mine came into my office to ask me to explain what I’d been doing.

Years ago, I worked for The Company™, as a tech writer.  It was okay work, when I actually got a chance to do it.  Most of the time, I was busy either doing work that was not in my job description, or avoiding work entirely.  I learned very early that I was the proverbial fifth wheel – that extra mouth at the table that no one remembered inviting, but one that they couldn’t bring themselves to ask to leave, either.  I shouldn’t sound so negative about it; I mean, my supervisor managed to keep me on staff for a good four years after he realized that he didn’t need me, and I did make a good amount of coinage in the process.  At the same time, however, every attempt I made to relocate to a more meaningful spot – you know, going someplace where I actually was needed – was met with stiff resistance by the gods of Human Resources, and in the end, I was just left to rot, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  When an opportune time came along for me to leave, I did so with little ill-will.  I got what I wanted, they got what they wanted, and that was that.

Life moves on.  That’s what they say, at least.

That was a very long time ago – which is why my former supervisor’s sudden appearance in my nocturnal world was a bit startling.  It wasn’t a casual conversation, either; he was my supervisor, and he wanted to know what I’d been doing.  In the dream, I was working in a cubicle – far larger than the one I actually had at the time – and it was late evening.  It was time for annual evaluations, and I’d just received a call from my supervisor that he was on his way to my cube to talk with me about mine.  There was a weird 1980s vibe to the whole thing – the lighting, our clothes, the music being played on the office PA system, yet it wasn’t 30 years ago.  It was now.  When my supervisor arrived, he was all business – he was going to take care of this issue here and now.  It struck me as odd that he seemed so much younger than I’d remembered.  And what really stands out for me was that throughout the whole dream, I was petrified that I didn’t have anything  of value to show for my time.

Not company time, mind you.  My time – existence itself.  And I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

How do you dream that you’re about to be fired . . . from life?

I don’t know how the dream ended; I awoke while I was still fumbling for an answer.

Weird.

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