Agency

This promis­es to cov­er lots of ground in leaps and bounds. I am on­ce again hav­ing the same trou­bles with agen­cy that I’ve been hav­ing all my life. The first read­ing at Mass yes­ter­day was the sto­ry of Abraham and Isaac, one which has caused no end of prob­lems for no end of thought­ful per­sons over the years. After Mass, I went home and bust­ed out Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and reread bits and pieces of it, search­ing for a hint about what was bug­ging me from the read­ing. I didn’t ex­act­ly find it there, but I did re­mem­ber some­thing I as­sim­i­lat­ed some­time in the mists of the past.

I re­mem­ber be­ing taught that since God has given us every­thing that is our ex­is­tence, when he re­quires it back from us, we should will­ing­ly give it. If that is true, all right. But es­sen­tial­ly it seems to in­di­cate that we have no agen­cy of our own. If every­thing is a gift from God, none of my ac­tions and ef­forts earn me any­thing. No mat­ter how hard I work I ul­ti­mate­ly have to de­pend on some­one else for ap­proval. This might sound like a “life is un­fair” whine, but my main com­plaint is that I feel like I have no proof that my ac­tion A will re­sult in ef­fect B.

It re­al­ly shouldn’t be a sur­prise that I’m cur­rent­ly dis­sat­is­fied; the job in­ter­view process re­quires ex­ten­sive amounts of ef­fort and stress but ul­ti­mate­ly places all pow­er in the hand of the prospec­tive em­ploy­er. To my cur­rent em­ploy­er I’m noth­ing more than a re­source to be ex­ploit­ed for as hard and long as pos­si­ble. This week­end I ran in­to a neigh­bor and he men­tioned that I’d been bitch­ing on my blog and said it in such a way that I felt he thought I had no right to be dis­sat­is­fied with my life as it stands. So I sup­pose I haven’t ef­fec­tive­ly ar­tic­u­lat­ed my dis­sat­is­fac­tion.

The co­nun­drum: I want to feel like the work that I do earns me the means to live a life that I en­joy. I want to end each day feel­ing that I have ac­com­plished some­thing worth­while and con­grat­u­late my­self for that and reen­er­gize for the next day’s ac­com­plish­ment. Yet my cur­rent lot does not provide any of the­se things. The job seach ex­ac­er­bates this feel­ing of help­less­ness be­cause it is ba­si­cal­ly beg­ging dressed up in a tie. My pride re­sents that. But how do I find a path that fills me with agen­cy?

I’ve al­ways want­ed to be in full con­trol of my­self, and I know that in some ways my life would be much more var­ied if I let loose a lit­tle, cared a lit­tle less about my feel­ings and those of oth­ers. Trusted more. Whatever. The times I’ve at­tempt­ed this usu­al­ly end­ed painful­ly. I don’t want to de­pend on some­one else’s ap­proval to live my life.

I think this means I should be self-em­ployed. But what to do and how to af­ford it? I’ve got no ideas on that ac­count. I’ve got a phone in­ter­view with a place in NYC to­day, and hope­ful­ly an­oth­er one will be lined up by the end of the week. I’ve got­ten more ac­tion from NYC in a week than I did in 9 months in Cleveland. Places there seem to like my re­sume, which is nice to hear; I’d been start­ing to think it wasn’t any good. I’m tired of be­ing less than my best by some­one else’s leave. I’m flail­ing around, try­ing to grab on to some sort of rock to steady me, but I have to be my own rock. As much as I cher­ish my self-re­liance, it feels aw­ful­ly stale some­times.

5 thoughts on “Agency

  1. Adam,
    There might be a job open­ing up at ND that you may or may not be in­ter­est­ed in. Catch me on IM for more de­tails.

  2. I try to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween my au­ton­o­my as an agent who can please hu­mans (in­clud­ing my­self) and who can please God. In fact, my un­der­stand­ing of the Bible leads me to be­lieve I’m in­ca­pable of pleas­ing God with­out God do­ing it through me, any­way. Theoretically, this shouldn’t im­pinge on the im­por­tance of agen­cy and its ef­fects in this world.

    As far as jobs and self-re­liance are con­cerned, I feel ya. I think you have to find a *re­al­ly* spe­cial place to not feel like a re­source. Interested in any­thing at on​base​.com/​j​obs? Can’t promise ya much but a rec­om­men­da­tion…

  3. I’ve looked at Hyland be­fore and I just don’t have the tech­ni­cal knowl­edge that they want. Thanks for the sug­ges­tion though.

  4. (catch­ing up af­ter be­ing on va­ca­tion)

    Don’t let any­one tell you you don’t have a right to be un­hap­py with your cur­rent job. Having a job that sucks makes your life suck. I know be­cause I used to have one- I worked in a brain­less job for a hor­ri­ble bitch who de­rived joy out of screw­ing her em­ploy­ees and play­ing with their minds. Now I have a great job with a great boss and I’m much hap­pier. So, yea, keep on keep­ing on.

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