If I were to give career advice to someone, I would gently tell them not to write something entitled “I do not want to work” then post that something in a place occupied by most of their potential future employers. I would tell them that it would be a silly thing to do, no matter how strongly they felt about their desire not to work.
It is frankly baffling, then, that I have decided to write this — a piece, on how I do not want to work — with the intention of posting it in a place occupied by most of my potential future employers. Still, here we are.
There are many reasons why I do not want to work. The first one is that I have spent the past 18 months forcing myself to do or not do things I wanted to do or not do, and I have run out of self-discipline. I did not see my friends when it was the thing I wanted to do the most in the world and I stayed at home when the idea of doing so made me want to scream until my lungs gave out.
The only things I want to do now are, well, things I want to do. I do not want to force myself to do anything anymore. I want all the carrots and none of the stick, and work at the moment does not feel even remotely like a carrot. I want ice cream for breakfast and to go to the cinema every afternoon, and I want nothing else.
The second reason why I do not want to work is that work is boring and I spent so many months being bored that I never want to be bored again, for as long as I live. I spent hours that felt like days and days that felt like months trying to find ways to entertain myself, alone in my flat. I am no longer alone or, for the most part, in my flat, and I demand to be entertained by the outside world, at all times.
I want bright lights and loud sounds and dopamine, so much dopamine, enough dopamine for my brain to drown itself in it. Work requires me to build my own thoughts but I hate my own thoughts. They were all I had for a very long time and I have grown tired of them. There is nothing I can think about that will surprise or delight me. I want the outside world to do that to me instead.
I do not want to work because work feels normal, and I don’t feel normal, I haven’t felt normal in a very long time. I have an office and a desk and I take the tube every morning and evening but it all feels like a masquerade, like everyone is playing a part for the sake of it.
Work is normal but I cannot remember what normal felt like, because it has been too long, and I cannot remember if normal always felt this dull. Would I feel better if normal felt different? I have no idea. Would I feel better if I felt normal? Who knows. Is my unhappiness caused by the normality of the situation creating friction with my distinctly not normal self? Your guess is as good as mine.
I do not want to work and, really, I am not entirely sure why. I spent hours and days and months thinking of this, of being back at my desk in my office, of normal life, and now I am here and I am not happy about it.
Life stopped for a year and a half because of an unpleasant pause and I wish we could now press pause again but only to do the things we want to do, the things we missed and the things that make us happy. It does not feel fair that everything happened then, at the end, nothing changed.
I did not want to work so I wrote this instead; I have to bring it to an end because, really, I do need to get back to work. I do not want to but well, what can you do?