A Week of Thoughts #9

Hello again, Yet another thing I would like to hash out before the year closes. Dreaming of the workplace is much like dreaming of your old neighbourhood, both of them are strange for being so familiar; both settings are diving boards for the plot to take a dire fall into baffling territory. There is something tiring, terrifying about the frequency of my ‘work dreams’. In last week’s dream, I left work mid-shift, quietly, and the guilt of it all made it freaky-real, and ruby dark. In the one before, I climbed into a delivery truck in order to escape, again, mid-shift. There was another, where I moved in next door, and my manager kept knocking on my door. I held a 1-1 intervention for Kanye West in the staff room once, was chased into work after stealing jewellery from a bakery, was on the shop floor in the middle of the night in a church suit, and there was one where my manager was holding viewings for two dead lions that we were keeping in the work chiller. Needless to say, there is a running theme: one that has distorted itself through trying to stretch over every kind of plot: that is the palpability of the real-life dread I feel about working, where there is a door I can’t just leave through until commanded, where if I stand by the storefront, I can watch bus after bus leaving without me. Thank God then, that work dreams are supposed to be nightmares.  “We dream about the things that are on our minds, or situations that are troubling us the most,” said the ‘professional dream analyst’ Lauri Loewenberg– which is fairly obvious, but a key indicator that I dream so much of my job because I indeed hate it. I dream about work so often because I am so often there, and therefore, so often troubled by it. It is a signal that I am debilitated by, fearful even, of working out of necessity, and the wider issue of having to do things I don’t really wanna. But there’s a little more to it. There are three things that are apparently needed for ‘psychological satisfaction’, and the absence of any one, more or all of the three create issues that play out in dreams. ‘Competence’– your capability in chasing and catching your dreams, ‘Relatedness’– your feeling of belonging, and ‘Autonomy’– your sense of freedom and choice. These are the things we seek out in life-spanning careers, and so, I am realising what has happened here. In my dreams, my nearly full time fleeting job is ridiculed for being inept in meeting the prescribed needs, as if there was the expectation that it would. “If you have dreams that you’re trapped or stuck, you may not feel like you have any autonomy in your workday.” So, I really dream so often about work, because I don’t have the patience, or ability to make nice with where I currently am– surprise. Instead I am yearning for the big three, when I am not yet supposed to have them, code cracked. As mentioned, there is the idea that work dreams– otherwise known as stress dreams, are things that need ending by our own measly means. ‘Exercise’, ‘Healthy eating’, ‘Meditation’ and all of the other things so flippantly reeled off, will help. I like to think of these things as closing the lid on a box of crabs. Your issues will grow angry for being ignored. It took writing this, to figure out why I am so haunted by a place that means little to me. Presumably, if I choose to accept work, then the dreams will possibly cease, if we are working under the assumption that I want them to. But gone with them will be their meaningful bizarreness, and less to ask God about.

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