I have authority issues.

On one hand, I sometimes (see: always) struggle with people telling me what to do. It’s like I hear it, and then something deep, deep inside of me – like in my skin and bones and blood – wants to do the EXACT opposite. I’m sure a therapist would have a heyday with that one. My very first university drama instructor, who, by the way, was batshit cray*, called me a “natural dissident,” and since I didn’t want him to see me mad, I said, “THANKS!”

So, me at a job goes a little like this:

The boss gives me an order:


And I’m like:


That’s how it goes in my head, anyway. Usually I’m way more passive-aggressive in real life.


That’s only really the case when I don’t like my boss because they’re rude or condescending or they’re just trying to get me to do their job because they don’t feel like it or they’re too lazy or inept.

When I do like my boss, I have the exact opposite feelings. Not only do I want them to be happy with my work, but I want to be working ALL THE TIME, lest they think I’m a lazy ass or a bad employee. I think this stems from two things:

  1. I’m a people pleaser (more on this on another day)
  2. I’m a freelancer, so I’m used to being ON THE CLOCK when I’m working (as in tracking every minute) so that I can invoice my clients fairly and properly.
  3. (Really more like 2b.) I’m not used to the natural downtime that happens throughout the day at an office job because I’ve barely ever worked at one.

And also, this one time, my boss told me to play solitaire on the computer while she was trying to prep a new task for me, and this other bitch in the office went to the executive director and told him I was a lazy ass and a bad employee playing solitaire all day.

The result? I cannot calm down at work.

As soon as I finish a task, I fidget and start looking over my shoulder to make sure no one thinks I’m slacking. I feel guilty when I go to the bathroom and worry it’s not appropriate for me to leave the room or take a break at lunch. I feel like I need to SUPER HIDE the fact that I check my personal email a few times a day. I obsess. It’s brutal.

I started my new part-time job this week, and it took me all of two days to realize something: no one is as worried about my productivity (or anything about me) as I am. I realized this when I noticed that everyone around me wears jeans, while I wear dress trousers. I realized this when I was editing a paper and eating a granola bar and when my boss walked into the room, he apologized for interrupting my snack. (!!) I realized this when my office mate showed me a YouTube video of a wicked origami dragon he’s making.

Like, omg, Andrea, it’s okay. Be normal. Be cool.

Lesson: I need to learn to chill the fuck out and let myself breathe.


*I NEVER say “cray,” so you know I really mean it.