A letter to the office zombie

cartoon zombie by desk
Photo credit: Plants vs. Zombies

Dear office zombie,

It happens—your brain cells decay. Your neck is stiff, and your wrists are sore as you stare at the screen, typing on autopilot. You glance at the time, counting the minutes until this torment ends. Every so often, you mindlessly scroll through your endless newsfeed, desperately looking for an escape. Hoping something out there will give you the dopamine you need. 

The colour on your cheeks drains. Bags grow under your eyes. The process is so natural, so slow, that you don’t even realize this is happening. 

In the back of your mind, a voice is screaming, telling you to get out. Telling you that this is wrong. You ignore that voice. It’s too much to bear. I must keep doing this, trying to convince yourself. It’ll be over soon.

But it doesn’t get better. 

As you vegetate, your humanity starts to fade. You were once a person. Someone with ambitions, dreams, and a name. Was it Bob? Martha? It doesn’t matter. In this corporate space, you’re no more than a cog in a machine.

When you come home; you’re spent. All you want to do is watch TV. The day ends fast, and the cycle continues.

I was once like you. I didn’t think much about my work. I was passive, allowing others to dictate my role. Before I knew it, I became a corporate zombie. One day, I realized it didn’t have to be this way. 

So, I quit my job. 

Asides from bringing home a paycheque, my past job did little for my well-being. I wasn’t problem-solving, thinking, or using my brain very much. (It’s no wonder zombies are hungry for brains.) 

I am now better and no longer a zombie.

It took a while to get here, but now I found something that works for me. For one, I realized that I deserved better. I could no longer afford to live on autopilot. Finding stimulating work requires effort. These jobs do exist.

After quitting my job, I focused on my hobbies, the things that energized me. I also explored what’s out there and asked a ton of questions. Eventually, I stumbled across an opportunity that supported my autonomy and creativity. 

Today, I still work at an office job, but I’m much better off.

When things get boring (which happens), I see them as red flags. To avoid decaying, I try to be assertive and look at ways to make my role more interesting. Suggesting new initiatives where I can make an impact, saying “no” to work I don’t like, taking classes, and talking to my coworkers and those outside my team have helped.  

The lesson that I got from becoming a zombie is this: life is too short to be disengaged. 

Yours truly, 

A former office zombie

P.S. I wrote this letter in response to this blog (written by my former and more naïve self).

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