Surviving The Matrix: Year One

Surviving The Matrix: Year One

A year ago today, I left my new house with a bag lunch in my hand, dorktastic clothes on my body, 10-year-old dress shoes on my feet and a massive knot in my stomach. After years of building a career on my own terms, I was, at age 40, taking an unwanted but necessary detour into Corporate America, where I would earn a living as a sunlight-deprived, business-casual-wearing, cubicle-dwelling web developer.

It’s not easy to pretend you’re Mr. Anderson when you know you’re really Neo.

It took a while before I stopped having anxiety attacks at my new job — anxiety brought on by the realization that I had no fucking clue how to do what it was I’d been hired to do, as well as a suffocating fear that, after years of eluding capture, I would now spend the rest of my life plugged into The Matrix.

Many weeks passed before I felt comfortable enough in my new environment to do anything other than job-related work on my computer. Paying bills online, reading and commenting on blogs, writing for my own blog … suddenly, all of that no longer was a part of my work day. I felt like a claustrophobic rat trapped in a cage. A small cage. With no sunlight. Some might even call it a cubicle.

A year later, things are better. For starters, it turns out I apparently do have a fucking clue how to do what it was I was hired to do, and have managed to do it well enough that my boss slipped me a surprise bonus last week. Does that make me feel any better about being trapped in The Matrix? In a word: No … but it does make it easier to endure this gig while I plot my escape.

To that end, the blog is back in action, and, whenever possible, I’m reading, writing and commenting from behind enemy lines — and based on the aforementioned bonus, I’m managing to do so while simultaneously keeping my corporate overlords happy.

But rest assured: It’s only a matter of time before I kung-fu my way out of this bitch.

There is no spoon.

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