I always jokingly refer to jobs I’ve had in the past as being from “another lifetime”. I never put much thought into it when I say it, but looking back I think I can definitively say that I’m not the same person I was a year ago, two years ago, or even six months ago.
One of the main reasons I don’t consider myself the same Kasra as the one who was doing X or Y N years ago, is that I always completely dedicate myself myself to what I do. I have quite a long resume for someone my age (humblebrag), but even for the mindless jobs I’ve had (hello, retail) I made it a necessity to make it my entire life. Each version of my self, working at each of the lines from my resume, completely considered the work it was doing to be the most important thing around.
This is kind of a double edged sword, in one sense it means I kick ass at what I do and do it well, but in the other, looking from the outside in, it is very clear that somethings do not need to be considered so important and should just be let go of at the end of the day. That’s just the thing though, I (we? all of the collective versions of myself) just flat out can’t do that.
The most telling example of this is when I worked retail. I was a low level employee handling the printing department of a technology store, yet on countless occasions I came home late and feeling like absolute shit because so-and-so over promised on an order and we weren’t able to finish it on time, leading to a disappointed customer. You may think that my emotions don’t necessarily mean I was taking my work home with me, but just mean I’m just an empathetic person
Well, most empathetic people wouldn’t immediately start creating a new customer management system to allow better tracking of orders, which would hopefully fix the root cause of the issue. But that’s exactly what I did. During a weekend, while working a close to minimum wage job, in my off hours. In retrospect, that’s time I could’ve clearly spent doing anything else to unwind, spending time with my girlfriend, watching TV, or even just playing with my dog. But that’s just crazy talk.
To be able to dedicate myself fully to a job, I need to first convince myself that my job is important and worth my time. Usually this is manifested by ignoring all the glaring issues visible when first joining a company. When I was at a social games company, I noticed some big issues right off the bat ranging from process to colliding views between management. However, if I didn’t ignore them, it’d be illogical for me to convince myself that the company was the most important thing in my life. I ended up spending nine months working there, even though I only “worked” 40 hours. I took my work home with me every single day.
Looking back at anything I was doing back then, and this must be two or three years in the past at this point, both work-related and not, I just flat out can’t connect with my past self.
Because to connect with that version of my self, I first need to be somewhere in the range of the same mindset I was in at that point. To do this, I first need to acknowledge that priority #0 on my list during that entire time was my job, and that’s simply not something I can now do, seeing how the second I left that job all the issues I first noticed (plus the compounded ones that later appeared) came to surface from hiding. It’s hilarious to think that the job was that important to me, and as a result, “game company Kasra” (and the nine months worth of life experience he has) is a completely disjoint person from me now.
None of this might make sense to you. It didn’t to me until quite recently. How could I possibly not be the same person I was 2 or 3 years ago? Well, other than the weight loss, the emotional changes, the location change, everything else should be the same! This is what I told myself until I started really investigating the idea of self. In doing this, I learned a lot of different possible theories, but the one that made the most sense to me is the Bundle Theory, excuse the Wikipedia link, but I’m on a delayed subway at the moment and can’t quite come up with the words to eloquently explain the concept.
Damn am I happy I stumbled upon it. Everything makes sense now, and even the phrases I jokingly say seem real. Maybe a past version of me already subconsciously knew that this was the case? I’m glad I finally know why I can’t easily connect fully to all the other Kasra Rahjerdis I remember.
Oh, by the way, if you’ve ever dedicated yourself fully to your job (which most people who have had to do things on tight deadlines have done in the past), you can probably notice the obvious issues with my method and the lead up for that bad word burnout, I’ll hopefully do a post soon about how that’s not an issue for me at my current company.