Armadillo Overture

A Faustian Dear Penthouse letter.
To start off, I am not, nor do I work for a necromancer or astrologer, or whatever it was Faust was doing before Mephistopheles showed up. Like many others, I work for a digital agency trying its best to milk the living shit out of people’s screen addiction to make money.
Is it unique? No. Is it heinous and amoral? No. Is it even remotely successful, or at the very least, good? Absolutely fucking not.
It’s a starting job for me as a recent grad, so mainly I’m happy to be earning a salary. The collateral damage of exhaustion, almost sleep-driving through my commute, and entirely disregarding my personal taste level so far is fine. I don’t know how Boomers did it for years on end, though. I owe no loyalties to a company that works in a counter-logical, dysfunctional way on the daily. Our team is small, and stretched to every single wit’s end. The Creative Director is a standard one-man-show type. Has to put his touch on everything, and then wonders why it takes time to clean up his messes. I also have a personal aversion to Wordpress. I feel as though it’s outdated and super user unfriendly. It takes forever to make something, then make it work, then make it look good. Not to mention the unrealistic deadlines. A website has to be made in 2 days, all the while working without data, and dealing with clients who refuse to learn new terminology, like an API key.
Making delineations between hustle culture and Faustus selling his soul is pretty easy. Faust’s pursuit of knowledge has been painted as both noble, and irrevocably corrupted. Personally, I’ve never warped my self-worth with productivity, at least not to the extent of feeling guilty for not working. Feeling guilty in general, that’s totally fine. But in any case, I love the work of creating. Making a website isn’t the world’s greatest achievement by any stretch of the definition. But the idea of making a product that improves people’s relationship and interactions with digital landscapes, tools, or each other has always sat well with me. I don’t get to do any of that here. Here, I get blindsided by design changes, and have to move mountains to try and work from home for a day.
I’m sure the idea of curating a digital presence is smart for some people. I know cases where people have been passed over for jobs because of some bullshit tweet or otherwise. But I don’t see the point in it. If my chances of landing a gig hinder on me saying Free Palestine then I don’t want that gig. Who’s out there stalking me on anything other than LinkedIn? Who’s gonna read this blog post and worry I might say something bad about their company? Why do they even care? Being a socialist or making Marxist jokes feels hollow at this point. If you’re only goal is to make money, then you’ll do whatever it takes. If you (like me) are trying to find some kind of fulfilment through work, it doesn’t seem to care if you make a living or not.
Am I trying to make a point here? Unclear. I didn’t just write this to rag on my employer. I came to diss the entire idea of hindering emotional, financial, and professional stability on a single career. You’re probably thinking that’s where side hustles and passive income come in. And you’d be right, but why here? Because a traditional career path doesn’t offer all 3. You’d be lucky to get 2, right? But that’s just more capitalist manipulation of your passions and your time. If things don’t make money, they’re not worth doing apparently.
So where do I go from here? Do I go full comrade and refuse materialism all together? That won’t get me anywhere, if anything I’ll just go back to being a burden on my parents. Do I suck it up and stay enslaved by corporate overlords? I’m only at the beginning of that life, and I already refuse to go any further. Do I hustle endlessly to turn my passions into lifeless, capital-gaining ventures? I don’t want to hate the few things I’m passionate about. What’s left then?
Mephistopheles, are you there?
I managed to snag a day “working from home” just to go run errands. Apparently, we abuse remote working so it’s almost never a palatable idea to bring up to my boss. He thinks I’m going to Sahel, I wish I was going to Sahel. Or anywhere with a beach and lower levels of air/noise/light pollution. Aly should send me the Telda brief tonight for me to hand over this weekend. I’m beyond excited because I think I know what they want, but if I don’t go past this stage then it’s back to square 1 of looking for other jobs again.
A never-ending fucking rat race. More people around me seem to be getting into the idea of freelancing. It’s cool and all, but I doubt it would work for me. At least, not UX/UI specifically. Hopefully, I’ll be able to freelance scenery work and make decent money off that. But that’s for when I can afford to have my soul back. It’s 3:24PM right now, and I wanna kill the next 3 hours as fast as I can. Working would be a good start probably, but I know there’s really nothing to do without Mahdy actually figuring out what he wants first. In all honesty, I just need a fucking nap.
I’m really sick of the soul-crushing cycle that is job applications. I send out applications without even thinking about it anymore. When Telda called, I’d forgotten I even tried out for that. At the very least, I’ve finally gotten a Congrats email, even if it was just to be shortlisted. Baby steps it seems. The task I did for Telda looks pretty sick, so even if I don’t get it, I can just change the name/logo and post it on Dribbble & Figma and all that jazz. I keep zoning out. The whole day I’ve been pretty zombified. It’s a different day than when I wrote the last 2 paragraphs.
I came back to work yesterday after taking 2 weeks off for COVID reasons. Apparently things have gotten worse at the office. Mahdy started deducting people’s pay for being late, he also deducted 6 days off my 2 weeks, which I think is an atrocious show of his character. Touqa is leaving at the end of this month. She says it’s because Mahdy is closing the design branch of Armadillo to only focus on the digital. I know that’s a lie since Tony told me months ago Mahdy wanted to get rid of her, but whatever. She’s getting married soon, so she’s not too mad about it.
We’re all thinking of leaving. Sandy wants to ride out a couple more months, Tony says he’ll leave once he’s done with his Full Stack course. I was hoping to leave at the end of this month, especially now that I got paid for June, as well as my down payment for Underground Social.
On Monday August 2nd, I gave in my 2 weeks notice. Well 2 and a half really since it was still a Monday. I couldn’t feel better about finally making the move to leave.

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