How it happened
My life has taken a drastic turn for the better in that last year. Before I started working for a bank in Boston, I worked in a call center. It doesn’t really matter what the job was, all that matters is eating hot tar was more pleasurable than the alternative. I worked there for a mind-numbing 5 years. If you know me, you’ll understand that complacency is not one of my top 5 or even 20 attributes. It was a steady job with benefits, but the main reason for the long span was that it pigeon-holed me. You couldn’t really progress up the corporate ladder, due to the politics being so pervasive. The job also didn’t qualify you for much in the way of transferable skills. I would take calls throughout the day, but not consecutively unless it was during our 4th quarter. We would have spurts of busy times but mostly, there was a lot of downtime. So, I used the time to do homework from grad school, learn new skills to qualify for better work and watch Youtube.
Why did I watch so much?!
Yes, I could watch Youtube daily at my job. This place wasn’t exactly the shining beacon of hope when it came to running an organization. Managers were typically too flustered with their minimal work load in addition to micromanaging everything from phone calls to bathroom breaks. I kid you not, in fact one time, my bathroom break was scrutinized by my manager. I went to the bathroom and came back 20 minutes later. We were typically allotted two 15-minute breaks each day, but those weren’t supposed to include visiting the local urinal (sorry ladies, it’s a guy writing, what did you expect?). When I returned from my adventure to the porcelain monument, my boss instant messaged me the second I sat down. She inquired where I had gone since there were calls holding. I responded that I had gone to the bathroom. Of course, I really wanted to respond with it’s none of your damn business you snaggle-tooth beast, but a saner response prevailed. Being the walking HR complaint, she was, that question was followed up with “everything come out okay?”. Not only was she attempting to make a terrible joke, but she was totally sideswiping any workplace professionalism.
I apologize for the tangent, but not completely. You’ve wasted this much time reading my drivel, so you might as well just continue. That was only one striking example for my impetus to use Youtube for a distraction from the misery.
A shift in priorities
It started out as just a way to kill time and as an alternative to read financial publications all day. While I’m an avid reader, sometimes I just wanted to melt my brain into sludge and not have to think. Enter Youtube, the epitome of time wasting. Let me clarify because it can be an extremely useful tool in learning just about anything. I mean really, from clipping your toenails the most efficient way to how to play on the train tracks safely (okay, maybe not that latter one, but give it time and I’m sure there will be one). But let’s be honest, you can waste a lot of minutes surfing for cat and freak-out videos.
After a while, I really began to sink into my pathetic cry baby depression state from working in a call center. I used Youtube as an escape and watched other people make videos while enjoying their life (queue violin and female hygiene jokes). I watched everything from gym prank videos, to some weird phenomenon called ASMR, to people getting haircuts in Japan. I couldn’t tell you why I watched some of the content I did, other than my speculation that mold spores were coming out of the vents and I was in a constant state of delirium.
Just when I would almost forget how miserable I was, my oinker of a manager would remind me to change my diaper and take the phone call that was holding.
My days went from thinking about what types of phone calls I was going to get (I’m kidding, I didn’t really give a rat’s Aston Martin) to what videos I was going to view that day. At one point, I was just living like a rebel without a cause; intentionally missing calls, putting people on hold to finish a video (or start one). I would even blatantly hang up on people if their voice irked me enough as to avoid them and watch Youtube instead.
All good things must come to an end…or do they?
After about 3 years of some solid Youtube viewing, management began to crack down on employees’ usage. Now, I couldn’t care less about that job except for losing it; I did just enough to keep the job and nothing more. But if I was management, which meant that they cared only slightly more than I did, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I mean when I reflect on it, it was bananas that I was allowed to watch it in the first place. Most of my co-workers simply ceased watching Youtube and I would just call them quitters. Just because the rules changed, doesn’t mean you quit the game, right? Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to and I’ll be damned if management was going to force me to work instead of watching Epic Meal Time.
So, I became highly skilled in the art of clandestine Youtube watching. The first change I implemented was where my seat was located. I had to have my back facing a wall or window so that management couldn’t sneak up on me. I also made sure to sit at the end of the row, so I essentially had to concern myself with only one direction of a manager stumbling my way. That setup allowed me to rely solely on my peripheral vision to spot a gurgling troll (also known as a manager there) headed my way.
The second half of this covert mission was training myself to become an expert in manipulating my screens to hide Youtube. We had dual monitors, so I would always keep the video on the screen facing away from the pathway where one could walk down. I was faster than a gun slinger in the Wild West when it came to switching windows around with my keyboard. Lastly, I would always keep just one earbud in (again, the one not open to the pathway) as to make it less obvious.
Well, this has turned into more of a tutorial in how to furtively watch Youtube at work, but it all ties into how it was my saving grace. Hey, don’t judge me, I got an MBA, got married and had two kids during that stint; I was very productive. I also learned html and CSS, but literally forgot all of it. So, use this article to comfort yourself, avoid working or achieve being the worst worker in your office. The choice is yours.
Till next ride