The guy at the entry was buzzing people in and out through a rotating wheel. The guy behind the glass and the counter was checking forms. The three people at the desks were also engaged in the same activities. The man at the first desk was making photocopies of a passport. The women at the desk next to his had just finished talking to a client and was looking out the window. The man at the third desk was running from his desk to a hallway and back again. The fourth desk was empty. Some of the people were even wearing the same clothes. It was the perfect set up for a Twilight Zone episode, or at least, some serious déjà vu.
At this point, I start thinking how terrible it must be to have such a job. When things are the same day after day after day and the employee is filling out paperwork that doesn’t make any sense and that doesn’t help anyone in anyway, I would find that to be my own personal hell. Give me some variety, some creativity, something more… Basically, I want the antithesis of bureaucracy in my job and life.
But then I notice that, while a miasma of boredom hung over the work place, no one was particularly unhappy. They seemed to joke with each other and smile, and I thought to wat someone once wrote to me on Facebook – “Not everyone wants to make the world a better place.” Applied to this context, maybe not everyone wants a job that is challenging, changing and involves being creative. Maybe there are people who find what they do to be exciting enough. While this particular bureaucratic office provided me with nothing, it did provide them with a sense of identity and a way to make a living. Maybe that is all that matters for some people, for many people or even for most people.
After all, change may mean having to learn new things and make an effort toward becoming something more or at least something different, and many people are just fine with who they are. Even those who are not fine with who they are may be unwilling to make the effort that life requires to become something different. Whatever the case may be, I realized that it shouldn’t be up to me to judge what a person finds worthwhile in a job and in a life. If someone is content with him or herself, that should be good enough for me, and if he or she isn’t content, it isn’t any of my business… Unless it is because of something I have direct power over and/or he or she asks for help – even then, it is something that I should be careful with engaging in. Every day may be the same in a bureaucracy, but maybe that is how people like it.