The Tragedy of a Desk Jockey

The Tragedy of a Desk Jockey

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, poetry specifically has always called to me with a deep well of need. I thought desk life was going to be my destiny, and this belief became more clear through my job pursuits - customer service, ad service assistant, social media management - and a hobby writing on the side. At the onset of pain in my wrists while working chat support, I fed the belief that pain was inevitable. I believed my discomfort would grow, conquer and envelope my body slowly over time. Years of customer service work from behind a computer screen broke my spirit, crippled my writing dreams, and ostracized me from the face to face interaction I desperately craved.

Desk life had me feeling trapped. In pain, in repetition, and fueled me with a redundant lack of fulfillment. I believed myself to be dying inside, and out more quickly from behind a desk.

I had adapted the belief that ageing had to be painful, drawn out in a slow meaningless desk bound life. Customer service will quickly eradicate your self worth if you'll let it. Especially behind inanimate object telephones and screens.

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) can be caused by repetitive motion. RSI becomes pain, becomes maintenance, becomes debt, becomes stress, becomes pain. This cycle was repeating for me daily and growing ever more bothersome the more hours I was chained to my desk. I was told at 25, 26, and 27 that this was a part of the ageing process, I’d need physical therapy and maybe even surgery.

I refuse to believe that with a quarter of my life behind me I am doomed to spend whatever time I have left with building, intensifying constant pain. After I had wrist pain erupt at 25, ergonomic evaluations only slightly decreased the burning sensations that shackled my wrists and forearms, tugging at my shoulders and neck, settling into my upper back and traps as a low grade and daily budding tension headache. I know from years of sitting with minimal activity is a factor in why my lower and mid back would ache. I believed these nagging injuries were the permanent side effects of desk life.

I tried life changes. I switched to running on breaks trying to get my blood flowing and counter the hours of sitting with moderate activity. At some point I even upgraded to a standing desk after a car accident because position changes were the only thing that made the desk life tolerable.

I transitioned to a new company, new chairs new keyboards new setup. It took 3 months for the tension headaches to start and my pinkies and ring fingers go numb while my wrists burned constantly. Again, ergonomics. Slight improvement. Upgraded once again to a sit to stand-up desk. This process took 6 months, all of which included physical therapy as the constant sitting flared my pelvic floor condition, Interstitial Cystitis.

Working at a desk, I cried sometimes daily if the duration was longer than a couple hours. I felt myself wasting away while I worked for someone else's gain. I could barely make ends meet for a reliable paycheck to paycheck pain riddled cycle.

How’d I change the rhythmic pattern of pain and work?

I was finally able to permanently break the cycle with The Rossiter System. Through my work with a Rossiter trained coach I was able to eradicate most of my pain while continuing to maintain full time hours at my desk job.

This work was so powerful and so effective I learned the techniques and decided to pursue a new career as a Rossiter Coach. Through this decision I could bring me back to my love of writing while I sought out to pursue a path in bodywork. This change will continue to assist and educate others on ways to work out of their own pain naturally. This system changed my life so much I changed my career pursuits from a broadcast journalism dream to that of a bodyworker by day and creative writer on the side. In The Rossiter System, as a coach, I’ve found the freedom to grow my own business and pursue my new career goals and hobbies while working as a desk jockey.

I’ve adapted new habits like foam rolling, Yamuna body rolling, and foundation training (see the links to these modalities below). I'm now a Rossiter Coach and though I still hold a part time desk job I no longer feel 3 times my age because I use this system for myself and my clients. Writing as a hobby is no longer a physically taxing chore but a passion again. I am able to restore gaps in my social life that were previously filled with pain and pain management. My busy life does require body maintenance and self care but with the tools I've learned and knowing motion is lotion I will continue to spread awareness.

I hear the past calling to me and reminding me not to make the same mistakes woman of history did. It's why I've found myself changing careers, simplifying my life and refusing to live on a deadline at a desk.

I wish to break free from this need to work ourselves to death. I want to believe we can find happiness along the way and be passionate about our daily lives and our careers. I believe people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain. I choose to believe that self care means taking care of yourself not just fluffy feel good things either, truly caring for the body you live in and being as comfortable as possible in it. I want to believe we are capable of more than just paycheck to paycheck suffering. I want to adopt new beliefs leaving behind the thought that we're doomed to repeat history with mistakes like this through suffering agonizing pain all for a cheap dollar.

The Tragedy of a Desk Jockey

Have you ever heard?

The horror,

The story?

Remember, repeat

Illyse Kusnetz warned

The Matchstick Girl tragedy.

Phosphorus girls of the matchstick factory

Living forever as a staple of

History’s desolation

The cheap poison phosphorus

coated their insides with each breathe.

Do you know the conditions in which they survived?

Bones lit up

Cancer crawled within

Was the pay worth the cost?

What’s living if you’re suffering in tremendous pain?

Have you ever heard?

The horror,

The story?

Of Eleanor Swanson’s Radium Girls?

A soft glow they

Carried with them

Bodies filled with radium

Powder mixed with glue and water

Painting watch dials and painting their own nails

Tips licked stiff,

Paint, repeat

Was it fun to glow for your boyfriends

Pretty polished nails.

Smiling wide with no teeth

Was dying young worth keeping time

As a sad story of underprivileged - underpaid?

Have you ever heard?

The horror,

The story?

Regret, repeat

Trapped in history’s Catch 22

Don’t you see the matchstick girl

circumstance in you?

Sitting at your desk

Breathing your stale, recycled air

Conditioned in this

Complacent box you now exist

Constant clicking on a deadline.

Can you not relate to the radium girls?

Hot Key repetition envelopes your wrists

Steals it’s movement

Trap it in a braced tunnel

Do you not feel the strain in your eyes?

Your neck? Your back? Your Legs?

Do you feel the atrophy happening?

As your cellular structure melds with the chair

As you take it’s shape


Evolved from poison chemicals to toxic

Screens and synthetic drugs to dull pain.

Type faster,

Work harder

Be better, ignore how you feel!

Sitting is the new smoking?

So they ask you to stand at your station while you work.

Pain sears through every inch of you

Unused overworked body.

Why is agonizing for a paycheck a part of this

Middle class monologue

Decade after decade?

Brainless patterns of data entry

Broken numb social media scrolling

Even if you changed,

You demanded your existence mean more

You took charge of your days

Your body

Your mind

You're already dead inside.

Apple out,

K. Sullivan

Resources for Chronic Pain/Repetitive Strain Injury:

Poem inspiration/references:

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