“Why? What earthly reason can they possibly have to make you stay late on a Friday? Nothing you do is life or death,” Phil asked.

“Yeah? Tell them that. They still call it a deadline.”

Phil dropped his voice. “Jess, how long are you going to do this?”

“Hopefully I can finish in an hour or so if I actually focus—”

“You know what I mean,” Phil interrupted. “You know you only call me to give you this pep talk, right?”

“No. I call just to check in, say hi. All the time.”

“When was the last time you called and we didn’t talk about your work?”

Jesse paused. “You know what? You’re right. I hadn’t really noticed. Sorry, bro.”

“Wait. I didn’t mean don’t talk about work, I meant notice how much you talk about work.” Phil laughed. “It’s your life and I’m just happy to be a part of it, but man you hate your job.”

“Yes I do,” Jesse agreed.

“And that’s why you call me. Subconsciously you know I’m going to tell you what you need to hear.”

“And that is?”

“Quit your job. This isn’t what you were meant to do. You are miserable. You will die early and sad if you don’t stop torturing yourself. This is more than a third of your total hours in a work week, including whatever sleep you get, and you are giving them to people who don’t appreciate you in an environment that is killing you to accomplish something you don’t care about. At all. Do I need to go on?”

Jesse smiled. “No, that about covers it.” He sat back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. “Tomorrow I’ll start looking.”

“For what? A new boss you hate? A new set of business papers the world doesn’t need to report on programs that aren’t really programs run by people who have to justify their jobs? Sounds peachy—sign me up.” Phil laughed again. “There’s a better answer than that. You can be your boss.”

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