Emery Recommends: “Miss Misanthrope” by Jealous of the Birds

Recently I gave notice at the job I’ve had for over two years.

When I finished my master’s program in 2017, I knew I couldn’t go on to a PhD right away, but I was sure I’d be working on campus in some sort of administrative/student support role. So the silence (and one awkward video interview) that followed the many, many, many applications I submitted was brutal.

I finally looked elsewhere; soon I found work with a startup. I enjoyed the ease, the creative freedom, the growth. The company evolved and eventually I became the sole employee. Several months ago we ditched the office and went fully remote.

Working from home sounds like the dream, doesn’t it? My dogs and cat love having me around for belly rubs and snacks. I can stay in pajamas all day if I want. Scheduling doctor’s appointments presents no problem. I should be content, right?

That’s what I’ve been trying to convince myself of for a long time.

There’s a lot I could say about my general dissatisfaction/disappointment/state of ennui, but the isolation of my remote job is one thing I’ve found a song for.

“Miss Misanthrope” by Jealous of the Birds somehow manages to put my loneliness to music in perfect form.

The song is beautiful, and beautifully sad, and there are lines that just get to me, like:

She said I care too much these days
About my place in this ball of yarn
There’s not a lot that I can boast
I water plants and make french toast

I’ve grown tired of the reclusiveness of my job. (The dogs and cat provide fine company, sure, but they’re not great conversationalists.) Isolation and burnout have spilled over into other parts of my life, sapping my creative energy, rendering me lethargic and disconnected. While there are many reasons I’ve decided to work elsewhere, one thing I’ve learned is that I do need human connection.

I get the sense that’s what this song is about, too. Despite the misanthropy and the solitude, the song ends by reaching out. And when she sings, “It makes me smile to know you’re alright,” I always smile, too.

(Song recommendation by Emery Ross)


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