It LITERALLY can’t get any worse
I don’t hate the job I have now, but I have hated a few jobs I had in the past. When you’re caught in a cycle; a frame of mind of misery, where every day begins and ends in the same monotony, it’s easy to beat yourself up. Your body can become easily addicted to the chemicals that are released during this depressed time. That bad feeling can then perpetuate and arise in your non-work life.
Who hasn’t come home from a particularly numbing day in the office and just sulked, sat on the couch and stared into oblivion during your favorite television series? For me, it was waking up at 4AM and sitting in my home office, applying for every single job I could possibly find. I’d cry in the shower, then walk into work in whatever the weather was saying was appropriate.
Then I read Zen & The Art of Happiness. I don’t usually advocate literature unless it is rooted in science, but this book changed my life. My university roommate gave me a copy during a particularly horrible part of my final year, and I’ve never stopped thanking her. The gist of the book is the notion that everything happens for a reason, and once you accept it, you’ll continuously see the good things that come from the misery.
Suddenly, the 4AM binge-attack on LinkedIn Jobs and Indeed.com, became a chance for me to seriously contemplate my life choices. Instead of waking up at 7AM, I had an extra three hours to promote change. My shower was no longer full of tears, but a time for silent contemplation and shaving my legs. The job was still shitty, but unless someone I loved died, my life wasn’t going to get any worse. Instead of being depressed in work, I weighed up my options, and the results were wonderful: I realized I could easily leave the high-powered corporate job I detested and survive for at least six months without having to panic about money. This led to my next point…
Freedom to not give a shit
I am arguably the most maternal individual on the planet, thanks to my incredible mum. This maternal quality translates into almost all elements of my life. HOWEVER, I am also inherently childish. I truly believe in the pettiest forms of revenge. You can ask my ex-boyfriend Cameron. After an argument I can barely remember, I took the time to rip the last page out of his copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I had bought for him a few days previously. He didn’t find out until a month later which was after we had finally broken up.
I’m still not sorry.
You see, the moment you realize your life can’t get worse, you’ll subconsciously start to test yourself and everything in your environment. Somewhere in the back of your mind you’ll push and prod at the thing you hate until it blows up in your face. You may end up getting sacked, or even worse, you’ll get demoted, or yelled at, or generally have your whole life fall apart in a downwards spiral of self-destruction. WARNING: only do this if it is a financially viable option for you, and you have no history of mental illness in your family.
You’ll probably learn something if you actually listen
Having a full-time job can get repetitive. We’ve already determined this. You’ve sat in the same place, doing the same thing, inching toward the same end result, just as you always have. It’s miserable. Blah. Whatever.
I have a good friend, Mike. Mike is one of the most successful people I know, and he is also the kindest person I know. Mike recently said to me, “you might not like [person], but if you listen, you’ll definitely learn something.”
What Mike meant was, that even in the worst situations, in environments that are just so god damn awful you want to kill yourself, if you take the time to invest a moment of silence, you might just find out something about yourself. Even better, you might be able to improve your life through more practical means. If you’re so suffocated in your Underemployment, start to engage with it. You never know, you might be able to change everything for the better.
Have some perspective
Yeah, you might hate your job. You might be just like me right now, freaking out about whether you’re going to pay next month’s rent because your project manager still hasn’t sent through a new project, and it’s already been two days since you finished your last. You probably want to shop at Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods, but you’re stuck with Smart and Final. At your desk, or in your cubicle, or wherever the hell you are, you’re almost definitely being at least a little bit productive. You got up, made it to work, and you’ll be rewarded by being allowed to be a functioning member of society. Don’t like it? Well tough. This is our reality, and as a qualitative sociologist I’m basically ten billion percent positive that it ain’t gonna change any time soon.
Your worst case scenario is you get a horrible, painful, long-lasting illness and then you die. If you’re healthy(ish), have something to do to occupy your time, and aren’t contemplating suicide, then stop fucking complaining. Trust me, things could be a hell of a lot worse.
Even though I live alone in my apartment, Sunday is the only night of the week I allow myself to eat dinner on my couch. During the weeknights I spend alone, I eat at my dining room table. I do this because I’m not an animal. I also do it because I like to practice self control. Sunday nights are my night. They’re the night that I totally switch off and treat myself.
This shouldn’t be weird. I am just doing exactly what weekends were designed for. As a Jew, raised under the shadow of the Church of England, with parents who don’t really believe in God, I pretty much take Friday sundown, to Monday morning, for myself. Sometimes I’ll finish a project if it is totally necessary, but I make the time up one afternoon during the week.
Take your weekends for what they are worth. If you’re really that Underemployed, then Treat Yo’ Self!
Kay Smythe, The British Bitch in America.
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