Work to Live, Not Live to Work (Original Post 06/30/14)

I have come to a cross roads in my life. I am 1 year away to what is typically mid life in my genealogy. I am a little healthier than my predecessors so maybe more like 6 years but whatever, back to the cross roads.

In my early 20’s my thoughts and concerns lay solely with finding an enjoyable job that pulled a decent paycheck. Slowly that mindset moved towards just getting a decent paycheck as the reality of rent, insurance, car payments and the cost of life in general sunk in. I wanted nice things and to not be dead broke all the time. That’s how I ended up slipping into Project Management. It wasn’t creative and exciting like Design was. I didn’t get to have “visions” of how to create a space but, the next best thing I figured was getting to oversee bringing someone else’s vision to life. And the pay was almost double. Ultimately that’s what clinched the deal for me. Dolla bills. And for a while, I enjoyed it.

My first real job was busy and had certain levels of stress but I was young and eager to prove myself at a real job. I did well and quickly got a promotion. When my career started to feel stagnant, I changed it up and tried a different facet of my job and went into Strategic Planning. I liked that too but my employer was unpredictable and offered a sense of unease every Friday that no fat paycheck could over shadow. So after that extra stress and unrest, I took a step back, a small pay cut and took a job back in Project Management for commercial furniture dealership. It was about 6 months into that job that I realized, I shouldn’t have taken that pay cut. My stress was off the charts. But I chalked it up to a difficult account and customer that I worked on and muscled through until we had to move to the other side of the country for the sailor’s job. Once again I was happy to take another small step back and slightly larger pay cut for the sake of my sanity as well as eliminate any long gaps in unemployment.

Upon arrival back to EST it took me a whooping whole 6 weeks to realize any job in this field would never be low stress let alone stress free. Even if it’s just furniture installation. And then I had my moment of true clarity. I realized that back in 2002 when I declared my major that I had been delusional and made a rookie mistake. I choose a profession based on the illusion that you need to have a career that you like, that you think is fun and are passionate about. Which is true in a certain small respect but, the trick is knowing and understanding that no matter how much you love you career choice the day will come where you fucking hate it.

There will be a day if not multiple days were you would rather drive hot rusty nails under your finger nails with Rebecca Black’s “Friday” stuck on repeat in your headphones than go into your life depleting job. It happens. To everyone. And when that day comes, you need to be able to find something good behind what you do to get you through that fucking soul sucking bullshit. You need to feel good about what you are accomplishing. Feel that what your doing matters and makes a difference in the goal of bettering the world in some way. I look back on my jobs and the majority of them were inconsequential to the bettering of anyones world in a substantial way. Oh, let me elaborate for you.

I found ways for a bank to need less real-estate and save money by consolidating space in leased buildings. Yes, I saved a leech of a large global bank money. No feel goods looking back on that stint in the seventh circle of hell. I installed furniture for a huge online retail market. When I couldn’t get their fucking sofas with the special ordered fabric in before they occupied a building you would have thought I had told them that I was planning to shit in their Cheerios. Bitches please, the stupid fucking sofa in the cafe isn’t solving world hunger. It’s just a place for your hipster developers to park it while they drink coffee and look at their smart phones while thinking up new technology that we really don’t need but will pay big bucks for. No warm and fuzzes at all from that one. Nope. Not at all.

The closest I could get to feeling decent about my job was when I managed projects for a Health Care and Insurance Co-op. I over saw building of Medical buildings that helped sick and dying people. I installed updated equipment and renovated lobbies to make patients visits easier and more comfortable. At least, at the end of those stressful long days, I felt like I was actually accomplishing something for the greater good even if in a little way.

I am tired of looking at my job and wanting to scream at people that their desk chair that is arriving late is not the fucking end of the world. The old one you have is fine for another few weeks. That the cubicles you want built in your new office at a law firm being 2 weeks later than you wanted will not END YOUR FUCKING LIFE. It won’t even be the end your business. I am tired of every bullshit thing being the end of some jackhole’s world when in fact it is just a minor irritating interruption in the over all blip in the world that is their life. I am simply exhausted and I don’t think there is a vacation long enough that can cure this apathy that my jobs have planted in my brain and that festers in me. I need a change. I want a change. If I am going to come home at the end of a day exhausted and drained, I want to feel like I accomplished something other than kowtowing to a corporate head only to get raked over the coals for not doing it better and faster. If I am going to be be held to these standards I want my efforts to make a difference, truly. So, it’s time for a change because something has got to give and I refuse to let that something be my personal life or my sanity. If my work has to be part of my life, I choose it to be something more. Something better. Then again, anything will be better than this.

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