by Z.S. Roe
I’ve heard it said more times than I can count (and twice just this past weekend): If I dislike my job so much, why don’t I find something else?
Goddamn, I hate this question.
To my mind, the answer should be obvious: Because life isn’t that simple.
For starters, the job market today is not a boon of opportunity. It’s a struggle to get any kind of employment that pays more than, say, $15/hour. Also, there is such a thing as bills. Turns out I can’t live in my house for free.
DISCOVER YOUR PASSION
Okay, but maybe I can find a job that’s at least geared more towards my interests. What am I passionate about?
I hate this question, too. Trust me, I’ve pursued my passions; I still do. I have ambitions and dreams. I have side-projects, and side-side projects. But I’m also old enough to realize that most of those “passions” will probably not lead anywhere that pays money.
I mean, sure, there are people out there who’s passions are job-specific and in a field that is in demand. Sadly, it’s these kinds of people who chastise those of us who work at jobs we don’t like. What they don’t realize is that they are a rare and lucky breed. They essentially won the happiness lottery. The rest of us? Well, we’ll just have to muck our way through whatever we can find.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
But it’s all about perspective, these people continue. If I’d only change my perspective, I’d see how fortunate I truly am. Which, to my mind, is like telling a depressed person that they should just snap out of it. Please, stop saying shit like this — it’s dismissive, insensitive, and zero percent helpful.
And, look, you’re not completely wrong. Take my job, for example. I don’t like it; some days I hate it. But the pay isn’t bad, and it comes with benefits, and while working alone can sometimes be pretty damn lonely, I have free reign over the radio. So, yeah, there are upsides. But these upsides don’t erase the downsides, nor make it any easier to deal with all the things about my job that I hate. Focusing on these upsides may make me a less cantankerous person overall, but it sure as hell doesn’t help me lift my knees any higher when I’m wading through shit.
THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
They key, I think, is to better yourself when and where you can. By all means, take risks, follow your passions, aspire to something better. BUT . . . don’t beat yourself up if your plans land askew.
If you get up every morning and head out to a job you hate, don’t make things worse for yourself by thinking that you’ve failed as a result.
If you don’t like your job, then you’re in the majority.
So the next time someone tells you to stop complaining, to just go out there and find a better job, go ahead and tell them to suck it. We can’t all be such lucky pricks.
Opinion is a sometimes column of just that, my opinion. While opinions are like noses and everyone has one, mine are especially snotty. Please leave a comment or question—all opinions are welcome, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. If you like what you read here, please subscribe.