The Shocking Truth of What Your Job Means About You
March 25th, 2013 by Katie Morton
Let me start by saying if you LOVE your job, if you feel incredibly fulfilled, if you bounce out of bed every day excited to go to work, and you wish the weekends were shorter so you can get back to it, then this post is NOT for you. Everyone else reading this will wait while you excuse yourself. But if you hate your job, or you’re at all ambivalent, then please read on.
Do you remember Scott Peterson? He was convicted in 2004 of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, on Christmas Eve of 2002. He was having an affair. Outstanding. Anyway, not to get you all re-enraged about what that guy did, but…I’m about to enrage you anew.
I read an article about Peterson’s luxurious life of leisure on death row. Unfortunately, I’m not being sarcastic. Peterson is allowed up to five hours outside every day so he can “shoot hoops with other inmates or exercise.”
Are you allowed outside for 5 hours every day?
If you are “lucky” enough to be employed fulltime, it’s possible you leave the house most days earlier than you’d like, and depending on the length of your commute, you might return home from work about 9 or 10 hours later. Over the course of your work day, are you able to spend 5 hours outside hanging with your buds while you shoot hoops, like Scott Peterson does in prison? No. Of course not. You’re working. You might get outside for lunch. Sometimes. For 30 to 60 minutes.
But, you might argue, Scott Peterson is going to die; he’s on death row, after all. Guess what? We’re all going to die. We’re all on “death row” in a way. Yet Scott Peterson is allowed to live his remaining days on his particular version of death row enjoying the weather.
My point isn’t about the prison system proper. It’s about our own personal prison systems. We voluntarily sign up to work jobs that leave us in more stringent conditions than the scum of the earth. The irony is that a prisoner enjoys more freedom than people who work fulltime jobs.
When you’re locked up inside working a job that doesn’t fulfill you, you give up your freedom. When you don’t have control over what you do with your own time, your location, your activities, and the people you surround yourself with, you are, in essence, a prisoner.
Now before we run screaming, or fly into a rage, or curl into a ball over the injustice of it all, let’s explore why I’m worked into a lather over this and what can be done about it.
Please humor me and consider a different scenario.
Last week, my daughter and I spent a lot of time running around outside. My daughter, who was clearly a Norse warrior in a former life, giggled in her short-sleeved t-shirt when the wind blew because it “tickles” while I pulled my heavy sweater closed. Despite our divergent preferences in weather, we had a wonderful time while we picked daffodils, practiced our skipping and galloping skills, and threw rocks in a nearby stream. I never dreamed my life would turn out this carefree.
Before I had a baby, I was perfectly happy with my job. It was interesting. The commute stunk and I wasn’t crazy about having an office that was essentially a glorified broom closet with no window (but hey, at least it had a door). My poor husband had to listen to me gripe frequently about office politics, the kind of drama that won’t even warrant a nod from my deathbed, but seemed like the epic struggle of my life while I was waist deep in it. But I was completely willing to put up with all the crap that fulltime office life brings with it because of the money, and because a lot of what I did was fun. I was frustrated with some aspect of my situation every single day, but that’s working life, right?
Then I had the baby, and NONE of it was okay. NOTHING about it. As a new mom, I needed to take care of myself and I wanted to care for my newborn rather than leaving her in daycare. I suddenly felt like life was too short and too precious to spend the majority of my time dealing with what amounts to trivia in the grand scheme of life. Yet, I wasn’t willing to even consider quitting. Could not even fathom it. “How would I make money?!” My mind was in a different place altogether. My thought process was this: work at corporate job = food to eat + roof over head. And that was that.
“We live in these little cubicles that we’ve been assigned to like inmates, when in reality, your world may be broader than your situation. Don’t allow your situation to become your world when it’s just a launching pad into the next dimension of your life.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes
Even after losing my job, it took me a long time to take a serious look at entrepreneurship. I eventually received an attractive job offer that would have put me right back into my corporate prison. That’s when I finally realized I’d have to be hauled back into an office kicking and screaming.
If you find yourself shaking your head and thinking, “I don’t want to be self-employed,” or “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” or “That’s not sensible” or “I have bills to pay” any other variation of “That’s not who I am,” I just want you to know that I spent most of my adult life thinking the same thing.
All I’m asking you to do today is to just consider entrepreneurship for a moment. Simply plant the seed in your head, or if you already know this is something you would consider, let’s pour some water on the seed right now with the following exercise.
(If you’re already self-employed and you don’t love everything about it, then do the following exercise with an eye towards what you want to change about your situation.)
Imagine a life of freedom.
Relax while you imagine your life of freedom. Imagine what it would be like to have more control over yourself, your life, and how you spend your days. Imagine what it would be like to be your own boss, to work whenever and wherever you want. You will wake up happy each morning with the knowledge that, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to commute and spend your entire day sitting in front of a computer. Imagine where you would like to work. In your home? Outdoors? (I happen to be typing this right now in my favorite café.) What kind of people would you like to spend your time with? Would you rather have a business partner or team, or do you prefer to work alone? What kind of talents will you get to practice every day while you grow your business? Who do you want to help with your particular skills and abilities; what kind of clients would you choose?
If you are feeling skeptical that this can be your reality, please change your “never” to “maybe.” Just promise to consider it and to say, “Maybe someday.” That sounds much better than never. Or if you’ve made up your mind already and know that you will do this for yourself with the caveat of “someday,” please decide now that you will absolutely make it happen. You don’t need to know exactly how! The first step is to simply decide, “Yes. I will do this.”
Photo credit: dickuhne / Creative Commons
PS: If you enjoyed imagining your life of freedom, please sign up below for “10 Steps to a Blissful Life” while it’s still free!