Today as I sit at the computer, I’ve just passed the most dangerous hour of the most dangerous day of the week: Mondays @ 9am. More people die in the US at this time than any other. Why? Because they hate their job. Unsurprisingly a high number of male suicides happen Sunday night, when the inevitable Monday looms.
My very first “real” adult job was as a high school Spanish teacher. I didn’t do it alone, however; my best friend Ativan (anti-anxiety medication) was beside me all the way. I listened to NPR on my way to work until the theme music began inducing a panic attack. I still can’t hear it without a lurch in my stomach. Fridays brought their own sadness: Why celebrate the weekend when Monday was only two days away?
I’ve begun an examination of work. No blog about health and happiness can avoid the subject of what we do most of the day. As of last week, I’m reading a life-changing book called 48 Days to the Work You Love, by Dan Miller, that I wish I’d read long ago. It would have saved me the cost of many prescriptions.
Among lots of great insight, one that really stands out to me is that just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean it is a good career choice. After teaching Spanish, I taught art, my real love. So why did I still have a panic attack before each class every single day? My students loved me, I made art fun and broke difficult concepts down into understandable steps, but I was exceedingly unhappy. Now I realize the problem: I hate teaching.
There is a story in the book about a man who compared his work experience to the “battered spouse syndrome”. His job was a dependable paycheck, security, even though he was loath to go. Ever so often this man would quit the job, go out and try to do what he really wanted. He would fail, be broke, and slink back to the hated job.
There are many steps to solving this problem of the disconnect that happens to so many people, myself included. Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I would add that it has to pay enough too. So join me on this search for what I want to be when I grow up. I’d rather have you than Ativan.