“This job you have, sure it pays the bills, but are you happy?”
“Does it matter?”
“It’s your LIFE.”
- Oliver and Maggie, This Life
This exchange between siblings on the TV series This Life was short but powerful to me, because it kind of expressed what my brain has been trying to tell me for a long time now. Namely, what the hell am I doing?
I don’t need my job to make me happy. I have other things on the go that work towards doing that, and a day job is just one piece of my life. Albeit a fairly large piece, time and energy-wise.
While it is not the key to happiness, though, it IS important to feeling content. And for me that’s what’s been missing. For many years, I felt valued, and useful, and like I was contributing to something. In recent years, however, I’ve been feeling more like a body that’s only there to fill a spot in the schedule. I’ve been disheartened, and felt under-valued and vastly under-used. Like my talents are being wasted. Like I am being wasted. And that has led to feeling like I have nothing to offer at all.
I sometimes believe I feel trapped, but I think it’s more that I just feel inconsequential. Like my skills aren’t being utilized because maybe I just don’t have any. Which is silly, of course, but since when did feelings ever make logical sense? It definitely has not helped my depression nor my alcoholic tendencies at all, that’s for sure!
When someone asks, “What do you do?” I find it increasingly difficult not to respond with something like, “Mostly I just flail in frustration, sometimes cry, and often refrain from flipping my desk and storming out in a rage.”
Is that any way to go through the majority of your days?
And again, I don’t need to be happy at my job. I just need it to feel like less of a waste.
I realize whining about it won’t help (but I reserve the right to do so, anyway), and that any real changes need to come from me. So my dilemma now is this: I have no idea which changes to make, or where to even start.
Do I put in a more concerted effort to force change there? Do I look elsewhere for something that won’t leave me feeling like a waste of space every day? If so, what would I even look FOR. I know I intend to volunteer with animals in the spring. Should I wait and see if that helps elevate my general mood and sense of purpose? Do I try to save up money to take a class of some sort?
What do I even WANT to do? It’s gotten a tad late to decide what I want to be when I grow up, yet I’m finding it difficult (if not impossible) to decide what I want to be tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year. It’s like I can’t even see an employment future for myself. All I see are endless days of putting my head down and trying to feel less worse than I did the day before.
My day job is not who I am. But it’s a big piece of my life. And since it’s a big piece that I don’t even like, I need to start finding a way to change that. Change how it makes me feel.
Now to figure out where and how to start.