Are you feeling down?
I am feeling frustrated, irritated, aggravated and yes, I suppose I feel down.
Do you know exactly why?
Of course. Didn’t you read the title of this piece?
Yes. I just want to hear you say it.
I dont want to go to work!
Why? That is ridiculous. What is wrong with going to work?
I just don’t want to do it. Something deep in me is revolted by the idea. It is like a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know why it is there.
Hmmm. Interesting. You should feel happy about going to work. You are fortunate to have a job. You are even more fortunate to have a job where you can help other people and make good money doing it. You have your own office. No shitty boss to deal with. You only work three days a week in your office. It is kind of an ideal situation.
I know. It is. That is why I feel like I should be happy about it. I am continually telling myself to snap out of it. I should be thrilled to have the job that I do. But still there is this yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel like, in a few hours, I have to go do something that I really do not want to do.
Good question. I know it is simplistic but I just don’t like doing it. Its not want I want to do with my life. There are things about it that feel great. Like I said, I can help others and they pay me well for this assistance. I get a good amount of gratitude and appreciation from others for helping them out. It is good that I can be of service in this way. My work also comes with a fair amount of social status and cultural legitimacy. These things can be nice but I don’t care that much about it.
And as a result of all of this, you are able to afford a comfortable lifestyle for you and your wife.
Yes. This is a big benefit.
And you only have to work three days a week!
I know. I could not tolerate working a five day week. I was miserable all the time. I was on the verge of jumping off a cliff. So my wife agreed that I would work three days a week and see if that helped.
Yes. It has. Now I only feel pain three days a week. Makes a difference.
What do you want?
This is a question I have been asking myself for almost three decades. The answer is not easy to find. I want my work to feel fun. I want it to be enjoyable. I want it to feel like something I do not mind doing. I don’t want to feel this yuck feeling in my gut every time I have to go to work. It sucks.
What is that old saying? “Make sure that you love what you are good at doing because once people are willing to pay you to do it, you will have to do it….” Something like that. You are really good at doing something that people are willing to pay you a lot of money to do, but you do not love it.
No. I do not love it at all. I am not sure I even like it. I am ok with letting people work their problems out on their own. I do not feel this huge need to be the one to help people work their problems out. I just don’t care that much. I am not a big fan of other people. I think people can be a pain in the ass. I am ok leaving this being-in-service-to-other-people-job for someone else to do.
But you are the one doing it.
Yes. I have ended up doing something that I do not really want to be doing. I am an introvert. Having to work with people all day, three days a week in this way, is painful. I do not believe that the only way we can be happy is through helping others. I think that is a bunch of crap. Maybe if you are an extrovert this is true but the quickest path to unhappiness for an introvert is to work with other people.
Why sooooo painful?
I have to hear about all their problems. I have to listen and pretend like I am interested. I have to really force myself to care. Seven people, seven hours a day. It hurts. It gives me anxiety. I am terribly uncomfortable when I am sitting their listening to people talk about their lives. I try to listen deeply and pretend like I am fine. Inside, I can not wait until the session is over.
Sounds like the opposite of fun.
It is. But it pays me well. It allows me to be economically independent. So I try to do the best I can. I give it everything I got. It is kind of like saying, “Ok, fuck it. I am just going to jump off this tall cliff. I will do what I have to do to survive. I am all in.” And then when I am out, I really enjoy being out. But I dread having to do it all over again.
Sounds tough. I think this is what most middle class people in the Western world deal with. Most people are in your situation.
Yes. We live quiet lives of desperation.
So what can you do about your situation?
I try and make the best of it. I try not to think about it too much even though this yucky feeling in my gut is always there on days I have to work. I really dread it. But I try and write, read, listen to music, exercise, go for walks before, during and after work. It helps a bit. I really don’t know what else to do right now. I own a house. I have debt and bills. I have a comfortable lifestyle to pay for. I don’t want to give these things up. I love my lifestyle in a way. I just don’t know what else I could do to afford all of this. I can’t just quit my job and start writing and making art full time. This will not work. I need something else to earn an income, but have no idea what.
You are stuck.
I am stuck.
I have always been stuck. I am not so sure I know what it is like not to be stuck. I feel like I was raised by stuck people. I was taught how to be stuck. To live a stuck life. I really don’t know how to be unstuck.
I think being unstuck is the result of a lot of luck and some talent. You have the talent, but in a way you just have not been lucky.
I know! And I am bitter about it! And now I have to go do something that I really do not want to do!
But maybe, just maybe, no matter what you did for money you would not want to do it. You hate traveling. You hate leaving your home. If you were making a living as an artist and writer you would probably have to travel a good amount.
This is true. Maybe. I don’t really know. I would not be happy about traveling. Maybe it is a no win situation. Maybe work is just painful. No matter what you do, work is pain. There is just no way around it. You will always have to do shit you do not want to do.
Maybe. I don’t know. That might be the case for you.
Maybe so. I just wish I did not have to feel this yuck in the pit of my stomach. I once made a deal with a Buddha statue. I said that I would promise to spread the word about meditation and Buddhist philosophical teachings if in exchange the statue helped me to become a successful writer. Every day I walked by that statue to remind it about our deal. I have lived up to my side of the deal. I teach meditation classes to large groups of people every week. I talk about the benefits of mediation with my clients. I am doing what I said I would do but the statue is yet to come through on its side of the deal!
I am not sure a Buddha statue has the ability to make a deal like that with a human.
It was a really large statue.
Still, I think you are being a bit desperate here.
I am desperate. I need some fucking help!
So desperate that you are talking with Buddha statues?
Jeeze. That is bad.
I know! I really don’t know what to do here. I am forty-five years old and I can’t seem to figure this one out. I try to meditate, to accept my situation, to make peace with things as they are- but still!!! There is this angry, yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am being forced every week, for three entire days to do something I don’t want to do. Then I spend two days in recovery.
Learn to love it.
Shut up with your self-help crap.
Learn to love it. You are incarcerated. You are not getting out any time soon. Learn to love your incarceration.
Oh hell. Really? This is what I am trying to do. In my own way I am trying to learn to love it. I try every day. I accept it. Embrace it. Lean into it. But it hurts!
Well, you have to go get ready for work now. You have to go listen to people talk about their problems with you. You have to try and be really interested.
I really do not want to go.
I know. But you just have to jump in. Don’t think about it anymore. Just jump. When you get out try and enjoy being out. When you are in, just breathe, swim along and wait until it is time to get out. Just deal with it. Like carrying a heavy load.
Yup. I just have to deal with it. I just have to tolerate it. No easy answers coming anytime soon. I just have to carry it and make the best of it. It is what it is. This is my life right now.
Ok. Well thanks for talking with me about this. The yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach has gone down a bit.
Good to know. Go do what you must do. Jump. Oh. And during your break, take some of your hard earned money and go buy yourself a record. That helps ease the pain a bit.
My entire record collection is a collection built out of pain. But good idea. I will do it.