Maybe you’ve wondered why I choose to post a quote on the first day of the traditional working week. It’s because by the end of my corporate career, I absolutely hated Monday mornings. I started to dread them as early as Saturday night. Thoughts of ‘Ugh, only one more day of freedom before I’m back to the daily grind.’
This went on for years, until a Monday in January 2014 when I exploded. Literally. In the office. Total breakdown in front of everyone. I was in the middle of explaining to a colleague the steps and processes of developing a new piece of advertising. Through each explanation, I could feel my patience wearing thin and my anger building. I employed deep breathing techniques in an attempt to keep calm. It worked for a while, then I lost it. The thoughts that had been floating through my head for months finally escaped out of my mouth and before I realized it I was blurting out to the whole floor as loudly as I could, “This is SO f**king pointless!” The colleague, visibly taken aback, replied, “What, this ad?” “All of it! This ad, this job, life, it’s all so f**king pointless.” Tears streaming down my face I grabbed my coat, my handbag, and walked out.
This was my lowest point. The point where I thought, ‘If this is the way my life is going to be for the next 30 years, then I don’t want to live.’ Yes, you read that exactly right. If my days for the next 30 years, before I could retire, were going to consist of dragging myself to work everyday, to a job I didn’t enjoy, that stressed me out, left me exhausted and didn’t fulfill me in any way just so I could buy more stuff I didn’t really need, then I wanted to end it all right then and there.
So, in some ways there wasn’t much risk involved for me when I decided to walk out of my successful, well-paid corporate career. The choices at that point came down to end my life or find another way. Thankfully, I choose the later.
I hope that you aren’t feeling that trapped and desperate in your job. If you are, I beg you to immediately – TODAY – to go to your local doctor and get signed off work for a few weeks or a month and during that time, employ a life coach who can help you figure out what you want to do with your life and guide you to finding a way to getting there. Trust me, taking time out to re-evaluate your life is not a sign of failure or weakness, its a sign of bravery and strength, so do it, no excuses. We have a lot of options in life, but choosing death should not be one of them.
If you are still in the category of not enjoying what you do and you find yourself wishing the week away, living for the weekend and for the next holiday, then perhaps it is time to reconsider what you are currently doing. I’ve seen a lot of people, particularly in the City of London, especially in banking, say, “Two more years. That’s it. Then I’m out.” Three years later I found them still doing the same job and complaining about it. When I asked them why they stayed when they clearly hated every day, it was usually because the money was too good or they had a certain living standard they felt they needed to maintain or the most fatal mistake of all, they thought, ‘If I just do this for five more years, then I’ll have enough to do what I want.’
You probably don’t want to hear the sobering truth, but some didn’t make it through those next five years. I knew people who were thinking just like this that died before they could do want they really wanted to do with their lies. One 45 year old man died of a heart attack on the trading floor. Another 39 year old woman was diagnosed with colon cancer, by her account brought on from the stress of the job, and was gone six months later. There was our floor IT guy who had a motorcycle accident whilst rushing into work. And during those years, I saw several bodies on the pavement, covered in tarps, surrounded by police tape, after they choose to leap off a tall building to end their life. So if you think you will have the opportunity to do what you really want later in life, when you retire. Think again. You might not get that option. All you have is now.
Sorry, that went a bit morbid there. What I’m trying to say is, if you feel like your work is a prison sentence, remember it is you that holds the key to the release date. No one else. All we have is now. Today. I’m not saying to entirely give up on your responsibilities if you have them, but what I am saying is that there are always other ways to met your obligations if you aren’t enjoying the way you are having to make a living to do so. We only get one shot at this life, so make the most of it now. Don’t wait for tomorrow.
** In the coming weeks, I plan to write more posts on how you to can escape the rat race and how you can start living a life you want today.