Pursue that thing that doesn’t make $
It’s Tuesday. You’re already thinking about Friday. The afternoon sunlight hits your back as you continue to go about your meaningless work at your shit desk, secretly planning your next day off because you cannot square up with the fact that the high salary and “unlimited vacation” are NOT enough to keep you satisfied.
You hit Command F, Command K, Command godihatemyjobhowamigoingtodothisanylonger?
Your boss walks in and you sit up straight and try to re-focus. And I mean that sincerely. You legitimately put effort in, but despite the promise of a bonus, despite the group meetings where you talk about the future of the company, and despite your desire to really thrive in this job that you took because it had so much promise to be exponentially better than your last stint in the Bay Area, you just aren’t fulfilled.
You aren’t. You’re suffocating. You feel your butt going flat in your chair for nothing. You’re stagnant. The conversations are old. The work is boring. And it’s only 6 months in, so you have to stick it out. You might be getting carpal tunnel.
But you are getting messages from recruiters. Family members are impressed at holiday gatherings.
“Oh wow, that’s an impressive job to have. Good for you!”
Your mom is stoked to tell her friends back in the small, boring town you came from that you’ve not only obtained that job, but have done much much better than expected in just half a year!
You chose to build on this positive attention by changing your LinkedIn profile, updating your Facebook work information. Past colleagues, professors, friends like your update. Your network knows and you take pride in their knowing about your supposed success.
Maybe you respond to a recruiter and start a conversation about another job, and for some reason the name, the promise of new people, of upward advancement, maybe even just the opportunity to change your goddam commute every day gets you motivated to have a 30-minute conversation but you aren’t really interested in the company, the opportunity.
You just need to get out. To escape. You need change, and fast.
You’ve started staring at your phone now and it’s becoming obvious. Your boss who insists on sitting near everyone on the floor because that’s what “non-hierarchical environment leaders do” might notice soon. You put it down and enable some sort of program that keeps you from unlocking it until a certain time. You rely on disciplinarian apps like these to FORCE you to do your meaningless job.
Your co-worker starts shit-talking with you via the office communication app. You are tempted to decline the offer through a “haha” and a change of subject. But you join in, because it’s the only source of happiness in your dry, repetitive world, and somehow the risk of getting caught doesn’t resonate or isn’t that threatening.
At the end of the day, you reach your apartment. You know, the one you’re paying WAY too much for in SF. You take advantage of the fact that your roommate (oh yes, you can’t afford to live alone) isn’t home.
Back when you had that other boring job 7 months ago, you would read and write when you got home. But lately, you’re so deflated, that if you don’t have plans, you are ok with staring at meaningless television, just months after you promised yourself to engage in more personally rewarding activity at the end of the day.
You lay out your outfit for the next day and maybe you respond to another recruiter (because why not?), before your flip on the tv and take a sip of your prosecco.
It all begins again tomorrow, with the promise of Wednesday, a day that signifies another step closer to the weekend.
Super negative, I know. Here’s my point:
Silicon Valley, this whole place and the whole world really, they/it/whatever encourages us to explore, think creatively, find the next best way to do something, solve a problem and make money off of it. Think about problems that everyone has and, through multiple iterations, develop a product that helps soothe or eradicate the issue. Come up with this solution in a super hipster way, say the word “disrupt” 20 times as you pitch it to your friends and later, investors, and when it succeeds (funding, automation, you can sell the idea off)…THAT’s success. Use the money you make to travel and purchase things that will bring you happiness. Use the money you make to not work, to enjoy life to its fullest.
But what about that thing that you love to do that WON’T turn in to your business idea? That thing that you just enjoy, that doesn’t make you any/very little money and likely never will? What about your hobbies, and just doing them for the hell of it?
No, I’m not talking about eating and drinking at night with your friends so that you can feel good.
No, I’m not talking about reading your self help book.
No, not talking about watching TV or reading.
What do you OWN? What have you always loved to do? What experience do you like to create for other people?
I’m referring to the things you do or have done that people think are strange semblances of “first jobs” or “lesser jobs” that really get you excited.
Ex: Making food for a group of people because you used to be an assistant cook at Macaroni Grill and you loved turning out delicious food and hearing great things from the servers.
Ex. Painting because that one high school art project made you $50 when it sold at the county fair and it was so rewarding!
Ex. Choosing to teach a fitness class at 6:00 am 4 days a week not because of the workout and the $, but because of the smiles and the thank-yous at the end of the session.
My general point: you don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to play a part you hate. In fact, because life is so short, please just don’t try to be something you aren’t. Easier said than done.