I always feel funny starting off a blog post by saying, “Can I be honest?” Of course I can be honest. It’s my blog. I could lie if I wanted to and no one would know the difference.
But I’m not gonna lie. I’m going to admit that I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with a bout of depression at the moment. And I think it’s all rooted in a great deal of stress that I’m struggling with, because stress and anxiety are things that I’m not used to dealing with.
Why would I be stressed? There are a lot of reasons that I’ve tried to put on a brave face for, but it’s all taking its toll on me.
I’m sure the beginning of it all can be traced back to the car problems I was dealing with at the beginning of the summer. The unexpected inconvenience and expense of leaving my car in the shop and getting it fixed made my summer break a difficult one.
On top of that, I was dealing with another move during the summer. I moved into an awesome apartment, sure. But the apartment was something I assumed I could afford based on the kind of pay I was earning during the school year last year (and not shelling out thousands of dollars for car repairs that I didn’t have).
Then the new school year began and there were a lot of changes to my job. Eventually, this led to a vastly diminished paycheck (cutting into my ability to afford that awesome apartment), leading to the need to leave the job that, as of a year ago, I had no intention of leaving.
Through it all, we found out about my stepdad’s cancer diagnosis and awaited his surgery, which finally happened just before Christmas. And then my grandmother had a stroke, also just before Christmas. They’re both doing all right… There are struggles, but it’s a journey.
Of course, I’m also trying to find my footing with my new job, which I’m finding to be more difficult than I anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I’m doing. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about working with adults after working with kids for so long, but that part is going all right.
The struggle, for me, is when it comes to making my schedule. Mostly because that schedule relies heavily on clients’ ability to stick to what we’ve put down in the calendar. I’m okay making my own schedule, but I don’t like depending on someone else to make sure that schedule is fulfilled from week to week.
It’s stressing me out and if I said I was happy with my situation, I’d definitely be lying.
I was dwelling on it throughout the day and it brought to mind a line that Jennifer Aniston had in Office Space. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it’s mostly about a guy named Peter who hates his boring position as a software engineer, spending each day in a boring cubicle, being hounded by eight boring bosses whenever he makes a mistake. Who wouldn’t hate that job?
Anyway, she tells him, “Most people don’t like their jobs. But you go out there and you find something that makes you happy.”
When I was trying to remember the exact quote, I Googled it, leading me somehow to an old blog post by someone whose blog I’ve never come across before. The writer has a real problem with this line, despite loving the movie overall. And their problem seems to stem from thinking the movie asserts that people don’t deserve to have careers that we can enjoy and from which we can gain fulfillment.
I don’t think that’s what Joanna, Aniston’s character, is implying at all. She’s just realistic. There’s nothing wrong with trying to find a career that you love. But how many people do you know who went to college, got a degree with a major that they loved, then jumped into a career in the same field? And even for those that do, how many become disillusioned at some point?
People are fickle creatures. What we’re passionate about at 22 may be completely different by the time we’re 27. The career we think we want could change a handful of times before we hit 40. It’s happening more and more among this generation. Tell me I’m wrong.
I mean it… let me know if I’m wrong. It’s not like I did actual research for this post.
The reality is, Joanna was right. We can’t all love our jobs. Like another character from the same movie points out, “There would be no janitors…” But you do what you have to do to make ends meet. That’s kinda how responsibility works.
And in those times when we’re at our lowest and we just can’t find something to like about our jobs, we go out there and we find something that can make us happy. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s family. Maybe it’s spending time with friends. Maybe it’s spending time alone.
Maybe, if we’re very lucky, that thing that makes us happy can eventually become the thing that helps us make ends meet. All of the optimists and self-help gurus out there want us to embrace that thing that makes us happy, pursuing those goals with all we have. But that doesn’t mean tomorrow I’m going to wake up making a living by writing the things I want to write about.
So, in the meantime, I’m going to keep plugging at what I’m doing. I’m going to do whatever it takes to make ends meet. And in my free time, I’m going to do the things I want to do that bring me that fleeting happiness that I may not be finding in my nine to five.
But what do you think? Am I wrong to think it’s irresponsible to only pursue what makes us happy without doing what it takes to get by? Let me know in the comments!