Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Hate My Job: Rinse and Repeat

Confession time: I am finding it increasingly difficult to drag my leaden fanny to work each day. Whatever passing satisfaction I may get from bits and pieces of my job are no longer sufficient to sustain my morale. I'm fed up with bureaucracy, with local and office politics, with multiple bosses, with ungrateful clients and surly volunteers and oblivious citizens, with trying to cheerfully promote programs that have outlived their usefulness, at least in their present forms. I'm tired. I just hate it.

And I feel guilty for hating it, because for God's sake we're in a recession, and I should be thankful I have a job. At least that is what the embedded endless-loop tape of my parents' Advice For Living is telling me. But I also recall, many years ago, telling my father -- a promising student who was yanked out of school after 8th grade to help on the farm, and whose subsequent work life was one hard-labor blue-collar job after another -- that I wanted a job I could really enjoy, and seeing the wistful look on his face when he responded that he never thought of work as something to enjoy.

Why do I feel entitled to work that I enjoy? Who do I think I am?

I don't know. But right now I feel like my work is strangling my soul. I feel like my pepper plants, which drowned this weekend in their containers during a local downpour while we were out of town; I came home to find them completely submerged in water, too far gone to save. That's what work feels like to me.

Maybe it's because the contrast between my work life and the rest of my life -- my life with Fellow Traveler, family and friends, my work at church, my burgeoning interest in promoting local food in this area and the surprising networking that's led to -- is so dramatic. My offwork life is immensely satisfying. It's a good life. And my only -- my only -- motivation in grimly schlepping off to the office morning after morning, at this point, is to get home again as soon as possible, where I really live.

There's a part of me that is hoping that this profound and growing dissatisfaction is a sign that something else is opening up for me in the future; that one door, it seems, is closing so that I might move ahead to a new, open doorway. Or maybe I'm just a burned-out case.

I only wish I knew what I really wanted to be when I grew up.

11 comments:

P.S. an after-thought said...

I hate to say it, but sometimes not working feels the same way. However, at least there is a flexible schedule to not working.

Yeah, it is a pit of a time to dislike a job. My daughter-in-law to be just got laid off. My son is disliking the money grubbing nature of the company he is in, and he knows that they want to lay him off. They even got him an interview in another company, but that company decided not to hire him. I think they are trying to get out of paying unimployment.

mchristie said...

Understand. Work for me is a pain, and not satisfying. Feels like Groundhog Day sometimes. Outside of work, church has become a burden and I am tired of being president of the church council and tired of being the only one who will assist with the Cup on Sundays and never be able take Communion as part of the congregation. Dark night of the soul, I suppose. Happiness comes from my dog, my wife and my (remodeled last summer) kitchen. And I'm way past due in seeing my spiritual director. See her next week, finally!

Ivy said...

I have been there and will keep you in prayer. For myself there was a relatively easy solution. I went from part time to full time studies to finish my degree to start seminary. Then I couldn't continue working and doing that. I haven't regretted the move once. Peace

Funky Grampa said...

I offer my prayers!
And a difficult Blessing! After several years of talk therapy enhanced by pharmacology, my depression and disgust with my working life did not lift.
A wise friend encouraged me to practice the Duty of Joy! Each morning as I sat down at my desk, I prayed – “This is the day the Lord has made, let me find joy therein!” The idea was to write down in my daily agenda a moment of joy. As I got better at the exercise of looking for joy I would some days write a joy for each hour.
Did this solve the infighting of work politics? No. Did this stop the “Yes, but” intransigence of the people I dealt with? No. Did this ameliorate the bureaucratic jams I faced? No.
Sometimes these joys were very small indeed. But they gave me a new focus. I found strength to endure with a modicum of serenity. I was a more celebrative husband, father and friend outside of work because of it.
I shall continue to pray that your dark night of the soul will find a ray of light!

Mary Beth said...

Argh. I wince to read this. I'm awfully sorry it's so crummy.

YOU DESERVE TO HAVE WORK YOU LOVE, THAT NOURISHES YOU. I believe that.

I have work that I love and believe in, but the work situation itself has been quite, quite bad for the last few years. Here's the prayer that's gotten me through on many days:

FOR TODAY

O God:
Give me strength to live another day:
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spit of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my sould that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

praying for you.

PamBG said...

Why do I feel entitled to work that I enjoy? Who do I think I am?

I think you've reversed the statement: 'You are not entitled to a job you enjoy'. As in 'It is not permitted for you to ever have a job you enjoy.'

Well, it's a recession and finding a new job might be difficult. That's the reality of the situation.

Does that mean that 'God does not want you to explore your options'? I think not.

It is permitted to explore your options. If you find a job you will enjoy, it is permitted to accept said job and to enjoy it if you get it.

Choralgirl said...

My office chair is vibrating with recognition. Sigh.

Peace, girl.

toujoursdan said...

'm tired. I just hate it.

And I feel guilty for hating it, because for God's sake we're in a recession, and I should be thankful I have a job. At least that is what the embedded endless-loop tape of my parents' Advice For Living is telling me. But I also recall, many years ago, telling my father -- a promising student who was yanked out of school after 8th grade to help on the farm, and whose subsequent work life was one hard-labor blue-collar job after another -- that I wanted a job I could really enjoy, and seeing the wistful look on his face when he responded that he never thought of work as something to enjoy.

Why do I feel entitled to work that I enjoy? Who do I think I am?


This plays through my head every single day.

PK said...

I left one career... went for a master's degree... started the new career... and I know exactly how you feel. I haven't even paid off my student loans... and most days I hate my job. I'm living one day (sometimes one moment at the time)... and that helps... because I'm like you... I think God's working in this in someway that I can't see yet... but waiting bites!

Counselor in Process said...

You need a Vocational Counselor! Let me introduce myself ;-)
I morphed from account manager (in the interior design business-15 years) to licensed mental health counselor and certified rehabilitation counselor (last 13 years)
Find a Voc. Counselor in your area and do some testing, interest inventories, myers briggs, etc., then take a class. Good luck!

Ellis said...

Thanks for expressing what we all have felt, currently feel, and will feel about work and life. However, there is hope.

For years, I was successful in my job as a lawyer, but I was constantly living in fear of failure. Then God intervened in my life (through difficulties in my job, health, and marriage), and many suggested that I go to seminary. I did not believe that God wanted me to go to seminary, at least at that point in my life. Instead, I began taking God to work, and I'm not talking about trying to get people to say a superstitious little prayer and purportedly become a Christian--this is what I had tried for years, and it never worked.

Instead, I am talking about exhibiting Grace to the unlovely--to difficult bosses, difficult clients, and difficult opposing attorneys. It changes me and them. Now, I pray with many of my clients, co-workers, and even opposing counsel. I didn't try to lead them to Christ; rather, Christ exhibited Himself through me, subject to all of my human frailties and sin. I wasn't living, and am not living, a perfect, sinless life. Instead, praise Christ, I am living a Grace-filled life.

May God Bless You.