If you are consistently unhappy with your life between 9–5 on Monday through Friday, something needs to change.
I won’t accept any of this “it’s just a job” garbage. Anything which takes somewhere between 40–75 hours of your life, each week is not “just” anything.
Once I did the math, I realized I spend 42 hours at work between Monday and Friday, including a 2 hour drive each day. That means 52 of my 80 waking weekday hours are already accounted for, leaving only 28 for eating, reading, hobbies, and oh yes, trying to find some time for the wife I pledged my life to.
Given those figures, I (and you) better make sure that time is being well spent.
The obvious choice, the one we dreamers love to scream out is “leave your job!” But honestly, that’s not the solution for everyone. If You aren’t ready to take the jump just yet. That’s still no reason to sulk. Here are three things I’d suggest if you feel like you’re in a work rut:
1. Learn something new
When you take on a new project, task, or system, you’ll likely get a big headache. Then you’ll hate your life. And you’ll probably want to kick a puppy because learning is hard.
If you push through all that, though, the cells in your brain will start to change, adjusting the way they fire to help you. Your mastery of a new skill will give you a fresh kick of dopamine, which makes your brain smile.
There’s also a weird unspoken benefit of this step, which is perceived control in one area of life leads to a feeling of control in others. Don’t believe me? Think back to the last time you cleaned your room and then felt like you could do anything.
2. Meet someone new
Although that sounds like the tagline for an online dating website, meeting someone new is the best thing you can do at work.
People who have a best friend at work are more likely to be happy where they are, more likely to stay where they are, and more likely to make others happy where they are.
In any case, when you remove the focus from yourself and your problems, you’d be surprised how fast you can solve others.
You are the solution to someone else’s problem.
Go find that someone else.
3. See something new
At one of the lowest points in my adult life, I stepped outside of the office, unable to take the drama of corporate America for another second.
I wondered what the point of it all was.
I wondered what the point of me was.
I wondered if any of it really mattered.
Stumbling across the parking lot, I sought the only patch of green in my concrete jungle workplace and plopped straight down in the grass.
Just as I got into a real nice flow of feeling sorry for myself, I spotted something brown and fuzzy walking along the bottom of the hill. Another one appeared. Then another one then another one.
Before I knew it, I was staring down at 8 baby turkeys. They hopped and bobbled along, chasing after their mother. Surrounded by miles of asphalt and plexiglass and angry people, these tiny beings rolled past me without a care.
I literally burst into tears.
When you hate your job, it’s easy to think nothing else exists. Our friends, family, and co-workers suffer because the world has become so narrow to us.
Give yourself a reminder that life is bigger than work. It’s bigger than you or me or 8 tiny turkeys at the bottom of a hill.
Learn something new, meet someone new, and see something new.
Making your own world bigger can make your problems seem that much smaller.