Friends, some of you may have seen the release of my new Life Sherpa Service. I present the first submission and my first response.
Dear Life Sherpa,
I have found myself slightly more than half-way through my 20s and, by most social and economic standards, reasonably successful. However, the ugly truth that I am, in fact, just a “”resource”” in the eyes of my employer has weighed heavily on my conscience as of late. In the great machine of life and the American dream, I am of course just one tiny cog. Nonetheless, I’m feeling quite conflicted about where my loyalties do and should lie. I’m aware of and intimately familiar with the current economic condition, so, on the one hand, I’m grateful to have a job and all of the benefits, pecuniary and non, that come along with it. On the other, I have to wonder if the management philosophy of profitability on the backs of employees at the expense of their personal happiness without regard to such sacrifice and under the guise of client service is not enough to render null and void the obligation one such employee might feel towards an employer for the aforementioned benefits. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand the system. But is this simply a case of knowledge? A loss of innocence and unveiling of my eyes to reality? Should I accept that while the names may change, the story will be the same just about anywhere? Am I right to believe that a higher standard should exist and that it might be possible to find? Or have I let the supposed “”entitlement”” of my millennial generation get the best of my perspective?
Let’s hear it, Sherpa. I’m listening.
Doubting in Denver
From the tone of your email, it sounds like the man has got you down. First, I’d prescribe a nice Cheerwine to take your mind off of things. If they don’t have it near you, try a Dublin Dr. Pepper.
I wasn’t sure from the message whether or not you hate your job. I get the impression that you don’t actually hate it, but are just frustrated and are not enjoying it. Most jobs are like that. Even when you think you’re going to enjoy a job, be it clerical, decision making, or robotic, every job loses the passion and exhilaration after a few years. I think the first thing to do is to get a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle of it, and weigh the pros and cons of your current gig to see where you fall on the happiness scale of things. That is the first step.
You’re right to worry about the economy. Now is not the time to arbitrarily quit your job, as those can be quite scarce. Once you’ve determined whether it’s you, or your job that’s getting you down, the solution can be one of the following.
1.) If it is your job, start looking for a new one. Not loudly or publicly, but quietly and below the radar. What do you want to do? Something similar? Different and exciting? Stable or unstable? Unless you’re really adventurous, I’d urge against forming a business to teach underwater basket weaving, but hey, USC quarterbacks could always use training for their second careers (Leinart, Sanchez, I’m thinking of you). Many businesses start during times of turmoil, but few are ultimately successful. If you pick a more stable path to move on to, look at the list of “Cons” you put for your current job, and try and avoid ending up in a place where you will be in the same boat. Use that list as a manifesto.
2.) If it is you, think of ways to make your job fun again. Come up with challenges for yourself that will spice things up. And no, I’m not talking about playing hanky panky with the significant other in the boss’s office — this isn’t Mad Men. Things like, trying to get a full line from a movie in a memo without it being apparent. The Big Lebowski is an excellent choice. Get to know your co-workers better. Maybe avoid the creepy guy with the musty office, it’s musty for a reason, but making new friends at the office is something that can improve morale for you. Try changing up your desk/office. Challenge yourself.
I hope that I was able to give some sage advice, but seeing as this is Life Sherpa Column #1, I may be a bit rusty. Now let’s go scale a mountain.