Archives for the month of: July, 2016

 

I’m a TV geek and when I get the chance, I enjoy digging deep with the series I watch. For the summer batch of the Japanese animation series I follow, the show ReLIFE caught my eye. The premise is somewhat interesting. Arata is 27 and he has had a difficult time landing full-time work. Just as he fails another job interview and his parents cut him off financially, he is approached by the company, ReLIFE. Desperate for money, he agrees to be part of an experiment where he revisits the senior year of high school as a chance to start his life over. This show is largely a comedy and the exploits of a late twenties guy (given the appearance of a 17-year-old) returning to high school are just as amusing as you would expect.

However, there was one episode that really caught my attention. In this episode Arata reflects on his last full-time job. It was a job he hated; there was harassment, bullying, and a demoralizing work culture. This culture led his direct superior, a women he highly respected, to commit suicide. After she died, he was horrified to find the incident was swept under the rug and he quit his job. That decision ultimately led to his difficulties in finding full-time work. If he had stayed, he would have had financial stability, but he would have suffered in silence. This episode is deeply touching and relatable to many people because we often ask ourselves about the career paths we could have taken. Would that unfulfilling job have been worth it, even if you hated your every working moment? Is a career path meant to be enjoyable, or is it something that simply pays the bills? Should people take their own happiness into their hands, even at the risk of enduring financial pain for a period of time?

The conclusion I (and the show) comes up with is a resounding “no.” In fact, Arata meets his successors while visiting his former boss’s grave and they reveal their admiration for his ability to take charge of his own life and quit. I personally believe that even if a job pays you well, if you truly hate it with every fiber of your being or it makes you miserable on a daily basis, you will suffer in the long run. If you work at a job that actively breeds an atmosphere of fear and jealousy, you can keep your head down and work hard, but what will you do when you become a direct victim of that system? There’s a great article on Epic Careering about suffering in silence at a job and how that unhappiness really affects you. All too often many people are told they should stick with a job they hate, just because it pays well. Imagine how much happier people could be if they realized their lives were more than just going to work, and that passion and employment do not have to be mutually exclusive.

 

Have you ever left a demoralizing employment situation and ultimately felt a sense of vindication?

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A screenshot of that episode of ReLIFE. Harsh language, but very true words about a job that makes you miserable.

This week did not start off well. I woke up on Monday with a bad headache (a mixture of lack of sleep and sinus pressure, I think) that has lasted until today. I feel as though I haven’t slept at all, when in fact I’ve gotten about 7-8 hours on both Sunday and Monday nights. It’s frustrating when I have a lot of work to do and I would really rather be home in bed trying to sleep off whatever this is. So, what is it?

From experience, I can probably tell you that yes, it is a bit of sinus pressure, but it probably is also a lack of exercise and a rise in my stress levels. Sure, I slept long enough the last two nights, but did I sleep well? The answer to that is probably no. For the past week or so, I’ve been neglecting a few things: I haven’t been exercising regularly (my excuse is that it’s way too hot, but really I think I’m just being lazy), eating well, or taking enough time to mentally relax when I need it. One thing that I’ve been meaning to do that I haven’t done at all is try meditating. Karen gave me a few great pointers a couple months ago in her comment to one of my posts, and like a jerk I said I’d give them a try and haven’t yet. The crux of this is that I have to make time to do these things–I have to physically set aside time in the morning or evening to empty my mind.

This seems daunting, especially when I’ve been so wound up lately because of other things. I wouldn’t say I’m overly busy, exactly, my mind has just been working overtime trying to process things. And I haven’t been helping the situation at all–I’ve been a passive observer rather than an active participant in my own life.

So, starting today, that’s enough. Enough inaction. I’m going to take a walk this afternoon and then maybe one more in the evening when it’s a bit cooler. I’m going to begin meditating this evening. I’m also going to eat better than I have been. I want to correct this passive behavior now before it gets out of hand!

Have any of you stepped back and realized that you need to be more active in your lives? What did you do to ensure that?

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Last week the news cycle was a depressing whirlwind of violence, political rhetoric and general unpleasantness. As a black person in America, the news from last week was upsetting. I probably made it worse, by following social media and reading comments sections. (No one has ever really felt better by reading the comments section of a news article.) I’m not really sure what compelled me to keep browsing. As I thought about it, perhaps I was searching for a way to sooth my soul. I came across one tweet that said prayer works best, so I prayed and felt slightly better. As I headed into the weekend I also received the advice it is best to focus on one day at a time. This simple lesson can be so easy to overlook at times.

For the weekend, I decided not to focus on news and national hurt, but relaxing and recharging for another week. Some may call it a distraction, but if upsetting news takes up much of your mental capacity, would it not be best to take a break from those thoughts? As the week ended and my thoughts settled, I couldn’t help but think:

  • Life continues.
  • Be kind to others.
  • Take life one day at a time.
  • Spend time with family and friends when you can and make sure they know you appreciate and love them.
  • There is nothing wrong with small talk.
  • Sometimes in life it can be the small gestures that really count.
  • If you have a big idea, goal, or dream, don’t be afraid to pursue those dreams.

 

Hello, dear readers. I am back from a long holiday weekend! My company gave us July 5th off as well–it was pretty great :).

Yesterday, I was relaxing and reviewing my (short) week ahead when I thought that I’d get a head start on one of my freelance projects. I was watching reruns of The Office on Netflix while flicking through the novel I’m currently reading, telling myself that in “5 minutes” or “10 minutes” I’d get up, get my laptop, and get to work. Well, those 5 or 10 minutes turned into an hour and I eventually had an honest chat with myself: “Are you really going to work today? Are you going to get anything meaningful done? Does anything absolutely need to be finished today?” After answering those questions honestly (no, no, and no), I decided to not think about work until today.

Boy, did that open up the rest of my day! I felt like a rock had been lifted from my back and I was able to feel better about relaxing. Later in the day, I organized my bedroom, cooked myself a nice dinner, and took a long walk. I didn’t feel guilty about being “lazy” all day and I woke up this morning truly feeling ready to start my day.

I gave myself permission to relax on my vacation–how nice of me! But seriously, how many of us agonize over work-related thoughts, especially the day before going back to work? And it feels terrible! I promised myself I wouldn’t make myself feel guilty or stressed before going back to work because that would just spoil my “Monday”.

I’m halfway through my day today and I haven’t once regretted my lazy day yesterday. I treated myself–don’t be afraid to treat yourself, too :). And happy 4th of July, all!

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