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?


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