I "need" therapy because the concept of work is a joke?
For 30 years I bounced around to about 15 different jobs and each one made me more depressed. I eventually realized what I knew all along...I am a square peg surrounded by round holes, and no job is going to allow me to be happy.
The entire concept of working is a joke, and we are born into a society that perpetuates this trap. You are forced to choose an activity that you have to do, trading most of your life away for just enough money to survive. Your free time is gone because on the day or two off you have each week, you have to catch up on chores, obligations, and appointments. There is no time for travel or enjoying hobbies. Not that you have much money for those things anyway, because even middle class jobs don't pay you enough to get ahead. Becoming financially free is a pipe dream unless you work for yourself.
I had a chance to make my dream happen, 3 years ago. I had an inheritance that I was trying to save to buy a house but I quickly realized working full time that I would never be able to save up enough money for a house even with the inheritance to jump-start it. So I quit my job (it was causing me depression and stress anyway, even more than most of my previous jobs), and I started an online business. I also started to enjoy life for the first time, actually taking vacations, going camping, going to music festivals which became my saving grace for many reasons and now my life revolves around them.
But now after 3 years, my inheritance is gone and my business is only bringing in $200/mo. Depression hit again as I realized getting a normal job again will mean no more time to work on my business, no more travelling, no more music festivals. Basically, no reason for living. Back to the previous 30 years of my life revolving around work.
I went to a therapist right before I quit my job 3 1/2 years ago and that was no help. I only realized how different I was from the rest of society. I started going to therapy again a few days ago, and they told me that I just need to go to a job coach to help me find the right job for me. Facepalm. Seriously...taking a bunch of personality tests, rewriting my resume, and getting a list of job search sites is going to solve my problem? I have tried job coaches before, I know how they work (which clearly is not good at all, for me anyway). Another job coach I talked to once told me I needed personal therapy before working on finding a job. So they just bounce me back and forth because neither of them can find a solution to my problem. That's because the problem is the system. And if you don't agree with the system, you can't survive. You have to comply with it in order to survive. But surviving is all you will do, you won't thrive. Thriving only can happen when you are in control of your life, your time, and your finances. I am not asking to be rich, studies have shown you don't get more happier once you earn $75,000 a year, but I only need about $40,000 to have a house and free time to enjoy my life.
Oh, before I end this, friends have told me I should just get a part time job so I can still work on my business and have money coming in. But if I only work part time, I will lose my health insurance. The only way to have health insurance is to either get it from a full time job or not earn enough to be able pay for it yourself. Also, part time jobs still cause me depression, I've had a few of them. It doesn't matter if I'm only doing something a few hours a day instead of all day, because my day still revolves around it, I don't enjoy what I'm doing, I need to schedule everything else around it, and I'm still trading my precious time for a few measly bucks, and it's also less time I have to work on my business which is my passion. Also with a part time job, you get no paid time off, so you can't request like 4 or 5 days off in a row, which I need to go camping and to festivals.
This post was mostly a rant, but I am open to any suggestions, advice, thoughts, feelings, etc.
I sincerely hope you find what you are looking for and that you find meaning and fulfillment in it. It's great that you have something that you're passionate about and that you have recreational activities that you find enjoyment in.
I too, have a similar understanding of this idea of what work is. I knew since my first job at the age of 14 that work is basically just trading time for money. I grew up in poverty, a refugee, son of uneducated poor refugees. We came to America when I was only three months old so America is home to me. All I have ever known before now, life was all about working, earning just enough to get by, just surviving to get to the next meal. As I advanced in life and my career, just about every meaningful thing I did was out of obligation or for someone else. I didn't know how to live for myself, and still don't. After dropping out of college and going through several full time jobs and sometimes even working a part time job in addition to a full time job at the same time, I've finally gotten to a place in my life where I think I'm on a path to financial stability. My wife is able to be a stay at home mother for our two young children. We had a brand new home built for us last year, and my children will not know hunger and poverty. After the years of intense grinding, painful sacrifices, and several rough blue collar jobs, I feel that I finally made it, the American dream...I guess.
Transitioning from a greasy, sweaty, high demanding blue collar job to a non-laborious, boring, clock-watching, office job in a cubicle for a giant corporation was very different. I anticipate life to continue to get more comfortable for my family, but life still feels empty. It seems life had meaning when I had nothing and I was fighting for everything just to get by. It's like learning how to live again. I have no personal passions, no hobbies, no recreational activities. Happiness and joy was never a real pursuit. Now that I have a little more time and resource to enjoy life, I do not know how to do it. I'm grateful for my job, but nothing I do at work is important and adds no value to anything. It's quite meaningless and unfulfilling. I say these things not to boast, but to say that all the time that I traded for money to improve my living conditions, I never learned how to really experience life for myself. You at least know who you are as an individual. Hold on to that. I know that lacking certain material things in life can really make living a fulfilling life challenging, but it is the grind and pursuit that can bring meaning to one's life for that moment. Hold on to who you are while you work hard to reach financial stability or whatever material things and tools to help you live the way that you want to. I never realized how empty I am as an individual and now I need to figure that out. I have tried counseling. Didn't help much. I'm seeing a psychiatrist. Got some meds, and it helps a little. I'm in my early/mid 30s, and I have 50+ more years of this! Life gave me lemons. I kind of made lemonade, but I don't know how to enjoy it. I guess I have 50+ more years to figure it out, maybe...
Maybe this is just a first-world problem. We have the privilege to do some soul searching and complain about our jobs while elsewhere in the world, people struggle just to make it to the next day, just to survive. They struggle to find food or get clean water. Jobs, or the concept of trading time for money isn't even an opportunity that they have access to.
Anyway, thank you for sharing. I hope my thoughts weren't too much of a downer. I hope you find what you're looking for without losing who you are.
Thank you for sharing your story! That makes me even more sad that this has become the normal. I'd say 99% of the people I know also worked their butts off to provide a good life for their kids, only to find they didn't know who they were. Most jobs aren't fullfilling. Between this problem and just struggling to survive every day, I don't know which one is worse. I wish I could help everyone who is like you, doing what they have to but still suffering. It just isn't fair!
Hi GAIAGODDESS: Thanks for sharing. What I'm about to share with you will sound repetitive and cold, but I want you to embrace it as being in your best interest. You are correct. Life is not fair, shoot, it's not even equal globally. The problem is not the system. The problem is your thought process.
First, work is not a joke, it is a blessing. The camping you enjoy is the result of someone creating that environment for you. How about the music you enjoy. Obviously, the musicians work hard to create their product, while stage hands, "roadies" do their thing to bring the best possible sound for your enjoyment. Food, drink, bedding is all from people who either have to, or enjoy providing these passions for you. Some have to do these things to survive while other find their "work" a passion. Regardless, their work is to bring you satisfaction or to fulfill a common need. You also, can do this for others.
Secondly, appreciate and take advantage of the 30 years of education you have from your experiences. I will suggest these experiences will point you in a direction that is potentially rewarding; emotionally, spiritually, and financially. And yes you are spiritual. Your entire post is about finding the meaning from life.
Try this. Identify what your values are in this life. List about 10 or more. I will suggest (and hope) it is more than camping and music festivals. Dig deep. Prioritize them. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in humanity and serving others, even before yourself? What brings you joy? Be totally honest with yourself. Is it God, sex, music, food, money, popularity, appearance, health, others; the list is endless. If you are not sure, ask yourself, what do I think about most, what do I do most often, where do I most want to be and with whom. Basically, what currently brings or will bring you joy. If your current behaviors and time are spent with low priority items, perhaps your values are wrong. Either change your values or your behavior. That alone will bring some harmony and meaning to your life. Once you have identified your correct values, I will guarantee you, there are job opportunities with each value that will bring you joy in the pursuit. Perhaps the journey is more important than the destination.
Oh, and if you need help identifying your values, let us know. Good luck.
I know everyone says if I just change my thought process, it won't be as bad. But I feel like that is just putting a small bandaid over a gaping wound. Just like therapists try to get you to use coping mechanisms, to cope with something is to deal with it, to find ways to "ignore" it and shove it under the rug so you can handle life. I come from a holistic perspective when it comes to health and life, and that is to look at the whole system, not to just fix one symptom of the problem but to go to the root of the problem so you no longer even have symptoms to fix. There are people out there trying to change the system, but it's going to take decades or maybe even centuries to do that. So the next best thing is to create your own reality, your own system, apart from the current broken system. That is what entrepreneurs do, and that is what I'm going to continue to try to do until I am forced to get a j-0-b (and stay Just Over Broke).
Yes I acknowledge that the things I enjoy are all possible because someone had to "work", however that is their choice they did that work. I am not forcing them to do it. I appreciate it, but what others do is beyond my control so if they hate their work, that's on them just like me hating my past work is on me. If someone is doing something they love on their own terms, it isn't work anymore, like the music festivals promoters and musicians. They barely get paid, often only come out even, and sometimes go into debt for it. And that is why I love my business because I can work on it 12 hours every day and it doesn't feel like work and I'll continue to do it whether or not I get paid a lot. This is completely different from the jobs I've had, so of course I want to continue to focus on my business.
My 30 years of experience has only done one thing for me; proven to me that I am not cut out for regular work. It isnt something I can use to evolve myself in any way.
I can easily make a list of 10 values, and some are related to my business, some are related to my hobbies. I never said I couldn't find a job in one of those values, but just doing a job in a certain field or doing a certain thing doesn't mean you're going to enjoy doing it. Take one example; I love cooking. But I've worked in 3 kitchens/resteraunts and they all still made me depressed. It isn't as black and white as just finding a job doing one of your values or hobbies. There are many people who say you shouldn't do what you love for a job because then you won't love it anymore. I think there is a middle path, do what you love but not as a job, do it on your own terms, and that's what I'm doing with my business.
Thanks for the response and your clarification. I also like your approach to holistic healing. However, help me understand what system is broke. Is it capitalism? Is it minimum paying jobs? Is it work that you don't like to perform. Perhaps it is all of this? As you suggest, correctly, people pick and choose jobs that they find necessary, meaningful, and financially rewarding. Sometimes this may be a minimum wage job with long hours due to an entry level position leading to greater things, or due to a disability, age, or for educational reasons. Doesn't this apply to you also? You are free to choose to work or not and on what you wish to work based on your individual aspirations.
So I think I've gone full circle on this. What applies to you, may not apply to others and vice versa. Doesn't that make this about you and your perceptions about a job rather than about a broke system?
Hello. I'm afraid I don't have any good advice, but I just wanted to add to let you know I know how you feel. I worked jobs I absolutely hated, far more than anyone else at my job, and far more than other friends who had similarly pointless jobs. I quit at some point and started my own business. After a couple of years, the money was just pouring in non-stop with me barely having to every do anything. I was paying my rent and all bills like 6 months ahead of time, and I just wouldn't even think about bills for half a year at a time. It was normal during this time for business to go up and down throughout the year or year upon year. It was the expected rhythm of sales. I got complacent and didn't invest the effort I should have to keep things growing. I think if I had, I might be extremely well off right now, financially.
At some point the lows started getting lower, and before I really realized this wasn't just the same normal ebb and flow of things, the highs that were really fueling everything very quickly stopped being high at all. Now I'm scraping by with the help of family, and I'm about to move back to my hometown with my family and old friends. I can't keep relying on family, and I have a very short window to either turn things around, majorly. There is a possibility I can do this, due to me investing time in slowly turning my business back around, but it's far from guaranteed.
If it doesn't turn around quick after my move, I need to just go get a menial job somewhere for low pay. It's so unthinkable I'm kindof in denial that it's a real possibility. The only thing I would suggest is that if you still have hobbies that can become profitable pursue those, if you can get government help, get that (without shame or fear of judgement), and if there's anything else unconventional like living with roommates or family or whatever, that might be frowned upon, try to figure out a way to turn things around to live life on your own terms again. I agree, society is a bit broken (regardless of whether its anyone's fault), our minds are meant to do stuff we have no interest in for most of our time.
what was supposed to be:
our minds *aren't* meant to do stuff we have no interest in for most of our time
This is to 8TWENTY8...sorry I can't figure out how to reply to only a specific comment.
What I think is broken is, I don't know what single word to call it or even how to describe it other than people should have their basic needs taken care of without having to struggle and suffer for it. I don't think capitalism is bad in itself, but there needs to be some kind of financial support for everyone, having adequate shelter and food shouldn't be a luxury, it's a necessity. We shouldn't have to work really hard just to have necessities but no extras. I can see working hard for the extras, but in the case of most people, they don't make it that far because most jobs only pay enough for your survival.
I don't think it's a problem of just my perspective, because I'm not the only one.
THROWAWAY... I can understand how you feel, totally! It sucks to make money on your own but then to have it not be enough and then you have to fall back on the old things you used to do (jobs, getting help from people). Because you get used to your life being awesome and then you realize it isn't forever (unless you are successful without any lows)
I think I get it now, GAIAGODDESS You have been speaking of things as how they should be, not the way they are. That would be known as Heaven. We had it at one time, long ago, but we gave it up in pursuit of selfishness. The result is a sinful world. If you accept this truth, you may stop beating yourself up with what should be and accept what will be. This should give you some peace and allow you to enjoy your work more. Let us know how that goes.
What a load of hogwash.
How do you think peoples' basic needs would be met if no one had to work?
I like my work, mostly, but if you think I do it because I love every minute of it, you're mistaken. You've actually bought into the "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" rubbish. And it is rubbish. Attitudes like that devalue real labor. Musicians may love making music, but dealing with their bandmates' egos, producer's demands, touring, those things aren't fun. You say, "Well, I don't force anyone to run a camp ground, make music, create a meal for me....blah blah poor me I didn't ask to be born." Those people differ from you only in that they grew up, and realized expecting everyone else to provide for them was the definition of childishness.
I understand you. Try to expand your business or find other sources of income online. Now there are many places where you can learn from the comfort of your home and start earning
Yes, you should try to find a part-time job, so as not to stop exactly what you like. Good luck.
Work in your case is still necessary. It takes a lot of funds to promote a business. I hope I will be able to find a more universal way of earning money.