February 7, 2022 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: when your job is Japanese water torture

Truth Bomb Tuesday: You hate your job, but is it actually the job.

“You know, maybe your job isn’t actually the problem.”

I was talking to a student the other day, and they had the February blues.

I think it’s something that comes after Australia day. Summer is ending, your holidays are over, and the rest of the work year lays out before you like a long hard slog.

At that point you say, “Oh yeah. That’s right. I freaking hate my job.”

And I can empathise. In the worst days of my private accountancy practice it felt like a unique torture. Actually it was like Japanese water torture, where they let a tap drip water on your head.

At first its fine. But the water wears away at your skull, until finally each drop is like a sledge hammer.

Sometimes work is exactly like that. No one day is all that bad on its own, but when you’re working day after day, week after week, it can end up feeling like a sledge hammer to the face.

Anyway, this is where my student was at. The February blues were upon him. He was remembering how much he hated his job. Next Christmas felt like a million miles away.

But he couldn’t think of what else he’d rather be doing. And he blamed himself. He blamed himself for not have broader interests – for not having something he felt passionate about. For not having a career change in mind, ready to go.

I told him to go easy on himself.

For starters, it’s hard to develop your interests and fan your passions when you’re tied to the hamster wheel 50 weeks of the year.

The way we arrange work in the modern world, doesn’t leave much time left over for other interests, and it leaves even less energy.

Don’t blame yourself if you’re not inspired and driven. It’s hard in the modern world to keep your passions hot.

The second thing I would say is don’t be afraid to hate the concept of a job, rather than the job itself.

I asked him if he imagined he might be happy if he stayed in the same job, but only did it 3 days a week.

He said that he would. His eyes lit up at the idea.

The problem he had wasn’t with the particulars of his job. It was with the concept of a job in general.

It’s about a conception of work that chews up almost all of your available time and energy and spits you out the other side at 65 with a receding hair line and bowel cancer.

That’s what the problem is.

And it’s the thing that comes up over and over again when we do goal-setting with our students. The number one thing they want is time. Time to do what they want.

Time to actually have their life back.

So if you’ve got the February blues, go easy on yourself. It’s perfectly natural.

And if you’re dreaming of time – if you’re dreaming of getting your life back – come speak to me.