Woe Is Me! “I Hate the Idea of Working For the Rest of My Life. How Do I Cope?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I’m disillusioned by the idea of ‘work.’ Irrespective of the nature or type of work, the mere idea that, as a human being, I have to dedicate a huge chunk of my time to working, drives me into an existential crisis. It makes me feel like survival is a costly affair, and that I’m forced to pay a premium for something I did not subscribe to voluntarily (my birth). How do I go about managing my expectations around work and a work life?”
DD: This is very understandable, and I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling this way. Fortunately for some, unfortunately for most, this is the reality that we must come to terms with. Ideally — very preachy, but — unionize, lead, contribute, be part of movements that demand for better quality of life for working class folks without having to sell your soul. The other more realistic option, in this economy, would probably be to find something you like for a purpose you feel passionate about, so it feels less draining. That is, of course, if you can afford to do so, obviously.
AT: We really are in a pickle with this one! Some people seem to genuinely love their work, and honestly, good for them. Some people are lucky to have art, but there’s so much privilege seeped in all this. Even the things you do enjoy can get so tedious to do in a workspace. But my take on this is to find something you really like — be it work or the environment, and go to work where people actually talk to you and you don’t get isolated, and at least, you get some sort of support group situation, of sorts.
AS: The thing is, unless you have the privilege and backing of generational wealth, work is probably something you can’t avoid. But within that, it might help to think about what aspect of your work life makes you feel this way the most. There are two ways to look at this: either you can treat work as just a means to pay your bills (there’s nothing wrong with this), or you can find the field/organization/job/role that you’re passionate about, that gives you some semblance of joy, or where you feel like you’re making a difference.
You can consciously strive to strike a balance between work and life by looking for freelance opportunities, or finding workplaces that give you enough freedom, or by just taking enough breaks. Point being, work shouldn’t come at the cost of your mental health, but if you can’t afford to not work, then maybe trying to figure out how you can make your work life work best for you may be the next step here?