Kudos to you, corporate 9-5ers, that shit is not easy. Personally, I felt like a puppet on a treadmill for the majority of my time in corporate land. I often found myself working 60+ hours a week to keep up with everything I was asked to do. I structured my day how they felt was best, dressed how they wanted me to dress, spoke to people in the scripts they taught. I attended regular “sales training” courses to master the art of manipulating conversations. I developed anxiety around actually taking time to eat lunch or god forbid leaving on-time. I quickly learned from my coworkers that part of company culture was to just “lie about weekly numbers because the expectations were unrealistic.” What?… No.
To be direct, I was not impressed with what corporate America had to offer. I questioned my friends and family about the country on their flourishing corporate careers; “yeah, it’s a lot of bull shit, but it pays the bills”, “the people suck and only care about money but the job is pretty easy and it has great benefits”, “I only have 29 more years until retirement!”, “The money is too good to leave”. Very few of the people I know LOVE their job. So why do we stay? Why do we slowly torture parts of our body and soul for the security of our lifestyle?
I get it; Dependable income is nice, healthcare, retirement, paid vacation, fear of starting over somewhere new, uncertainty of what else would be more satisfying… The reasons for staying are many. There is certainly a “trade off” point to what makes the job demands worthwhile for everyone. In my professional opinion, it seems the underlying reason for not leaving a job that one is unsatisfied with comes down to not feeling well enough to make the change.
Now I don’t just mean well as in no fever or body aches. What I mean is, firing on all cylinders; mind, body, spirit wellness. The fact of the matter is this; When you’re spending 40-50-60 hours a week doing something that doesn’t satisfy you and causes stress, anxiety and angst, you’re weakening your immune system. You’re fighting against yourself. This leads to low or even no energy to do the things that you actually enjoy doing, not feeling worth the effort to eat well or exercise, and puts strain on relationships. We slowly lose our luster and mustering up the enthusiasm, and confidence to find something more suitable for our self becomes increasingly overwhelming. It’s a vicious cycle and a lot of us are caught up in it. But the good news is that we can overcome it!
In Ayurveda, the largest overall contributing factor to wellbeing is your environment. Think about that for a minute. Not your diet, not your fitness level, but where you spend your time. What and who are you surrounded by day in and day out? What is the energy/comradery at the workplace like, what is it like at home? Do you have good lighting? Is your office chair ergonomically correct? Is there clean and fresh air? Do you get regular sunshine? Do you have supportive relationships? Is your time balanced with “must dos” and “get to dos”? The small and subtle consistencies in our life either slowly bring us up, or slowly tear us down. It wears so slowly that it can be hard to notice, but it does add up and over time leads to a better or worse you. Where will you be in five years?
If you’re one of few who wake up fucking stoked to go to work everyday, well done! If you are part of the other 86% of humans (I made that number up) who feel unsatisfied with your work, please be socially responsible and take it upon yourself to find work that empowers you to be your best self. Ask for help if it is overwhelming, and if fear of not having enough money is what is holding you back, simplify your life. When we live with passion, enthusiasm and purpose it shows in the way we interact with the rest of the world, the same as it shows when we’re struggling to get through each day with a smile. It is time to start exploring more sustainable lifestyles with the highest consideration for our soul, rather than our parents and peers expectations or our bank account.