JB’s workplace announced layoffs a few days ago, and while the axe did not fall on his position it whistled by all too closely. One of his coworkers who had been employed there for 16 years was let go, an employee who was by all accounts a high performer. His job seemed perfectly secure, much like we assume JB’s is.

Much local ado was made of this announcement, but it’s obviously not a unique situation. According to CNN.com, this month alone companies have announced more than 211,500 job cuts.

When I was looking back on my New Year’s blog entries for the last five years I saw a consistent theme of kvetching about my career. Five years of vague whining about not being fulfilled enough or feeling fully satisfied. Instead of getting off my ass and actually being proactive about making things better, I’ve been allowing myself to become more and more bored, unmotivated, and resentful.

What a ridiculous exercise in self-pity. Five years later, and what have I done to change my situation? Nothing.

I’ve become a stronger person in so many ways over the last few years. Why do I continue to let this one section of my life be something I’m not proud of? Why do I let inertia take over, when it comes to my job?

In the light of so many thousands of people being out of work, it’s a pointless, ugly luxury to wallow in the things that are missing from my work life. My job helps us pay our mortgage, buy groceries, save for our children’s college educations, and maybe even retire someday. If it doesn’t always seem like everything I once hoped it would be, well, it’s time to come to terms with that. It’s time for me to add meaning where I can, accept the state of things where I can’t, and take active steps instead of sitting still.

It’s only true that I don’t have other opportunities if I don’t seek them out; it’s only true that I’m mired in an unrewarding job if that’s the way I look at it. This is the year for me to end the cycle of discontent and start appreciating everything I have, across the board.

Also, I need to gather the fucking stones to admit that I want to write a book, and stop coming up with 45296905 reasons why I shouldn’t even try.

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Jill
Jill
13 years ago

I’d buy your book in a second!

Caitlin
Caitlin
13 years ago

I’ve been reading you since the diaryland days and I would buy so many books it’d be like my own stimulance package of awesome.

Sara
Sara
13 years ago

Write a book already!

workout mommy
13 years ago

if you don’t write a book, I’m going to unsubscribe.
Yes, that is a threat! :)

Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

Wow, this post could NOT have come at a better time.

We have had layoffs at my company too, people who have been there for years. I have been there for 10 this year and was just told that I pretty much have to take on another job/task in order to not get laid off. I had a long talk with my boss today about how upset I am, there is nothing he can do, but I had to vent. After I had that talk I was thinking, rather then hate my job and resent every day I should just do the best I can, at least I still have my job.

Thanks again, this post was perfect.

Also, WRITE A BOOK!!!!

Jenny
13 years ago

I feel your pain about layoffs. I worked for a dot-com in DC, and when the tech market took a dump, everyone was hit pretty hard. We read about layoffs at our company in the Washington Post before they’d been announced at work (fail!). Granted, at the time I was a single twenty-something whose major financial concern was her Absolut-and-Camels budget, but still, it was scary.

Oh, and as far as kvetching about your career, I’ve done that for the last oh, seven years? Still hanging on to the faint hope of becoming a celebrity heiress/rockstar.

Maral Sassouni
13 years ago

All this time, I thought you were secretly working on a book already. And would then present us with a fait accompli.

I’d buy your book in a second, too!

Caroline
13 years ago

You write a book and I’ll buy one for myself AND ten of my closest friends. You’re an amazing writer.

Cara
13 years ago

Write the book; I want to read it.

Georgia
13 years ago

Can I just say, “ditto”. 110% ditto. Except on the husband part. I don’t have one of those.

Rachael
Rachael
13 years ago

Write the book!!!!!

Like you, I also want to write and every day sitting at my desk I lament the fact that I am here and not home in my trackies with my cat and a coffee writing best selling novels that will send me to a realm of riches.

Like you, I have a million reasons why I haven’t yet written that book and the only true one is that I just haven’t sat down and done it.

Get to it for both of us. You will be fantastic.

Ilana
13 years ago

Linda, write a book! The world needs it! I need it! Think of it as charity work.

And we’re with you on the job hullabaloo. Hubby’s company just went bankrupt (chapter 11) and they are looking to keep 2 people from his office. heh. From 30. (ummm, not so secure)

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Seriously you want to write a book!? DO IT! DO IT! I think you are a fantastic writer and I would without hesitation buy a book that you have written.

The layoffs that have been happening totally suck. I feel for anyone that’s been affected and hope that they find jobs sooner than later. It sucks to be let go from a company, I’ve experienced it myself.

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

Heh. That ‘anon’ comment above was me. I got so excited about you possibly writing a book that I went right to writing my comment and skipped all the other bullshit.

Again – WRITE A BOOK DAMNIT!

squandra
squandra
13 years ago

I’d buy it!

Serenity Now
13 years ago

I would totally buy your book too – and a few for my friends :)
And yes, both our jobs are sort of hanging in the balance these days. Scary.
Also – I tried the vicks thing on my kid’s feet and it didn’t do a damn thing to curb the coughing, so I call bullshit.

julia
julia
13 years ago

Do it! Write that book! In your copious free time, of course.

Hillary
13 years ago

Jesus H. Christ. You’re in my head. I feel like I’m an hysteric that just got a swift slap to the face. Thanks. I needed that.

I’d buy your book.

Christine Brandel
13 years ago

The book. It needs writing. By you.

Also, the Vicks thing on the feet? Not so much. I think it’s bullshit, too.

Amanda
13 years ago

I had a similar epiphany recently about my career (as a financial planner). There are parts of it I’ll never love, but it will send my kids to college and that’s enough.

Also? I’ve been writing a book since November and it’s almost the BEST THING I’ve ever done for myself. Get started!

FC
FC
13 years ago

Your book would be amazing and I’d organise the Aussie launch:)

I’ve had such an ambivalent relationship with my ‘career’ since I left university. It remains still an unresolved relationship but since having children, in the last year, I am finally coming to terms with the fact that my career or job DOES NOT have to define me. And hey, it’s been a long time coming – seriously. This has plagued me all through my twenties and distracted me from the blessed life I live.

I guess I thought I’d ‘be’ someone you know? Well, it only takes children to make you realise that being someone to someone else like that is so much more profound. It sounds cliched and I never saw it coming (I wasn’t the kiddy type of gal) but really I got hit by the bus of meaningfulness when I had my boys.

But definitely start the book – just think, you’ve already written one online. It can’t be too hard!!!

Bel
Bel
13 years ago

I would buy your book in a heartbeat.

But I think you’re being too hard on yourself – it’s really hard to leave a good thing while you’ve got it – especially if your job is paying the bills, is bearable, and you have 2 small children to consider.

Starting out on your own is a big risk to take, but as long as the benefits outweigh the risks, it will be worth taking that big giant step out from under the security blanket.

Good luck – if you manage it, you’ll be braver than I am !

Pam
Pam
13 years ago

I don’t really know who this guy is, but I love this quote. I try to remember it when I whine about not doing something important….
“Failure is an opinion. It is either an educational tool for starting over or an excuse breeding tool for saying it’s over.” — Doug Firebaugh

Emily
Emily
13 years ago

you should totally write a book!!!!!!

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Please, yes, write a book. I’d read it, whatever it is. I seem to remember you write fiction also but your blog has some great non-fiction material as well!

I hear you on the job front. My husband just got a great job that requires us to move across the country, with an infant and a toddler. I keep whining about my lot but I need to shut my yapper because I know how extremely lucky we are that he has such a great, hopefully stable job for the foreseeable future.

Stacy
Stacy
13 years ago

I would definitely read any book you write!

On the job front, I think it’s ok to be grateful for your job and unhappy that it isn’t all you want it to be. I’m one of those people who got laid off (last year May and no, still not working) and it was a bit of a kick in the ass but I know it was probably for the best. I needed to move on and I would still be there if I hadn’t been laid off.

Bre
Bre
13 years ago

I’ve been wrestling with these same thoughts. I have friends who have Careers– journalists, chemists– and I’ve just never had the same enthusiasm. I can’t figure out my ultimate Career aim, though.

Are you following the happiness project blog Slate recently picked up? I’m finding a lot of inspiration there for this type of self-assessment.

Good luck with the book. I’d love to read it.

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

Yours was the first “online journal” I’ve ever read. Weirdly it was my sister’s brother in law who found you and told us we had to read you. You’ve inspired me to write, to work out, to talk about my addiction and pretty much have made me laugh almost every day on a regular basis for I don’t know how many years now. Here and all the other places you’ve written (that I could find)
I’d read an instruction manual if it was written by you.

becky
becky
13 years ago

I call Bullshit on the Vicks thing….

and I would totally buy your book…

Anne L.
Anne L.
13 years ago

DO IT!!!!!!!

melanie
13 years ago

I could have written parts of this post. Last year at this time we were both unemployed for various reasons – this year I’m staying at home with our daughter and the Mister is working at a job that has little to do with the stack of physics degrees he has but OH MY GAWD we are so happy he has a job that we keep repeating it to ourselves and hope it doesn’t change. Also, my Mother keeps telling me that the book isn’t going to write itself – maybe I should get that tattooed somewhere, like my forehead.

Melody
13 years ago

I admire this attitude tremendously. I am fed up with my current job, and while I am trying to take some concrete steps to make some changes, I’m afraid I’m going to be stuck where I am for a while, since so few places are hiring. I try to be grateful that I have a job in the first place, and that I have health insurance, and that while I don’t make a lot of money, I do make some. In all these ways and more, I am so lucky, but it’s hard not to imagine an even luckier, happier version of myself and to be dissatisfied with what I’ve got now.

Good luck with your moving forward!

Heather-in-Australia
Heather-in-Australia
13 years ago

You’re a very talented writer on many levels, both the parenting & general life stuff as well as the pieces of fiction you’ve posted have been superb. It would be so interesting to see what you’d choose to focus on for the book’s content, real life stuff or fictional stuff. You could do either and do it brilliantly well & we’d all be buying :).

Scott
13 years ago

Book book book book book book book!

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

I’ve been thinking the same thing with writing a book. I’m going to try, too. It’s hard to say it out loud, because I don’t want to sound like some douche who can’t really write. But I think you are an excellent writer, and I think I’m pretty good myself, and I’m sure we could both accomplish it, really. Good luck to you!

The job stuff scares the shit out of me. My husband was laid off in September, and so far… nothing. It’s a scary time for unemployment right now. Best of luck to you and JB for keeping your jobs!

heather
13 years ago

Hi – don’t have a twitter acct so this is reply to your question about vicks…yes i have done it and yes, i “think” it worked. i also use the baby vicks on the chest. if you do use big people vicks on the feet, just a thin layer. good luck!

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

Yours is the only blog/journal i have consistently read over the last 5 years or so since I began reading online journals. I am very excited about reading the book that you are going to write!!

Niki P
13 years ago

I have a great job that I enjoy- but its been changing bit by bit by bit. No such thing as bankers hours anymore. I have an interview with another bank this week and I feel selfish about it! I have a job I love but I might want another???? I know… Waaaaa!

Stones. You got stones sister now just get them together and write that book!

Carol
13 years ago

Those layoffs at said company hit WAAAY too close to home for me too. And with me out of commission with this damned broken foot, I’m petrified (and preparing)…

I’ve been meaning to write that book that’s been stewing for 30 years too. You’d think I’d be writing it now that I have time on my hands. But nooooo… I’m watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 marathons instead. (My reason #45296906!)

But YOU! YOU should write that book.

Carol

Liz (different from Liz)
Liz (different from Liz)
13 years ago

I have a friend who works at JB’s workplace. She didn’t get laid off, but now she has to take over 2 other people’s workload. Oh, and no raises for at least 2 years. OH, and that commission she got a few months ago? It was calculated wrong and will be coming out of her next several paychecks. Great.

As for the Vicks thing, I’ve never heard of it, but I’d think all it would do is make your feet tingle. Isn’t it the fumes that actually makes you feel better?

jonniker
13 years ago

Writing a book is hard as shit, yo. I say that not to discourage you — God, not at all — but so that you know that when you actually sit down to do it that it will/is HARD, so you can slog through it, knowing that it sort of sucks, and that’s just part of it.

It’s like Seth Godin and The Dip. You gotta get through the dip. (I am IN the dip. I’ll call you when I’m out.)

As for career whining, yes. Now is not the time for any of us to do it. I talk to acquaintances who are upset about promised raises not coming through and a variety of sundry complaints and my overriding thought is, are you fucking SERIOUS? The world is COLLAPSING and no one is getting a raise and no one is fulfilled, and you’re lucky you’re getting a paycheck, so just zip it. Even if your career is different and unaffected, for God’s sake, be a little sympathetic to those whose are, you know? (And I say this as those who, thus far, have been relatively unaffected. But still.)

Suzanne
13 years ago

Time goes by too quickly. Do you really want to take inventory of your New Year posts 5 years from now and realize that you’re in the same spot re the book idea. I think not. Do you want to wake up 10 years from now and say ‘should of, could of, would of’? Again, I think not. You have already done so, so much. Stick with that momentum. Go for it. I’m sure it will be a challenge at first, but you’ll get over the hurdle. If it’s successful (which I have absolute confidence it would be) then fantastic. If for some reason it’s not, then you’ll always be able to look back and be able to say ‘I did it!’. When I face challenges or fears over taking that initial step I remind myself that I’m setting an example for my boys. You’d want them to always reach for their stars, wouldn’t you. Show them that anything is possible. Never doubt your limits!

Erin
13 years ago

Good for you! Doesn’t it feel great to have those AH-HA moments when life suddenly seems clear and you feel you, once again, have a purpose? I love that.

I would definitely buy your book. From one Northwest gal to another, we girls got to stick together.

Kerri
13 years ago

I will be the first on your Amazon pre-order list! Do it!!!

Melissa H
13 years ago

Yay! I’ve been waiting for a full collection of parenting poems. And I usually hate poetry. Glad you are going to take the book plunge (even if it isn’t poetry)

MichelleH
MichelleH
13 years ago

You always come out with a blog on topics that hit so close to home at just the right moment. Today I was talking to my husband about this very thing. 5 years ago I was so driven, I was pushing myself to learn so much, getting promoted-drained but feeling proud of the work I was doing. Now, I don’t care at all and I made a lame mistake at work today that showed just how much. Time to find a better way to do my job or look for something else to do. I’ve been walking around with this black cloud over my head about the whole thing and just feel like I’m suffocating. Today I felt like I could change that and your post is good motivation too. We’ll both do it (and yes, all these layoff definitely put things in perspective). As for your book, I buy it sight unseen–any hints on what it would be about???

jonniker
13 years ago

Oh dude, I didn’t mean that in an assvice-y way, I meant that really, uh, for me, it was a shock. Cue obvious laughter, because I was the world’s most naive book writer-starter ever.

My thousands of reasons had to do with spending time Googling how hard it was to get published, so why should I even BOTHER? Oh, and then once it’s published, no one will BUY it anyway! And people will trash it on Amazon and CRUSH MY SOUL.

Which, um, is really getting ahead of oneself when you consider that before any of that happens, I need to FINISH IT. And for me, just finishing it is enough, I think.

I totally thought writing would be the easy part, and that all I needed was TIME. And then, when I made it/got it, I sat down and spent most of my time wanting to poke my eyes out. Ergo, the dip I currently reside in and am slogging my way out of.

Was so totally naive.

I think if I can make it through that dip, it will be totally worth it. And the fact that you’re admitting that this is what you want is ALREADY making it through a years-long dip of your own and will be totally worth it for you, too.

You can totally do this. I’m going to remind myself that I can/should, too.

Staci
13 years ago

Sign me up on the pre-order list for your book. Seriously.

Naomi in Oz
Naomi in Oz
13 years ago

I’ve been feeling a bit the same. I should be just thankful that I have a job.
BTW I find that the Vicks thing on the feet works best if you rub it on the reflexology points for the chest and throat and sinuses which are basically between and around the toes and at the base of the toes. I have had most success between the piggy that stays home and the piggy that gets roast beef… This picture here is much clearer:
http://www.dorlingkindersley-uk.co.uk/static/cs/uk/11/features/reflexology/footchart.html

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