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.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
108 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeannette
Jeannette
13 years ago

You could so write a book. I don’t just read your words, I hear your voice. You pull me in everytime.

Kristi
13 years ago

I think you probably have as many blog readers pulling for you to write the damn book as you have excuses for not starting it! We would all buy it, and lord knows we all like to talk so we’d also sell it to everyone we know!

willikat
13 years ago

Do it!!! Write the book. I edit books as part of my job. Let me tell you something: Write a book. There are people out there writing books who have no talent. Please add a smart, funny, moving book to the pool.You have a devoted loving following, and it’s clear that you love to write (ah, yes, that sadistic love-to-write thing). . . I know it well. I write and edit for a living, even if my blog doesn’t show it, and I’d be happy to give you a pep talk anytime, or even help you strategize. Whatever it is. You can email or call me. Seriously.
But even if you don’t take me up on the offer (and you could do just fine by yourself, of course, I’m not trying to provide assvice, just a pep talk), please do it. Please write the book.

Sunny
Sunny
13 years ago

Keee-rist. I’ll be first in line at the book signing…and I don’t mean it in a stalker sorta way. Do it!

mixette
mixette
13 years ago

Write the book!

And when did anything being hard ever stop you? If “past performance” is any indicator, it appears that whenever you set your mind to something you *can* do it.

honeybecke
honeybecke
13 years ago

I am very excited about the book that I know one day you will write and have published. And I know of course I will rush out and buy it(!) I’ve enjoyed reading Stephenie Meyer’s thoughts on writing and how she’s like, just write whatever YOU want to read…only think of yourself as the target audience and the pressure is off to write for everybody else. I enjoyed her Twilight books waaaay more than I ever thought I would. I’ve only now gotten around to reading(devouring)them and it’s a little embarrassing at how much I think about the world she created. Heh.

So yes, if you write a book I am sure it will become my new obsession. Okiedoke?

Anais
13 years ago

Write your book!!! I’d buy it in a heart beat.

hilary
hilary
13 years ago

Well, my husband lost his job two weeks ago, and it’s pretty terrifying. It’s also really weird being one of thousands–like when we heard the new unemployment figures announced on NPR, and realized we were one of them. But of course it’s really hard to truly appreciate things that are part of the daily grind. I think you already have such a wonderful, interesting freelance career — that’s something to be proud of!

Sharla
Sharla
13 years ago

You MUST write a book! You are such an amazing writer! My bookshelf would proudly hold a copy! =)

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

Scary about JB’s job stuff, it’s crazy what’s happening with the economy.
And write write write.
Only regret the things you’ve done, instead of the things you haven’t done. Life is short.

SraV
SraV
13 years ago

Book is so sold.

Bunny
13 years ago

I only know this side of you-the side that writes-and I love it. I think you would write an intelligent, funny book and I would totally buy it.

Jenn
Jenn
13 years ago

good for you. As someone who has been laid off four times in the last nine years, anyone with a job that gets the bills paid seems like a millionaire to me. I’m glad you have this great new perspective.

bad penguin
13 years ago

Over the last year my job has gone from being challenging and fun to making me so miserable I have to drag myself out of bed some days. I keep hoping it will get back to being the job I loved. I keep telling myself to be grateful that I survived our first round of layoffs.

It did make me admit to myself that I wanted to write a book too, and that’s what I’m doing. Every night I come home and write at least a page or two. Every weekend I cram in as much time writing as I can. It’s the light at the end of my tunnel. Who knows if anyone will ever want to publish it, but just going for it has made me feel 1,000% times better.

You should go for it too, Linda. You’re a wonderful writer, and I’d buy your book in a heartbeat.

g~
g~
13 years ago

Different axe, different coast but my husband just got knicked by it. Fortunately, he just got his pay cut (and he’s going to a four day work week–which is nice) rather than losing his entire salary. It still means a nip and a tuck here and there but at least he’s still employed. I am currently at home with the kiddos (read: no income) so it would have *really* sucked if he got sacked.
What *I* want you to do is write about five books all at once and surprise me with them so I don’t have to keep waiting for the next one (I *hate* that.)
So…er…just get on that then.
Obviously, I am thinking WAY ahead of your first best seller.
g~

kim
kim
13 years ago

write it!

LJ
LJ
13 years ago

My husband also lost his job 2 weeks ago after 34 years. We were good savers and planners, but it still hits hard especially when retirement looms around the corner and you’re not quite old enough for it. It’s a huge adjustment. Hopefully my job-25 years-will stay intact with kids still using higher education. And sure, you know we’d all read your book – go ahead…

kim
kim
13 years ago

I’ve often wondered why you hadn’t written a book (or if you were writing one but didn’t mention it). Your blogging is the best on the web (without exception) and I think you’re funnier than David Sedaris.

Not just saying that. :)

kim

Amanda
13 years ago

I’ll totally buy your book!

I get what you’re saying about your job. I do a lot of complaining about mine, but these days, I’m so incredibly grateful that I have it.

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

On another topic — why does putting Vicks (and other salves) on the feet work? I’ve heard this from many sources . . . I want an answer!!

Joanne
13 years ago

Have you read Steven King’s On Writing? Maybe you should. You’re obviously a great writer and you already have a great following.

Emerald
13 years ago

Dude, I hear you completely. I try not to let it terrify me, but I hear every day on the elevator about people in the building being let go from positions held for years, and can’t help but think oh-god-oh-god-oh-god.

I too whine about the day-to-day humdrum of my job, as does anybody. But I am very, very thankful to have a job that pays well, is suited to my personality, is populaced by some awesome people and has reasonable limitations on the inevitable morons. Of course I’m about to drop it to go live in NC where I will have no job, little in the way of security, and no back up plan if Josh were to lose his job. But in times like these, maybe the best plan is to mattress up all your money and hide out in a trailor living on Kraft mac’n’cheese until the tides turn. It’ll be an adventure at the very least.

Good for you on being proactive! We may not all have that dream job – some of us really are just paying the bills. But I do believe it’s what you make of it, and it sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

I would LOVE to read a book by you….please do!!!!!!

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

I would actually fly somewhere to see you to do a book signing, and I hate to fly.

You write it, and I’ll buy it, along with many, many others!

Amanda Brown
13 years ago

I can think of 45296905 why you SHOULD try: that’s how many copies you’ll sell in the first WEEK! I would buy it; you’ve got the gift!

Joceline
Joceline
13 years ago

Oh man, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve whined and complained about my husband’s job or boss over the past few years, yet his job is very secure and we can pay the bills. I’ve been silenced over the last few months. I am so grateful for his obnoxious boss and annoying hours.

Dawn
13 years ago

The sixth & seventh paragraphs of this post are going to be printed & hung over my desk. Awesome awesome words.

Mel
Mel
13 years ago

Book – Ditto, consider my pre-order placed.

Vicks – yes, don’t understand, but who am I to question.

Jobs – the axe feel really close to my neck last week. In an office of 20 people we lost 7…YIPES

Ah the stress of it all, but you are so true how times like these bring clarity!

Janet
Janet
13 years ago

My husband was just laid off from his job last week and I’m a temp. nearing the end of my second 6 month assignment with the company that I’m working at. Talk about scared? Uh yeah.

I would totally buy your book. That is, if I have a dime left to my name when it comes out.

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

My husband’s company was ahead of the curve and laid him off last May. He found another job, but he still works in the mortgage banking industry so it’s not like I’m resting easy that he will not be laid off again in the near future. We were going to remodel our kitchen this winter, but decided not to because the idea of spending that money at a time when the economy is in the crapper just made us both too nervous. All of this is part of the reason I came back to the job I’m doing now about three years ago. It’s not the most exciting job, but it pays fairly well, my hours are generally reasonable, and the work is fine. I’m not going to set the world on fire with my career, but since being a mom I’ve discovered I don’t really care about that. I guess I’m at peace with my decision and now I look for fulfillment in areas outside of my work, which is probably more healthy for me in the long run anyway.

Pocklock
13 years ago

I loathe my commute. It’s long and dangerous and awful. However, every time I go to complain about it, I think about how there are so many people that simply wish they had a commute to complain about.

It helps.

Until the next person cuts me off.

Janet
Janet
13 years ago

I think your attitude is a very healthy one and it will help you appreciate what you have.

That said – LOOK AT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN THESE 5 YEARS. In actuality, your job isn’t your true priority, and that’s perfectly fine. It always been clear that your family and your family’s happiness clearly IS your priority, and you’ve done an outstanding job of clearing out deadwood from your life, having two wonderful children that you have the time and energy to be fully committed to, and you invest heavily in your relationship with your husband. Your job is there to support your true priorities and interests.

I think that is a perfectly balanced way to approach life. So, yes, appreciate your job by all means but don’t think that because you haven’t made changes there that you’re somehow stagnant. Anything but..

Amber
13 years ago

My perspective on my job changed when I read “Your Money or Your Life.” There may be no perfect job that will fulfill, energize, and engage you all the time. So take what you can out of your work, and then find volunteer activities or hobbies to inspire you. Which isn’t to say that you should be fatalistic and stay in a bad situation, but rather if your job isn’t your calling but it’s good, you can find your calling elsewhere.

And I also think you should write your book. :-)

Frema
13 years ago

I’ve been with my current employer for almost four years, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. For most of my tenure, I wanted to look for a new job. However, in the last year things have gotten considerably better, and while I can’t say I love my job (or would love any job, honestly), I enjoy my boss and the work that I do. I appreciate the flexibility and the good pay and the fact that work recently approved six weeks of fully paid maternity leave, as I’m having my second child next week (!). Our company is experiencing huge growth right now, and I thank God every night that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll have a job the next day.

I guess this isn’t really a comment on your post, but it’s something I think about all the time, so I thought I would share.

H
H
13 years ago

Been there, done that. While I would love to have a job I love and fulfills me AND pays the bills, I am happy (in a different way) to have a job that pays the bills. I’m finding fulfillment in other ways.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Wow, you sound so much like me. I, too, was mired in a job/career I didn’t like and wasn’t satisfied with, but I lacked motivation to actually do something about it for whatever reason.

I was laid off Jan. 1. There’s my motivation to find something I really want to do. Sometimes my HP works like that (heck, most of the time!). I’m still not sure what would really rock my world, but I’m working on figuring that out.

I have a feeling any book you write would be a joy to read…so get on that horse and ride it, girl! I’ll be yet another one to run out and buy the finished product!

Maria
13 years ago

My husband’s company is laying off, and I’ve been holding my breath all week. So far we’re ok but we expect the most to happen on Friday.

Add me to your fan list that would buy the book in a heartbeat…and then buy a ton more as Xmas presents. Will you record the audio version yourself as well? : )

Jess
Jess
13 years ago

Write it and we will read!!!!!!!

deutlich
13 years ago

I think that’s a very healthy outlook on your job and such.

AmyQ
13 years ago

DO IT! I hear you on the job inertia. I am so there.

Marie
13 years ago

You’ve basically summed up what’s been on my mind. I hate my job, or rather where I work. But I feel guilty for hating it because I know so many are losing their jobs and I’m lucky I have one.

But I think, I just can’t force myself to like it. And again the guilt feeling.

All a vicious circle. In the meantime, I don’t get anything accomplished. *sigh*

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

Go for it! Forget all the reasons not to and think about all the reasons you should.

panistapsa
panistapsa
13 years ago

I don’t know if this will help but thought you ought to know.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,484326,00.html

Amy M.
Amy M.
13 years ago

I’d buy your book too! There was just an article in Time about self-publishing & publisher-alternatives: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122,00.html

We’re going through a work reorg here & though many are griping, most of us are grateful we still have jobs in this economy! Though with the current state of my IRA, I can never retire… :)

ErinM
ErinM
13 years ago

PLEASE write a book! My coworker and I were just saying what a wonderfu writer you are. How is it that you can put into words exactly what we feel and we can’t? ;)

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Oh yes, definitely write a book already! Every one of your loyal readers will buy that thing.

Yeah, the layoffs suck. My husband went through that in November (Great timing right before the holidays, right? Not that it’s ever great timing to get laid off.) Luckily, he found another job a month later, but we’re still playing catch up from the unexpected month+ of no pay only a few months after I left my job to stay home with the kids. Silver lining, the new job. But it all still scared the crap out of me! Glad JB is safe for now and that this all is giving you a new outlook on your current situation.

Kari C.
Kari C.
13 years ago

Well, I understand the book thing. I actually HAVE written 2 kids picture books, one very personel to me, and I haven’t the balls to submit it, even though I wrote it 4 years ago! Maybe self publishing. But WRITE your book! You blog every day, just do your book the same way! :]

shygirl
shygirl
13 years ago

OMG, please, please WRITE THE BOOK. We’ll all buy it, you know we will. How exciting to think of a whole BOOK of your writing, instead of just a few paragraphs at a time! Move over Anne Lamott, you’ve got new competition for the “favorites” spot on my bookshelf! C’mon Sundry, get to it! Go, go, go!!

Kristi
Kristi
13 years ago

This is a great post. It’s always a challenge to stay positive but not be too syrupy-sweet about stuff. So yes, some days you don’t want to go to work and your kids are driving you crazy. But in general, it’s best to be happy about having a great family, a job that pays the bills, a roof over your head and full belly.

Yesterday, my ninth month old was driving me CRAZY (teething). At the end of a long day, after I put her to bed, I told my husband that I was so thankful that I didn’t have to go to a job right now, like so many people in this country. I don’t have to go to work, stay on my feet all evening, deal with crappy customers and then try to be a good mom again the next day, on little sleep and no mental reserves of energy.

Long way of saying that all of us should appreciate the good things in our life and empathize with those that have struggles.

I also put in my vote for you writing a book!

thejunebug
13 years ago

I heard about the layoffs on the news and was worried for you & JB. I hope everything stays well for you and your little family!

Write a book already, dammit! I hope it’s about zombies.