The “9 to 5”, if it was really “9 to 5”, would be a reasonable type of occupation, and let’s face it, there are many who enjoy the lifestyle. If it suits you, then do it and if it has the perks you enjoy, like bonuses, days off, healthcare subsidies and a decent salary, then why not?
Meanwhile, I’m over here spending too little time with my family, I’m missing key milestones in their life, I dislike most of the guys I work with (not all of them), I’m at times “micromanaged” by a boss who is more interested in their career than anyone’s feelings, I’m doing a commute from hell, depressed, stressed, and totally disengaged from it all. I’m overwhelmed and about to give up!
That story summed up my life in the “9 to 5”. It started out trading just my some of my time for a paycheck, but eventually, ended up demanding that I hand over most of my life for the “privilege” of “having a job”.
Everyone has a breaking point. It builds up in tiny steps over months and years. You miss a birthday. You forget an anniversary. You are working late and the milestone events of your spouse and children get kicked over a cliff. You go to sleep after tossing and turning for hours, only to wake up and it’s Monday morning again. The holiday you promised yourself is a distant hopeful future event.
The bills suck up most of what you earn. You spend only a few hours a night in the house you pay for. You spend money on clothes to go to work in. You pay fuel, insurance and taxes on a car that you use mostly to go earn the money to pay for the car, the fuel the insurances and the taxes, all while sitting in the traffic asking yourself “why am I doing this?”……meanwhile….your health, mental and physical begins to suffer. Your diet is kaput…and finally….your partner, spouse (if they stick around), kids, friends and others just get pushed further into the background……yes the “9 to 5” has become a prison and you are “a lifer”.
Why do we do it? Why did I do it?
We start out with the highest intentions. We bound into our working life with an energy and an attitude that carries us through the first few years on a hopeful, purposeful journey.
Then reality kicks in. We realise that what we thought we value, and what was told to us as we grew up, like working hard and “getting somewhere”, is nothing like what we really and truly actually DO value. We end up dishonoring our true values for the “work values” that we really don’t care about at all.
In short we end up putting more forced energy into doing things we don’t value and sacrificing the things we value most in the process. We then become so dependent on the salary that we sacrifice our own life’s purpose and enslave ourselves to it every day.
That about sums it all up for me – up to last year.
There were numerous “breaking points” that eventually led me to the point where the overwhelm became a disease.
Emotionally scarred, I decided enough was enough and thought about “what do I want to do with my life?”
Mostly, when we think like, that we think of things to do – like occupations we love, creative pursuits, and purposeful actions. But I suddenly realised, that what I needed to think about, wasn’t what I wanted to DO, but what I WANTED FROM what I actually did do.
The word that kept coming up was “control”. Wanting control of my life exceeded all other aspects of it. And, that was what the “9 to 5” had taken from me – the ability to have control over my life, destiny, and my happiness.
So I did. But that’s another story.
Some say that following “your dreams” is a pathway to poverty….but …..following the traditional “work hard for a living and give up everything else” route, sometimes means losing our ability to flourish as human beings….and that’s the worst poverty of all…..