On Being Happy
“People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses”.
I read this quote in an article a few years ago. I remember even making some sort of copy of it because my intention was to write about it a long time ago.
I recently started reading another book. But we’ll talk more about that book later. it reminded me of when I first started working a job in a hospital. I felt so lucky and happy. Once I started getting the hang of things, I felt so motivated, i felt I had found a sense of purpose. My customers were happy but i couldn’t do much as far as being hands on helpful to anyone else because even though i was licensed in a different scope of practice, I wasn’t licensed in this particular job. Still, I feltw hat if I get my license? What if I move up? I can bring a lot to the table. I’m a person that works always with a sense of anticipation and a sense of urgency. Something I learned in the long 8 years I worked for starbucks and can actually be applied to any job. I thought, I can be better than these girls (in a healthy competitive way of course). But not even a year later, not only was I having problems in my personal life at home, in my romantic yet non-existent romantic life, but my supervisor crushed that motivation, that happiness, that sense of purpose. Poof! just gone.
They weren't supervising and everyone was pretty much doing whatever they wanted. It was a circus. So when I first started feeling this depression and feeling like I was really nothing, I had no voice, and not really needed as a team member. I sought out help from a medical professional. I really just wanted to see a therapist and check in and make sure i wasn’t on the verge of hanging myself from this deep darkness I was starting to feel was following me around. Turned out that I wasn’t just depressed, I was almost immediately diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Which instead of making me feel better, it made me feel worse. I thought to myself "so I AM really the problem at work." My expectations of what others should be doing and how they should be doing it was in a sense unrealistic. My therapist re-assured me that I was right but it wasn't a perfect world and I couldn't control others, it was simply not my job. and something I did learn from "The subtle art of not giving a fuck" was that everyone's metrics of right and wrong, their values, their own perception of reality was different to everyone individually.
I basically abandoned my blog, I couldn’t even finish reading a book, all the things I loved I didn’t want to do anymore. I just wanted to sleep and stay away from all the people I was making miserable with my problems, personal and medical. I was feeling like a cancer and the best way not to infect my co-workers was to stay to myself. Which led to isolation and then made me feel even more like shit. but not just the regular kind of shit, the kind that gets run over a thousand times in some random dirt road by huge rigs that probably smuggle cocaine. I thought to myself (as awful as it sounds) I get paid by the hour, not by how many patients I service. That doesn't mean I didn't treat them with respect or tried not to show my disappointment and frustration in front of them. But if the girl before me got away with saying "she didn't know anything", why can't I? after all I have tried to engage, I have tried to bring ideas and solutions. Even if we agreed as a team on something, it only lasted 3 days and then it was back to the same bullshit. but It only made me aware of how small I was. So I made myself as small as possible, as ghostly as possible. I tip-toed around my supervisor, the quieter I was the better things were for the rest of the team from what I was made to feel. Unwanted. I thought to myself, "what about suicide?." Some might call it cowardly but if I ended everything I would have no more worries, no more anxiety over going to work in the mornings to people that discriminated against me because of my deafness. I wouldn't have to worry about paying me rent or what I would eat, if I even would get to eat that day, or how would I pay my car note.It got so severe that my Doctor decided it was time to put me on disability. I was becoming a danger to myself.
Even though I had just moved, I couldn't afford to take the time off. I would be back to square one, worried about how I would pay my rent, what I would eat if I could even afford it but I took the time off anyway. My health was more important and so was my life. I had to become engaged with myself again.
I said to myself, I got to get out of here. Meaning I need a job in this hospital, in my scope of practice. The Kind of job that let's me shine, bring ideas to the table that are actually implemented. I'm not looking for the praise, I'm just looking to be a part of something worthwhile. Something that makes me feel good, that's my reward. I helped make this place better, functional, easier, whatever it may be with help from my equally caring and motivated team. But I was sure that my current position wasn't the place for me.
Having OCD made it even harder. I like rules. I like policies. and even though I understand that sometimes there may be exceptions, like in the event where we fucked up as a "team", but the truth was that there was no real "following the rules" and they fucked up more often than not. Shit just got done however they saw fit. and I say "they" because I was unlicensed and I literally had no fault or say in anything even though I was part of the "team". Without a license, I could't touch anything that wasn't the register, therefore I couldn't make myself useful to them. The photo to the left depicts a few issues I am talking about or lack there of. but most important was the bonus characteristic at the bottom that got my attention.
#13 Neglect Team Building: The happier the employee the harder they work for you. and this is so 110% true. and respect, part of being respectful is being honest and accountable, without those managerial or supervisory traits, it's really hard for anyone to respect those individual(s) who possess those traits.
Someone close to me whom I see as a sister, recently asked me "if you could give me any kind of advice, what would it be?".
I replied without hesitation "stay true to yourself." I meant it with all of my heart but then realized, I was only really half following my own advice. I began to think of all the things that give me joy in my life. I needed to reconnect with my one or two readers on my blog. I needed to read because that's what I Ioved. That was my peace. I was so focused on the idea of fixing the things that were wrong that I forgot how to not give a fuck and bring joy to my life. I needed to remove toxic people out of my life. People who only temporarily made me feel good but it was the opposite once they were gone. I needed to abandon the places that made me unhappy. I needed to start believing that I was worthy, to regain my self-esteem and my sense of pride that I am good at what I do, that I'm a great asset, that I am enough.
I found an article on talkspace.com that talks about how staying in a job you hate can affect your mental health. and I have definitely fallen victim of this situation. When you fall into depression it's hard to feel happily motivated to even look for another job, its basically debilitating. Your self-esteem drops to it's lowest. and you start to feel like you're not good enough for other jobs or anything at all, you feel as if "this is the best I can do in my career so I have to stay and just adjust to be miserable in the same way I learned to adjust to this job", despite the neglect of team building. and things don't just stop there, it becomes greater, you begin to feel as if your unworthiness is the reason for all your failures, including your current job. I don't have a problem with keeping jobs at all, despite all the jobs and titles I've held, I have a problem with people who don't even own the company not respecting the policies that are clearly in place for a reason and honestly those people need to start acting their wage and stop self-aggrandizing themselves with false or made-up ideas that they are better than you. Below I have attached a few articles in this topic. Check them out.
We spend our whole lives in search of happiness. To get where we want to be. but there really is no destination or finish line. It's never-ending. It's really all up to us to be happy, we have the power to change the things we don't like. but to do this we also need to be healthy. Spending 8 hours a day in a job you hate 5 days a week, is quiet a long time to be miserable.
Happiness can mean a million things to the 7.53 billon people on this earth. Happiness can mean living by yourself and buying a whole medium pizza and eating it all by yourself while watching Inception on HBO and no one can say shit. Happiness can mean being top salesperson in your company, happiness can mean being a stay at home mom, cooking and cleaning after your five children, happiness can even mean being able to eat at least once a day and have clean water to drink. but everything means nothing if you are not mentally healthy. Mental health is what gives us motivation, inspiration, the willingness to want to move forward in life and engage in our careers, to want more and better experiences. Without it, we are disabled and blinded to see any other way out.
I read an article about a woman who decided to take a “mental health day off” from work one day and she actually emailed her whole work team, letting them know exactly that, no bullshit just honesty. This was a few years back, when mental health was barely being talked about and acknowledged as a legitimate thing. She was praised in the article for her honesty and bravery and even encouraged people to the same in the name of Mental Health worldwide.
Statistically, 42 million Americans suffer from anxiety and approximately 16 million Americans live with major depression. And depression is the number one leading cause of disability world wide. I’m not saying this is all related to work, there could be thousands of reasons why people suffer from this particular illness. But I wanted to show an estimation of just how chronic depression and anxiety is today. And it still comes with a stigma, and the small amount of Americans who don’t suffer from any mental illness still don’t take it seriously. and when it comes to the workplace, managers and supervisors fail or choose to ignore the signs of someone who is mentally suffering because of them. They fail to take responsibility, let alone take action or intervention. I mean after all, who wants to to take the negative blame for anything.
Compassion and sympathy has gone out the window, managers and supervisors don't care about you, they care about the sales report, they care about record breaking numbers and saving their asses. and speaking up as an inferior only makes you a target, a problem employee. and Human Resources is only there for management not for you. It's all fucked up. Really. and the utmost saddest part of all this is that this is everywhere you go, every job out there is infested with politics. Unless you work for yourself. Then give yourself a pat in the back.
I really want to know your opinions and your stories, if you ever felt this way even if it wasn't work related, maybe a personal problem and how you overcame it. You might know someone who has gone through this. I feel this is a topic that still needs more awareness, more talking about, and more effectively finding the root of the problem. I mean we don't wake up one day and say to ourselves "today I will begin being depressed and retreat or disengage from the world". I refuse to believe that the individual itself is to blame for depression or their own unhappiness. Like I said before it's not just the workplace. Who can anticipate problems in a marriage, financial difficulties, terminal illnesses; these are all factors that can lead to unhappiness, depression, and even suicide. Know yourself, know when it's time to seek professional help. Build yourself an amazing support system. You'll be amazed how many groups and apps are available out there, I myself have found some useful.
Like always, I hope you enjoyed this little piece I wrote. Please send me your stories, suggestion, ideas and please don't forget to like and share.