Image Credit: readingrainbow.com
December 3, 2015
So here’s the thing. I realized today that I may never hit the lottery or acquire celebrity status such as Kim Kardashian or the Real Housewives of….wherever. I may never become a movie star. I may never become even remotely wealthy or any of those things that most people like me fantasize about.
What I am trying to do is become content with the quality of my life, if none of my wildest dreams ever come true. Right now, I can suffice it to say, that I am not happy. And if none of those things ever happen… if I’m never going to attain my dreams, as hard as I may (or may not work towards them), then what would make me happy in life?
Simply put, I want to be comfortable. If I can’t find a career that I love, then at least, I want a job that I don’t mind going to and that gives me some fulfillment every now and then. I would like a salary that I am comfortable earning that will cover my bills and allow me to have some money left over, to save and (a little) to spend. To tithe. To go on vacation, once a year. To pay back my student loans and my car note and insurance and all of my necessities. And to splurge on an exquisite and expensive pair of shoes, once in a while. I want to be able to help my family. And treat my girlfriends to dinner at a nice restaurant. I want to not dread going to work in the morning or have anxiety when I pull into the parking lot. But, there seems to be an imbalance. If I’m going to be stressed at my job, at least I’d like to be handsomely compensated in the form of my payroll. The last thing I want is to be stressed about my work and how I’m going to pay my bills. That seems to be the most imbalance of all.
What’s funny (or ironic is perhaps the better word, because I have yet to find the humor in this) is that my company’s mission statement is “ Together we improve the quality of life of all Arkansans by protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence, and promoting better health.” The hypocrisy is that on a daily basis, I’m inundated with phone calls, emails, requests and demands, assignments, deadlines, and threats (from clients and management alike), in addition to the daily caseload that I am assigned in an effort to “help” and “improve the quality of life”, meanwhile, mine seems to depreciating with each passing hour at a rate of $13.66. Yep, that’s right, (after 10 years of service)! And what’s worse is every Wednesday, we are called into a Staff meeting to discuss what else? The many phone calls, emails, requests and demands, assignments, deadlines and threats of not getting a raise from our PPES or the repercussions and disciplinary actions that will be taken if we don’t do more, I mean better. But all of that is overshadowed by the tone of the message which is delivered to us in a cold, matter of fact and “if you don’t want your job, someone else does” manner. And in conclusion on the staff agenda? “Office morale”. Suggestions?
What about the quality of our lives? The ones who come in everyday and put up with God only knows what, all while balancing our home, work, and personal lives with the same struggles of those we must so humbly serve. Who’s assigned the task of promoting our better health, when many of us, can’t afford our company insurance or to take off a few days when we are sick for fear of being harassed by our employers or who can’t afford the prescription after we’ve had to pay the $25 co-pay. It’s no exaggeration to say that we are not even equipped to aid in the fostering of our very own independence, not when I still have to borrow money from my parents to pay a utility bill, gas, even yes, lunch money. When irate clients call and curse us, sexually harass us or just plain old offend us, no one is there to protect us at our vulnerable moments. This is a huge imbalance. It’s probably most frustrating and hurtful that we’re constantly reminded by management of how important it is “not to let the people suffer” or “go without”, when the irony once again lies in the fact that they seem to forget that we ourselves, are indeed, people, too. People who are dealing with the same struggles as our clients, in addition to resolving theirs. It takes a particular person to work in this capacity. I have concluded that I may not be best equipped for this role, anymore and ultimately this is the reason for my departure after 10 years of service. It’s almost…too cliché to say that I’ve lost myself here, although there seems to be no phrase better constructed to convey how much I resonate with this idea. I feel it. I carry it. I see it in myself, every day.
I was 30 years old when I was first diagnosed with a variation of mental depression. Since that time, I was amazed to find out how candid many of my other colleagues have been in sharing that they too have been prescribed anti-depressant medications for work-related stress and anxiety.
Did I mention that I got lightweight scolded, well, maybe not scolded, perhaps ambushed is a better word, about why I chose not to participate in the “bowling outing”? While the little guy tried to soften the blow after he acknowledged that his question may have been a little “too direct”, it took the patience of Job for me not to truthfully respond. Typically, my motto is ‘if you’re grown enough to ask the question, then you’re grown enough to get the truth’. But I settled for…..something else. It was my birthday weekend, in fact. Although I almost wanted him to know that even if it weren’t, the last people I’d want to spend my off time with is people that I work with, or not even that so much, because if the truth really be told, I have and do indulge in happy… I mean ‘after hours’ with a select few of my colleagues whom have also become dear and personal friends.
So at first, I was convinced that my being miserable working in this office was for some divine reason that my divine Savior had predestined. I’m relieved to have discovered, just today in fact, that God has no interest in this at all. And by this, I am referring to my misery. God has no interest in that. God gets no glory from that. It is my firmest belief that for all intents and purposes, God wants me happy. After all, if I’m a miserable human being, working in a miserable job with a presumed miserable outlook on life, then how will I ever convince anyone, including myself, to serve Him? Not too convincing at all, if you ask me.
My greatest fears are on complete opposite ends of the same spectrum. And I honestly don’t know which one is the lesser of two evils. To stay or to leave. The problem is that I don’t want to stay, not even for another minute. But the fear of leaving is obvious. Do I have the faith that my divine Savior and Creator will bless me with another job, or better yet, a career that I love and want to pursue? For the longest time, I’d convinced myself that God has me here for a reason and that I would not even apply for another job until I had learned the lesson. I told myself that I was going to stick it out because I didn’t want just “another job”. I wanted to pursue something. And I felt like God wanted me here in this position to reveal something to me and that no matter how miserable I was, I would stay until He moved me. What I have come to realize is that God had no part in my misery. God doesn’t get glory from that and He has not played a part in my choice to remain miserable. What I know is that God delights in my joy. He loooves to see me smile. Really! Sometimes, we get so beside ourselves that we make God the fall guy for our despair. Let me reiterate, God has no part in misery. That is a choice that we make ourselves.
I thank you for the decade of knowledge, experiences and friendships that you have forged me. I have been humbled as a servant of this organization but I must bid you adieu. Had it not been for the bad days that I endured, I may never have realized the potential for the good ones. While I could go on about what I won’t miss, the relationships with you and the ability to help those in need, are what I will miss the most.
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