I can really relate to Jeff's recent post, "Responsibility and the Blame Game." Sometimes I mourn the things I have to put up with in order to provide for myself and my family. There was a stretch on my blog when I complained about my job a lot. I am glad to say that I've come through the worst of it. I'm starting to settle back into my work routine without so much drama, turmoil or stress. Things are not (and probably never will be) perfect, but things have shifted. My weeks no longer feel like one long day. I can exhale and relax in ways that I couldn't before. I'm letting go of some things.
Being on the other side, I can see things differently.
First, I'm noticing how the level of unrelenting stress wreaked havoc on my life, my attitude, my practice, everything. I'm seeing that there were lapses into depression and despondency. I'm seeing the ways I wanted to escape.
A friend encouraged me to work towards giving it up... "getting free" by starting my own business. Yes, it would take a couple of years to work up to the point where I could earn my current level of income. No, I'm not impractical enough to think that I can quit my job and throw myself into a direct sales opportunity. But the idea... freedom... there was something awfully sexy about it.
"You mean I wouldn't have to deal with the people I work with anymore... ?"
"You mean I could set my own schedule and maximize my income in ways corporate America never will... ?"
"You mean I can do all of this while promoting something I believe in... "
It was a nice dream.
Truth be told, I enjoy my work. I worked hard for the degree that allows me to do my work. I really don't want to give it up. What I really want is for certain people that I work with to change. I also want certain people in my family/sorority/sangha/community/world to change. These thoughts, these dreams are not reason enough for me to leave my job.
When things go sour on the job and you just lie down and take it, you start to feel like a masochist. At least, I did. When you try to take action to improve the situation and nothing changes, you feel like a bigger masochist. At least, I did. When you look at the situation and realize that no matter where you are there will be people and circustances that you don't find pleasant, you wonder if maybe it would be best to just buckle down, do your job, and let work be a contribution to practice... a place where you can wake up. At least, I did. My current job has a lot more to teach me. That's why I'm still there. When there is nothing left to learn, when the next great opportunity comes along, or if the stress mounts again and it starts to affect my health and there is nothing I can do about it, I will move on.