Back in my late twenties, as a jaded corporate drone, I recall the time someone decorated the work toilets with a delightful turd fresco. They smeared themselves a rich brown canvas onto the lid and then tastefully embellished it with an impromptu swastika.
There are few less unequivocal expressions of dissatisfaction at your ill-advised life choices than daubing fascist symbols on bog lids with your own faeces. Either that or serious mental health issues – which can actually be one and the same thing as we’ll shortly see.
There are other other, less messy, indicators that what you do for a living doesn’t press your buttons any more. So here’s a quick check-list, of which I ticked every box during my stints in shit jobs. It’s also enhanced with more recent observations of friends who clearly resent their occupations but aren’t brave enough to admit there’s a problem or do something about it – unlike you of course because you’re bold enough to make the change, aren’t you?
- Pay rises are meaningless and promotions bring short-lived joy: This tends to happen in the long-run anyway but if you find yourself lurching from one desperate appeal for recognition to another, perhaps that should tell you fulfilment lives elsewhere.
- You’re self-medicating boredom with gadgets, clothes and subscriptions: When jobs thieve our time and don’t provide healthy rewards we look to shiny objects for treats and leisure, soon growing bored and thus repeat the process, which is great for the vampires who sell you this shit but terrible for your soul.
- You’ve no patience for workaday bullshit: This manifests as diminished respect for workplace elders, or irritability at the bullshit meetings, empire-building and ladder-climbing all your colleagues seem to live for.
- You dread going into work every morning: I accept that this is a cornerstone of most people’s Monday morning routine, but I mean more heightened, brooding despair than usual everyday, like all the ambition is sucked out of you, and your heart sinks when you pass through the prison gates of your workplace.
- You long for more creative stimulation: perhaps your hobbies outside of work are more appealing than smashing your face into your computer screen all day, and deep-down you suspect you’d be better off (or were born to) march to the beat of your own drum instead of that of your corporate paymasters.
Some of these indicators also bear the hallmarks of depression, in which case you need help to get yourself out of it – ideally from a qualified person like your GP or a counsellor, rather than the horoscope section of the Metro paper. Depression tends to happen when we’re not getting what we need, it’s your body’s mayday call, so yet another reason to do something about it or you’ll be baking artwork in the toilets on company time before too long.
What next? Well, if you’re talented and hate your job I’ve got a great idea what you could do next…
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