“Everyday is the worst day of my life”- Peter (office space)
Waiting in line gives us a glimpse into the human condition. Frustration runs high in a line. People just don’t like waiting. Eyes roll, feet tap, tongues grow sharp and tempers flare. Impatient people always have somewhere else they’d rather be; however, what you’ll find is these people are just as unhappy at their desired location as they are right now, in front of you in line. It seems no where is where they’d rather be and with this attitude no where is where they are going.
Your job may just suck and there are a horde of people who will remind you of this on a daily basis. It always starts the same way “can you believe this shit……(enter unfair bullshit here)”. People will complain about hours, conditions, bathrooms, water coolers, lunch, breakfast, copy machines and the list goes on. These people are geniunly miserable. Now, I’ve caught myself saying these words and having these feelings, but I often have to remind myself of what matters. We need to work to provide for our families, but you don’t need to be miserable. Look around, sometimes you’ll be surprised who is happy at their jobs and in their life, regardless of what life throws at them.
The happiest employee I’ve ever met is a cashier at Target, his name is Stanley. Stanley is a sixty-something year old man with a bright white head of long flowing hair, matched with a bushy beard, and built like Santa Claus with a set of 80’s rock star-like dangling earrings, which show a somewhat wild side to the jolly man. He is always genuinely excited about seeing people and values each and every conversation. Our conversations always start the same “How the hell are ya!!!” yelled across the aisle as I walk up with a cart full of groceries. Then, he dives into everything such as food, ex-wives, music, cars, beer etc…. He never brings up the weather. Than there is His co-worker, a twenty something tall and skinny shaggy haired hipster named Matt. This guy looks miserable. He walks with a drag in his step, a slouch in his back, shoulders rolled forward, and the inability to make eye contact with just about anyone. His attempts at small talk are painful.. “is it still hot outside?” He’s a clock watcher, killing time until its time to go home.
“To slow time down, practice enjoying the moment. It is where we spend our entire lives” Wu Wie, I Ching Book of Changes
Contrary to popular belief, your most valuable currency is not the dollar, peso, or the pound, it’s time. Our time is for sale, we make a living by selling our time. It is the most valuable asset you have, more valuable than anything you will ever own. Time, is what we have to give, to sell, to spend, to waste, to lose. How will you sell yours? How will you spend it? Is it worth being miserable like Matthew? or would you rather feel like Stanley? How can two people with the same job look at things so differently? It’s about perspective and how you allow your time to work for you or work against you. Time spent well is time experienced for what it is, and being able to look at the positive aspect of every moment instead of where we aren’t and what we don’t have.
We’ve all heard them, the people sticking it out, unhappy at a job they can’t stand to “enjoy” retirement. They are selling their time in hopes that one day, they can enjoy life; however; what you will find is you will be just as unhappy in retirement as you were in your career with this mindset. What we see time and time again is people selling away the best years of their lives for the chance to “live” at the end of it.”when I retire, I am going to tell this place to go fuck itself, after that I ain’t doing shit, than I’ll be happy”… We’ve all heard this guy. You really think he’s going to be happy after retirement? I vote no. They are waiting in line and have convinced themselves everything will be different when we’ve reached the end.
Now, you may geniunly have an awful job. This is where you need to make a move. With that, know that no one will hire a miserable asshole (unless your gunning for an IT job, than asshole away). There are many things we can’t change about our jobs or our current situation, but one thing we can change is the way we feel about it, how it affects us. And, if your job is truly that horrible, get a new one and do it now. You’ll never get more time. You’ve got what you’ve got and no retirement package is worth a lifetime of misery.
Lines aren’t where we want to spend our time, but we can’t control lines. We can chose what line to go to but we have to be there. Although we can’t control the line, we can control how it affects us. Where you are is what you make of it. If you can find the ability to be happy in the worst of lines, traffic, bad spots, jobs etc… you’ll be happier everywhere. Every day is a chance to learn something new, sometimes you learn from just waiting. And, you can always learn from talking to people. Often we think about where we’d rather be. When really, if you think about it, you are where you want to be, look around before you miss it.