It was a Sunday night. We had just taken my 3 month old son on a stroll around the neighborhood at dusk. Lunches were packed, clothes washed and I was finishing up the dishes as I kept an eye on the Packers vs Patriots game. All was good in our home as we prepared for the week ahead. My mind drifted toward work and the taunting I would have to endure as I took yet another beat down in fantasy football at the hands of my coworker. Then some looming deadlines and monthly work goals crept into my thoughts. My amusement of the ribbing I was going to get quickly turned into anger.
Anger was a strange emotion to have. Was I legitimately angry about the fact that I had deadlines and goals? The self-reflection caught me off guard. What was I really angry about? How did my relaxing little Sunday take a turn for the worse without any apparent provocation?
My job is just that to me… a job. As I creep up on the five-year mark, the whole process has just become routine. I am good at my job and take pride in my work. I was even awarded the President’s Club award this past year and sent on an all expenses paid vacation to Mexico. The place has just lost its luster for me. It is just the same scene day in and day out. Punch the clock at 8 A.M. and punch out at 4 P.M. The work I get done between those hours really does not matter. Whether I bust my hump to get a few extra accounts cleared will only reflect as a bigger monthly bonus… but even the prospect of a fatter paycheck doesn’t really getting me going like it used to.
It dawned on me that I was angry because I didn’t want to go to work because I had better things to do. I could care less about deadlines when my infant son and wife were at home. I just wanted to spend every second of every day with them and the whole “work” thing was getting in the way.
I felt crushed as my alarm went off Monday morning. There might not be a more hopeless feeling as waking up to a life where you are just going through the motions. I couldn’t even look at myself as I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. I was leaving my home with my amazing family to drive in traffic. Heading to a place that I was essentially a prisoner to for the next 8 hours. Until I could battle that same traffic back home, so I could finally be back to them for 3 hours before everyone went to bed and the nightmare started all over again… only this time it was called Tuesday.
I had hit the wall. I decided to take a personal day to clear my head and get my mindset right. What could I do right now to better my situation? First thing is first, stop feeling sorry for myself and start being grateful for what I have. My job may not be curing cancer but it is a job. I should be thankful to have it and the money that it provides as well as the health benefits. Things could absolutely be worse. Secondly, I thought, if I am so miserable, why don’t I change my situation… shake it up a bit. I found an internal position within my same company that I would like to strive for. So now I had a goal in mind and a purpose at work other than compensation. Third, I decided to get serious about my passions, this blog being one of them, and go after it without limiting myself. Getting back into a workout routine, cooking nice home cooked meals and waking up early to meditate and pray would get me back to my old self.
Most importantly, I had redefined my “WHY”. What was my purpose in life and what did I want out of it? Why am I even bothering with this financial freedom dream in the first place? It would, after all, be easier to just live like everyone else and not worry about investing, real estate and debt management. I could just buy that new truck I had always wanted and the boat to tow behind it.
My “Why” before having my son was to be able to live comfortably with my wife and travel around the country and world. I also wanted to spread the word about financial literacy within my local community and help out the less fortunate via volunteer work.
My redefined “Why” still involves taking an active role in my local community but I also just want to be home with my family and raise my son. I don’t want to miss time with him on the playground because I have to send in financial reports. I would rather be coaching his football team than being in a company growth strategy meeting. I would rather be available to set an example for him than be sitting behind a desk.
I felt reinvigorated. I had re-calibrated my “WHY” and set some new goals for myself. Taking a step back to evaluate my situation and flip my mindset was all I needed. I was back in charge and out of my rut. I had not looked forward to a Wednesday so much in my life.
Feeling overwhelmed or even depressed about work is fairly normal. It is something I am sure most people have experienced at some point in their life. Be humble and thankful for what you have. Change your mindset. Change your setting. Change your Why. It can make the difference in spending the next few decades of your life miserable or can fuel a purpose driven existence… and the change can happen in a split second. You just need to decide.