The Bitch Slap: About Your J-O-B

about your jobFor seventeen years, I had a j-o-b. Lots of them, in fact. They each offered me health insurance, 401ks, stock options, paid time off, sick days, and a rock-solid paycheck every two weeks. I went to work, I did my work, and I went home. Oftentimes, the w-o-r-k from the j-o-b followed me home.

But there was an achy space — I guess to be honest, there were achy spaces. The spaces in between every task. Between my front door and the car door. Between my car and the front door of the office. Between every task throughout the day, that bit of bliss before I had to pick up and do something else for someone else. The spaces between paychecks grew more and more achy and it became that the paycheck was the goal.

Me >> j-o-b >> w-o-r-k >> money >> bank

Wash. Rinse. Repeat…for seventeen years.

And then the funniest thing happened one day. I lost my j-o-b. I walked in the front door of the office, the company ran out of money, and the following Monday, I was at h-o-m-e on my s-o-f-a.

I had no j-o-b.

And I never would again.

Be Honest With Yourself

My life as of late has been a series of harsh lessons in honesty. My own, other people’s, other people’s inability to be…and time and time again, I realize that the only thing I’m capable of being is honest. And it’s funny — because after 17 years of not being honest with myself and working a series of unfulfilling j-o-bs, it would be the obvious conclusion that I’m pretty fucking good at not being honest.

So, be honest with yourself. Do you really want to be doing what you’re doing? Do you really want another j-o-b or are there achy spaces screaming (begging, yearning) to be filled with that thing you’ve been ignoring?

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I’ve been given roughly 80 years on this planet ([73.5+86] / 2 = 79.75 >>> I’m rounding up, screw it). Seeing as how I just turned 40, my life is effectively half over. I spent 17 years of my first 40 fucking around with j-o-bs and w-o-r-k.

Do you want to do the same thing?

Here’s how I see it: go ahead. Take the next j-o-b. That paycheck will still come every 2 weeks. You’ll be square with your taxes and can call in sick when the flu bug hits. Use any myriad of excuses you like — and you know they’re excuses because they contain the words “but” and “can’t.” But it’ll still be a j-o-b, but with different potted plants and an ergonomic office chair, and you’ll still have the achy spaces between the paychecks.

Because if you’re going to work for the paycheck, you’re going for the wrong reasons. Money doesn’t solve anything — especially when it comes at a price so high as your happiness and your heart, and you sell your reason for being down the river in the name of a piece of paper with some numbers on them.

So, about your j-o-b…get rid of it. Be honest with yourself. Scare the shit out of yourself and do the one thing you never thought you could do (but always wanted to). And quitting your j-o-b isn’t about launching our own business — unless that’s what you’re been daydreaming about in your achy spaces in between. You can work for whomever you want yet never have a j-o-b.

And I hope you never have a j-o-b again. Because they suck, and all you’re doing is lying to yourself that your happiness is only a paycheck away. Which it isn’t. And it never will be.

You’ve been slapped.

 

 

61 comments
AstonReynolds
AstonReynolds

I quit an OK management job last year. I walked in and quit. Then I took a cool job driving trucks but got promoted to management 2 months later. Doh! They canned me last weekend. It's the first time in 6 months I've been able to sleep through the night. I feel good. And I'm really fucking sick of acting for a living, especially when I don't live anywhere near Hollywood. 

Trish Sammer
Trish Sammer

First: The new smokers' lounge, er, website looks deelish. Worth the wait. (BTW, I'm just calling it the smokers' lounge because it always seemed like that's where the badass kids hung in high school. You're like the Judd Nelson character in the Breakfast Club collection of blogs that I follow ...)

Second, I just signed up for livefyre without really checking it out first because I don't think you'd put something on your site that would murder my virtual existence. How have I come to trust you so? I know not. Don't fuck me over, Erika.

Third: Been thinking about all of this (meaning the stuff in yo post) a lot lately. Being underemployed with two kids to support totally sucks. However, I've somehow been managing to survive ... and lately, to THRIVE, doing freelance writing. The writing world has changed a lot. As my one friend says... "There aren't so many jobs any more, but there's a lot of work." Rather than get down about the lack of jobs, I'm feeling myself shift into viewing it as an opportunity for me to wield some MASSIVE POWER over my existence. (I almost said "massive fucking power" but that would've changed my whole meaning. But while we're at it, sure, I'll take summa that too.)

Looking forward to seeing what else awaits on the Relaunch of the Redhead. 

Ashley Baxter
Ashley Baxter

This totally hits home. I personally found that once I reached a certain income in corporate, additional raises meant less and less. I'm finally at a point where I am determined to follow my passion instead of a paycheck.

Jasmine, bama + ry
Jasmine, bama + ry

I actually just recently quit my J O B, and while I am somewhat scared shitless, I'm ready to pursue my business and make.it.work. Thanks for the slap. It reminded me I made the EXACT right decision.

Tyra Hilliard
Tyra Hilliard

Whoa! Are you lurking inside my head? This is so right on and dead-on for timing, it's scary. My husband found it and shared it with me and now I feel validated. And terrified. I have a j-o-b right now. I was doing my own thing for three years and digging it but then we decided to have a baby and I should on myself. I said, "You should have a job with regular hours and a steady paycheck." Now I do and I hate it. I know what I want to do (kind of) and where I want to do it. I just feel trapped by the j-o-b.

Head Bitch
Head Bitch

You're timing really is spooky on this. I just quit my j-o-b and I'm exactly one week in on the start of my new career. You are right, it isn't worth it to spend your time doing something you don't love. You may be required too for a time, we've all got to eat, but damn it make sure you've got an exit strategy so you can pull the trigger when the time is right again!

Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd
Lewis LaLanne - NoteTakingNerd

I love how you say that quitting your job isn't just about launching your own business -- unless of course that's what you're daydreaming about doing. It seems to me that pursuing what you feel your purpose for being here on earth is, is one of the most noble actions you can take. But most people are scared shitless of doing so because they've been a pursuing someone else's purpose for 10-20-30-40 years now and fear having to start all over at ground zero in another field after they lose or quit their job. I believe that one of the fastest and most efficient ways to learn and evolve in a new arena, that is 10x better than any other method is to work directly with a master 1 on 1 in a coaching relationship where you're getting direct mentoring feedback. But first you’ve to figure out what you want to accomplish and then see if you can identify someone who’s an absolute master of that universe. Tim Ferriss (author of the 4 Hour Workweek, 4 Hour Body, 4 Hour Chef) is an absolute genius at doing this. He finds people who are getting insane results in less time than the majority of the people in that field are and he starts testing their practices. And voila, he has mastered numerous languages, tango dancing, kick boxing, cooking, swimming, etc. in an unbelievably short period of time. It is my belief that one of the most rewarding things in the life of someone who’s an expert in a particular area is having students who learn from them and take what they learn and fuck that information wide open – a.k.a. use it to create incredible results for themselves and value for others. This is one of the most fulfilling things to an accomplished person. Joseph Campbell, the mythology expert, traveled studying the religions of the world and as he was on his journey he came to find that what one group said on one continent matched what this continent on the other side of the planet said and they hadn’t connected ever or for many thousands of years. And through these findings he put together what he called “The Hero’s Journey”. This is the universal archetypal universal story that underlies all enduring stories and mythologies. Pretty much everyone reading this will have heard of a movie called, “Star Wars”. It turns out that George Lucas and Joseph Campbell were friends and George took The Hero’s Journey and made three movies in the 80’s that ended up being some of the most successful movies of all time. In the hero’s journey, the hero first refuses the call to adventure, then sets out on the adventure, faces trials and tribulations, has friends and a mentor show up and help him, and eventually gets to the point where they need to make decision about their destiny and they realize that if they pursue their destiny and they claim it, life will never be the same ever again and they’ll live forever with what Joseph Campbell calls, “The Elixir” which is the knowledge or the learning that they bring back and offer to the world. Experts everywhere would love to have students they can offer “The Elixir” to because that giving of their gift is what fulfills them most. We all learn at some point in our life that helping others in a meaningful way is more rewarding than pretty much anything we can do. Once we’ve got our survival needs met, our sex/affection needs met, and we’ve got our comfort needs addressed, we look to see how we can contribute to others. The person you want to learn most from wants nothing more than to have a great student. THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING. But if this person is kicking ass and taking names it’s not because they’re sitting on their ass eating Cheetos watching porn and playing video games all day. They’re probably busy as hell making important and significant shit happen. These people are more likely than not hard to reach and they’ve got a lot of people contacting them. So how do you contact them, how do you relate to them, how do you learn from them and how do you build a relationship? If you’re reaching out to these people cold – you don’t know them, you don’t know anyone who knows them and you’ve got to go the direct route, persistence is CRITICAL. But so is having some perspective on how people in the real world have gone through this process of finding a mentor to guide them in a new field. And this is where I would highly recommend reading Robert Greene's newest book titled "Mastery". It is loaded front to back with stories people who became famous in their pursuit of their purpose. You can actually get Robert's six part series on apprenticeship on Tim Ferriss's blog and you can judge for yourself if you trust this first step in quitting your j-o-b . . . http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/11/12/the-magic-of-apprenticeship-a-how-to-guide/

Tracy
Tracy

I hear you in theory, but I have a mental block about the what next part (and I'm at 16 years and counting!). You say, "And quitting your j-o-b isn’t about launching our own business — unless that’s what you’re been daydreaming about in your achy spaces in between. You can work for whomever you want yet never have a j-o-b." I don't really think I'd enjoy running my own business, but what do you mean that I can work for someone and not have it be a j-o-b? I know this would vary for everyone, but do you have any examples of a job that isn't being your own boss but also isn't a j-o-b either from your own experience or people you know? Thanks!

Rich Mackey
Rich Mackey

Damn you and your honesty. And uncanny timing.

Mark Aaron Murnahan
Mark Aaron Murnahan

I have owned companies since I was in high school. I left school to focus on my company. I worked very hard and it became a huge hit. I took a company from the floor to a fifty million dollar company, and rode it back down to the floor after somebody broke the economy and suppliers went wonky. I looked for a job. I looked very hard, in fact Everybody said I am "overqualified". So, I became "unemployable" because every asshat CEO figured I would leave because they couldn't replace my seven digit salary. I was sad, because I was not out for salary at all. I wanted a company to fall in love with. It took longer than it should have, but I realized I already owned the company that would replace my full-time efforts. I already owned a bakery. So, I opened a new store and now I work for a fraction of the salary I had, or the salary I could have ... but I love it more than any job I ever had (and race car driver is on my résume). Love should always trump money. I've had money ... lots of it ... but love is better. Here's the story of a marketing and technology executive gone "Mad": http://www.awebguy.com/2012/09/marketing-and-technology-executive-goes-mad/

Julia Borgini
Julia Borgini

BAM! You've just reaffirmed my recent move into freelancing. Thank you! I switched from a full time job to a contract one last year, and now that the contract's done, I'm concentrating on my freelancing job 100%. AND I LOVE IT! My j-o-b was really starting to chafe over the last few years, and I couldn't quite figure out why. Until I met a few freelancers. Cue the proverbial lightning bolt and clouds parting. THAT was where I wanted to be, no, that's where I NEEDED to be. So I started laying the ground work. And now I'm finally here. Can't wait to see what the future brings, but I know I'm ready. Cheers.

Timothy Brucke
Timothy Brucke

I don't just hate my j-o-b, I despise and loathe it. When I started, I had planned for it to be temporary, a way to pay the bills, until I could find something I really liked. I knew almost everyone there as we had worked together at another company, so I didn't think it would be that bad. A year in, I was voluteered for my current position, a position I had unformed management I did not want under any cicumstances, all because I was the lowest paid employee that could copy and paste. Once I was informed I was volunteered I decided to push forward with some of the things I was considering. It has been two years since I was volunteered. I am nearly a senior in college with plans to leave the company when I graduate or before. Some friends and former coworkers have informed me of some possible employment opportunities I did not have access to before. Even with these new opportunities I find myself thinking why don't I do something I have never done before. My future career direction maybe uncertain but I am finished working for companies like AT&T, MasTec, Alcatel-Lucent, TE(ADC) and their like.

Amelia Morrison Hipps
Amelia Morrison Hipps

I'll admit that it was scary to walk away from a secure job in a profession that I had devoted almost 20 years to a year and four days ago, on Jan. 3, 2012, but it was the best thing I ever did. In the past year, I've started a business that still associated with the profession I passionately love, watch it stumble and come close to failing, but I found other equally passionate work when it slowed. And today, because of what I did, I just got a gig that will pay the bills, fill my soul and still give me the flexibility I need. And a new vision for the business I started. I must admit, however, I couldn't have done it without a lot of support from family and friends. Thanks as always, Erika, for the slap and for being you, because in more ways than I can count, your words played a major role in my decision last year.

Lissa Duty
Lissa Duty

Erika, awesome post. I gave up my j-o-b in 2009 to start my own biz. First went to part-time, then went to less then part-time, they wanted to keep me, so now they are a consulting client, pay me a consultant rate and I ONLY do the stuff I wanted to - online tasks. Life is good! Thanks for reminding all of us of why we don't want to go back to a j-o-b. With the economy in the crapper sometimes I little security looks good for about 15 seconds. Lol!

Isaac
Isaac

Good points, I just wish people in my generation saw this. I'm 20, and I feel like 90% of my friends are in college just to get a j-o-b. Though honestly when it comes to my generation, its partially our parents that need the bitch slap. They and their parents are the ones that pushed college so much and inflated the price of it (even though in many cases, its worthless).

Sessha Batto
Sessha Batto

I lost my j-o-b 5 years ago after 22 years with the same company and 30 years of jobs. I've scratched and I've scraped but i'll never go back!

Nancy Cawley Jean
Nancy Cawley Jean

Oh I do love a good bitch slap. And one of these days I'll find the you-know-whats to be honest and do what I really want to do and figure out a way to pay for it all! Thanks for that slap, @RedheadWriting:disqus!

Tanya Storm
Tanya Storm

I hear you. And you know I am struggling with this. The question is though, how do you take chances and not worry about money when you have a family depending on you for the roof over their head and the food on their plate? When someone can help me answer that conundrum, I will be so ready. I am trying so hard to figure it out.

The Coffice™
The Coffice™

Nice! Took me 3 times to stop lying to myself. This reminds me of a joke (I took the helicopter): God Will Save Me! It had been raining for days and days, and a local river crested, flooding many houses. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house. As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned. Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

Carrie
Carrie

Erika - I look forward to your emails and this one was particularly timely. I hate my j-o-b. After divorce (in 2007) and one really great j-o-b that went sour in the crash of the economy in 2009 left me with nothing but fear and a big fat bankruptcy, I had to do something. I was a single Mom with no j-o-b - and I knew my kids deserved to have a mother who could be a role model for how to "handle it" when things turned shitty. So I pulled it together, got a job with really bad pay (1/4 of what I made) and bad hours. But fuck, at least I had health insurance again. I stuck it out there for almost two years when I finally landed this gig. SLIGHTLY better pay (and I mean cents), but better hours. I can go to my kids sporting events on the weekends and the conferences and concerts at night during the week again. Hallelujah. But I am still miserable. I am a Content Marketing Coordinator. Love the writing and the marketing (because God knows at 41 years old, after all the shit I have been thought, I know people). But I am better than this. I gots skillz... and they aren't being used. I have more ideas and my potential is so much greater. My issue is finding a way to do what I love - without it being a j-o-b. I will spruce up my "resume" and start the search. Working from home would be my ideal situation with my boys at the ripe ages of 8 and 11. This email arrived just after one of the "Directors" I work for (I hate the title "Director" for so many reasons) came into my cubicle to tell me that I "screwed up" the company description in one of our promotions today. And she said it in the reliable, higher than mighty, condescending tone and manner that I can always depend on her for. I felt like looking at her and saying "Look - this promotion was an effective one. People are going to come to this webinar because the lure in that copy was fucking great. No one is going to read the fine print of the fucking company description. So, what now? Geeze, I hope no small children die as a result of my life altering (subjective) error!" But I can't do that. Because I live for my paycheck. Because my kids need food and clothing. I hate this j-o-b. So, anyway, I needed this today. Thank you.

JudyBott
JudyBott

Thanks for the j-o-b slap. I've been slapping myself about this a lot lately. A good, solid, reinforcement slap is always welcome.

Kate Pierse
Kate Pierse

I love this article, Erika, thank you! After leaving my J-O-B far behind me 2 years ago and starting my own business, I need to be reminded of what that used to entail when I get hit with the 'grass is always greener' feeling. Its been two years of being patronized and misunderstood by corporate types, being scared shitless most of the time and not having the certainty of knowing all my bills would be paid all the time, but I have what matters even more to me - my freedom and control of myself and my life. Your article reminded me about that "dying" feeling I had every day in a job, thanks for helping me see the joy that came from me giving up my wage slave days.

Caryn Murray
Caryn Murray

Caryn's notes- if you're doing what you do for the paycheck, that's why you're miserable.

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

I know it's almost unheard of these days, but next June 1st will mark my 30th anniv in this here j-o-b. It has had it's peaks and valleys and probably a few times where I thought about going solo and doing my own thing, but in hindsight I would say I made the right choice and couldn't imagine any other (real) job better suited for my personality. I do love what I do (most days......:). I like helping people and that is what my job allows; if I do what I'm supposed to do the money part will take care of itself. HOWEVER, don't wait 30 yrs (or 20, or 10) and decide this is only a j-o-b and why am I not doing something I love, right? I'm sure there were some tough life lessons to be learned in this process, but I admire you tremendously for what you have been able to accomplish.

David Marciniak
David Marciniak

Love it! I stuck out my job with unimaginative bosses who undermined my creativity every day, because what kind of idiot goes out on his own in a recession? Thank god for getting laid off with a day's notice! That was four years ago and I love where I am and what I'm doing.

Guest
Guest

Sorry, I don't hate what I do, I don't even mind it, and I like the security from my job including the benefits.

Lindsay Bell
Lindsay Bell

I quit my union j-o-b after 20 years, with seniority, a pension, and 5 years vacay. Just up and quit. People thought I had lost my mind. Best thing I ever did. Now, although I work, I don't have a j-o-b. You're right Erika, you don't have to start your own company. But you goddamn well should be sure that you're happy. :)

Sue Heilbronner
Sue Heilbronner

E...love how this is your truth. And, I think that whether it's a j-o-b or a w-a-l-k you take everyday, what matters most is that you're living in your ZONE of GENIUS and WONDER...every day...most every moment....and that...can take about a zillion forms.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Bitch Slap: About Your J-O-B There was an achy space — I guess to be honest, there were achy spaces. The spaces in between every task. Between my front door and the car door. Between my car and the front door of the office. Between every task throughout the day, that bit of bliss before I had to pick up and do something else for someone else. The spaces between paychecks grew more and more achy and it became that the paycheck was the goal. […]

  2. […] Do you have a job, or a j-o-b? This Redhead Writing post is by far the best thing I came across in the past week. […]