“This Job Is Killing Me”

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“This job is killing me.” Does that sound like a figment of your imagination or at some level do you fear it might be true? “This job is killing me” is an often heard expression. It had to start somewhere. At least, when I started typing the question into a Google search, the topic self –populated. Could it be true? Doesn’t research indicate that the vast majority of the American workforce is dissatisfied?

“This job is killing me”. Have you ever felt that way? If so, is your feeling a misperception or is it based on your current reality? Oh, and by the way, just for the record there is no right or wrong answer to the question. Only you know the answer and it is based on your perception and circumstances. Do I need to ask the question again?

Actually a morning talk show was the catalyst to my giving thought to the topic. The question was asked, “The inventor of which of these three things died using his invention? The three options were (1) fire escape (2) parachute (3) seat belt.

I recently saw a blog entitled: “Well That Didn’t Work – Homemade Parachutes Are Amazing, Until You Jump.” Can you imagine? If you can’t, you probably didn’t have the same kind of childhood I experienced. Don’t forget, I’m the project of the baby boomer generation. Remember all those World War II movies that reenacted what our dad’s had experienced?

We saw those movies and as kids went home and played soldiers. Don’t you remember taking small plastic figurines of soldiers and tying string from their arms to the four corners of one of your dad’s handkerchiefs?   We’d throw the plastic soldier with his handkerchief parachute tied in place into the air to watch it land.

I even remember in my early childhood, my twin brother decided to parachute off the top of our roof. I can’t remember how the two of us climbed on top of the roof, but I made haste to get down and let the folks know Ronnie was going to jump. They intervened before he actually jumped, but it was his full intent. He had his homemade parachute rigged to work. And to think, he thought he was the smart one.

On February 4, 1912, Franz Reichelt, an Austrian-born French tailor and inventor actually did opt to try-out his homemade parachute in person. He jumped from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Sadly, it wasn’t a soft landing. The jump resulted in the inventor’s death. I can assure you that the policeman at the Eiffel tower who’d granted permission for the jump to take place immediately regretted his decision.

I’m grateful that my job isn’t killing me, but I’ve had a couple of that would have, had I stayed in them. When I was in graduate school I worked as a billing clerk at a freight company in Dallas. I don’t remember exactly, but I think we worked from 4:00 p.m.-to-midnight. It was eight un-interrupted hours of nothing but typing. If memory serves me correctly, I think the typewriters were manual.

When you were on the clock, you were on the clock and they carefully calculated how many billing transactions you typed during each 60 minute segment. I don’t remember thinking my supervisor was brilliant. For that matter, I don’t even recall that he was friendly and personable. I do remember that his name was Rod and that he wore a flat-top hair cut. He could have been a drill sergeant in anybody’s army.

He also had a propensity for smoking cigars. I can’t imagine a job more boring than his. He simply spent the eight hours of his shift walking back and forth in what appeared very much like a high school classroom watching a room full of people type. Of course, he was blowing smoke all during that period of time.

The other thing I remember about the experience, is that I always was sick, even though I was always on the job. Management believed that employees worked better if they were uncomfortable. Consequently, they kept the room temperature set at 65 degrees year round.

Between the runny nose and the regular breathing of cigar smoke, I’d be dead by now. The job would have killed me.

I had one other job before I went to work as a child protective services worker that was an eight-hour-day of boredom. If the phone didn’t ring or a customer didn’t come into the office, there was absolutely nothing to do. I kept thinking, I didn’t go to college for this. Actually, I should have thought, “I wasn’t born for this.” That job would have killed me.  I would have died of boredom.

Is your job killing you? If you’re giving the question some serious thought, “What have you determined about your personal, work related circumstances?” For each of us, the hours of our day filter through the lenses of our experience and our physical, emotional and spiritual aptitude associated with time and how we use it.

Life is way too short to be unfulfilled and miserable in a job related experience. There are times my job represents stress, but for the most part I am generally pretty upbeat and positive about the experience. That is not to say there is never a day that I’m not grateful for the experience. I experience a day or two on rare occasion that I could have done without.  On those days I simply tell myself they serve as a reminder that at times it is a job.

All My Best!

Don

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