By Bikram Vohra
You may think you’re that lemming on the cliff or the hamster on the eternal wheel, but a few tricks can transform that same routine job. Just get up and give it a shot. May the force be with you
So you get up in the morning full of dread. You hate your job, cannot stand your colleagues, your boss is a nitwit and you aren’t getting enough money to tolerate this five-and –a-half-days a week headache. But you soldier on because you do not have a choice.
You are in good company. The lemmings on the nine-to-five cliff surging onto multiple transportation and then being regurgitated in the evening, having been squeezed of all energy like a piece of laundry share one thing in common. They do not enjoy what they are doing.
It is a sobering thought that only 5 per cent of the working population actually does a job it wants to do. Like, the rest are living a lie and doing something they would rather not be doing, but have no option.
The small minority who chase a dream or follow a star and manage to grab its coat-tails is not you. It will never be you. That is a cruel fact because if it was, you would not even have bothered to read so far. You are the nine-to-fiver, the person in the rut, on the treadmill, the usual labels that are stuck on most of us for the decades of our working life.
We find comfort in being reliable, dependable, industrious, stuff like that and these qualities become our guiding lights. We enshrine loyalty, shut up to survive and if we can serve up scapegoats and surrogates for sacrifice so be it, save me from the axe.
You might say, so okay, all this is fine and you may well have a point but instead of making us feel bad about ourselves give us a solution that at least makes it a little bit more tolerable.
You might say it but then again you might just say nothing — big deal, we are all happy with being miserable.
So, since most of us are leading lives we wish we were not, how do we make it more tolerable? That is the trick. And the trick breaks into five major elements, which collectively make you feel better about your situation. No promises, it just might work but don’t hold me to it.
Specialise. Seriously, it is the most obvious step to give yourself an extra dimension and take you out of the merely commonplace. Being a general dogsbody is soul destroying and it amazes me how many people would realise their potential if they just concentrated on one aspect. The moment you are seen as an expert at something be it computers or repairs or projections or finance or commercial trends, your demand will increase and the drudgery of the daily slog will be less tedious. Take writers. Become an authority on shipping, or aviation, or even cookery but stand apart. Many of us go through life being cogs in the wheel, easily interchangeable. Don’t do that, excel at something.
Don’t waste energy being envious. There is no point in looking around you and wishing you were someone else. You are not the other person, so stop. Buckle down and make the best of what you have. Think of the millions who envy you… they are out there even if you cannot see why.
Don’t get into debt or bad habits. They do nothing for professional depression except make you more depressed. Credit cards are for rejecting not being made into your masters and tormenters. The moment the cushion of money is reduced the intolerable becomes the impossible and you begin to actively hate what you are doing. And that harms not only you but your family life, your health and your peace of mind besides wrecking your career. Don’t be stupid and don’t go for status symbols. You think people are impressed… they are falling over with shrill laughter.
Do you have the courage? And the opportunity to do what you really want to… if yes, then go for it. It is only one life so make the best of it, the bus won’t come around again. If material gains are not your singular aim and you have not been brainwashed into signing up for the rat race, take a leap and go for it. Go farming, mountain climbing, adopt a village, teach the poor, grow tomatoes, write music, march to your own drum… you are one of the lucky ones. Do it now, before the doors shut.
Keep learning. This is the basis of all things tolerable. Keep learning. Knowledge is a comfort, it builds your self-esteem, it makes you feel you are worthy, even the most tiresome of jobs becomes that much more acceptable and before you know it, you can even get a more exciting promotion because your knowledge levels have impressed your bosses. Read, that is the first habit you should get into. Listen, to informed opinion, on TV, over the radio. Stay abreast of what is happening in the world today… right across the board, don’t be ignorant. Knowledge is a blessing you give yourself, no one has to give it to you.
If someone says ‘problem in Myanmar,’ you should know what they are talking about.
Bikram is a former editor of KT. Everyday humour is his forte.