When it comes to television entertainment, I generally have 2 moods; disturbing and horrific, or dry, awkward humor. So naturally, since I recently finished the entire season of Law and Order SVU, I switched back over to The Office (yes, for the billionth time, I know). Fortunately for me, sometimes when I watch a show over and over, I start to see new things I didn't see before. If I'm lucky enough, it'll spark a thought that will lead to a realization about life in general. Is this what all tv writers have in mind while writing episodes? Genius! One episode in particular that got me thinking a little deeper, was the one where Andy lost his job as manager. Now comes my favorite part of writing... watching tv (for research purposes)! If you'd like to follow along, it's Season 8, Episode 21 "Angry Andy" .
In this episode, and the three that follow to finish out the season, we follow the storyline of Andy losing his job, and everyone, in turn, thinking that he also lost his mind. He comes back to the office as if he never left, even attending a company event and making it seem like he's completely unbothered (when clearly he is bothered). Even though the show is fictional, I have seen similar situations like this, and some even a bit more drastic. There are studies out there that claim 1 in 5 suicides are in some way tied to unemployment . Sure, money may be 'A' factor, but it seems as though to some people, it's much more than that. Often times, people put so much of themselves into their job, workplace, a company, that when the loss comes, it's seen as a grieving process. Working is such a huge part of the daily lives of almost everyone in the world, but how much of ourselves do we really give up to a job position?
For me, yes, when I first lost my job (due to my own volition), it was a mix of excitement/ 'what the heck am I gonna do now'? As the days following turned into weeks...then months... then YEARS, I found myself longing for the constructs of a workplace environment again. The grass is looking pretty darn green from over here, I must say! And it's true, it isn't about the money at all (for me at least). I've even been looking for volunteer opportunities, groups, workshops, and even classes I'd have to PAY for. I've been spending so much darn time with myself, it's almost like, I need to get away from myself. I'm too in my own face! I'm forced to come to terms with every single thing in my life that I find less than perfect. I'm forced to sit all day and think of how I got where I am today. I am reliant completely on myself to get everything done and l turn my own life into what I want it to be. For a lot of us, it's something we simply avoid. Being consumed in a job really does take your mind off of all your problems.
I'm sure a lot of you have heard before the age-old technique of burying yourself in work in order to avoid thinking about some harsh reality of life. It truly does work. In all aspects... and maybe a little TOO well in some circumstances. Of course, if I'm hurting or sad, I'll want to distract myself. Sooner or later, however, if a wound is ignored it can turn into a bloody gangrenous infection that will eventually destroy you. Working all the time can definitely be distracting to any real problems we may be going through in our lives. By keeping busy, we simply never have to face them or come to terms with our biggest fears about ourselves. Trust me, I get the appeal! I love it whenever I have something that gets me out of the house each week...because then, I'm don't have to think about the fact that I have yet to accomplish anything substantial in my life. Or the fact that I don't REALLY know what I'm doing. Or the fact that I feel unappreciated in my own time. Or the fact that most of the time, I'm simply unmotivated to do anything on my own. If I never get a chance to face these concerns head-on, they will keep growing while I distract myself (which is actually very easy to do in a job due to the levels of comfortability that can be achieved).
All in all, working is a part of life. The real question is, is your life comprised of merely working in order not to face who you truly are as an individual? It may not be a straightforward answer, but it's something to think about. I do believe there can be a good balance between work and self-awareness. Swinging too far on either side of the pendulum can be detrimental to anybody. We should never feel like we've lost ourselves at a job, just as we should never feel we are incomplete without one. One thing I can say with certainty is that jobs will ALWAYS come and go, but we only get one us to take care of. For those of you who don't have a job, it's not the end of the world. Take the much needed time to get in touch with yourself so whenever you do rejoin the workforce, so you are much stronger than before. There is always room for growth if we take the time for care. Let me know your thoughts people! Especially those who work!
P.s. The above photo is from my recent trip to the New York Public Library. A beautiful place! I actually know the guy who gives the tours and hosts their live broadcast. Seems like a cool job to have! I feel as though something like working in a library is the best of both worlds. You get to be alone and tranquil some of the time, and some of the time you can interact with others.
P.p.s. Spoiler alerting The Office yet again, but Andy's story is actually very fascinating. Over the course of the series, he gets fired, leaves, and quits multiple times, only to come back time and time again. I do think he just really appreciated the family aspect of it all. Which is also another perk or work if you're so lucky to be that close to each other's lives. Having a work family can certainly keep a mind occupied. Especially if spending a lot of time alone and rarely having any other lasting relationships outside of work. That's why work couples are such a huge thing! (*Has another realization*)
P.p.p.s. Even though I do have much more to learn about myself, I'm perhaps ready to add a dash of work back into the mix. Still very slowly and cautiously. Let me know if you have any suggestions of something fun and not too commital!