The other night I went to this course at Skillshare, a really awesome General Assembly-esque place near Chinatown. I’m sure there’s a neighborhood name but because I live up on 106th I haven’t differentiated the neighborhoods down there yet. It’s all just a blob of stuff I can’t afford and well-dressed, skinny chicks who make me die a little every time I see them.
Skillshare has one of those spaces that makes you feel all “OMG I live in the coolest city in the whole wide world, I can’t believe they’re using a giant mirror as a door.” SO this class was a crash course in the New York start-up scene, something I know well as a former start-up-er. The class itself was great, but for most of it I found myself having one of my quarter-life-crisis what the hell am I doing with my life career breakdowns. Don’t worry, it’s not as dramatic as it seems. Or maybe it is, but these happen so frequently I guess I’m used to it.
I’ve been a “working professional” for slightly over two years, and have managed an awesome job. I have really wonderful coworkers, my bosses are cool, and on top of all of that I make a living wage and get paid time off for a bunch of Jewish holidays (like today, woo hoo!). I’ve got a really great thing going for me.
Nevertheless, I find myself experiencing first-world-problem-style anxiety when it comes to what I’m doing with my life all the time. I’ve talked to a couple other people who have these feelings. I think there are enough of us (like 5) to qualify as a DSM-IV classified psychological disorder. So I’ve gone ahead and created some names to define what we’re going through.
Post Par-JOB Depresion
Seasonal JOB Disorder
Post-Traumatic JOB Disorder
Job-pes (ok, this one is a blend of herpes and the word job. But really… Everyone is illogically freaked out about herpes even though it’s not a big deal, so I think it fits).
If these terms don’t already explain it for you, here are some examples:
I’ve got the “Why does everyone else look like they’re so much more awake and happier to go to work than me” freak out. I’m thinking that’s post par-job depression, or seasonal job disorder if it’s summer and maybe rain causes it too. I have trouble wrapping my head around is the fact that while I really like work, I can always, without a doubt, think of at least 47 other things I’d like to do than go to work. #1 – 27 are different sleeping positions, # 28- 39 are ways to make a margarita, and the rest are TV shows. I’d like to think this is normal, but there are some people out there who seem reaaaaally excited about going to work. They’re like YES! MONDAY! AWESOME! I want to throw my coffee on those people in the elevator.
Then there’s schizojobnia or ADJOBD – depending on the severity level – where I become jealous of everyone else’s jobs. From accountants to web developers, I’m constantly sizing up what they do for a living and trying to figure out if it’s better than what I do. My boyfriend does finance-y things. Most mornings, when he’s leaving for work like two hours before I leave for work, I think to myself, “He’s just going to go research things all day… That sounds like fun!” And then I get super jealous of him, and I wish that I had studied finance, and I completely disregard the fact that although he has been explaining it to me for the past two years, I still don’t understand exactly what happens when you short sell something. I think things cost more to buy things back? No idea.
Basically, if you have a job that is not one that I’ve already had (egs. Waffle House hostess; Beer Pong Referee; Studying for the LSAT), I have probably at one point or another stared you down, trying to drill into your brain and figure out whether or not you have a better job than me.
The worst of them, however, is Jobxiety. Jobxiety is when I throw myself a pity party because I haven’t yet become the CEO or something, of founded the next Instagram, or figured out how to support myself through ‘my art.’ It doesn’t matter that I don’t have any art; I’m mad at myself for not finding said art and then using it to magically generate rent-paying income. When I’m being logical, and not in a state of jobxiety, I know that I should focus on realistic, short-term goals, like doing my laundry more than once a month and making sure to always bring my lunch to work so that I don’t drain my bank account three days after payday. Sadly, I am less often logical, and more often like this:
Jobxiety is totally obnoxious.
I’ve been cycling through all of these issues since I first started working, and it wasn’t until the other day that I had an epiphany. Yes, while getting Joxiety, ADJOBD and Job-pes categorized as diseases could result in fun new prescriptions for everyone… There’s another way to handle all of this. It takes a little more effort and mental control, but it also doesn’t involve health insurance – which is good because a lot of us don’t have that yet. We (or at least I) need to remind ourselves of all the things we do have as young people. While it’s true that being the CEO of something would result in not having to eat hummus for dinner most nights, and that would sound even better at dinner parties than telling people I started a freaking movement… Which for the record, I did do. We’re in the quiet, organizing stage, I promise. But, if I was that CEO, I’d be missing out on a lot of the things that I won’t get to do when I’m an actual adult with things like kids and mortgages, because I’d already have that level of responsibility. Not too mention the fact that I can’t do my laundry does not build a strong case for my being skilled enough to take on that level of responsibility anyway.
My new cure for job disorders, is reminding myself that a.) I’m really lucky to have a good job and b.) I’m super lucky to have time to figure my life out. So next time we’re out to dinner, and I start railing on about how wouldn’t it be great to give it all up to be a bartender and live in Greenpoint and learn how to paint… don’t worry. That’s just my job-pes flaring up.