Remembering How Good You Had It

I think most of us tend to have a relatively negative view of our work life. It’s easy to get involved in your daily routine and become lost in the mundane banality of the mindless work that is likely a part of whatever it is that you do. If you work in an office all day, then it’s even easier to get into the mindset of things being ridiculous or stupid or meaningless. While this is absolutely true in most cases, one of the things we fail to take into consideration are the many jobs out there that are far worse.

Having been out of work for a few months now, I’m starting to consider other kinds of jobs that I wouldn’t have before. I have a lot of experience in office settings, particularly in the construction industry, but for various reasons I haven’t been able to secure a job thus far. As I get closer to things getting really bad for me financially, it’s easy to start looking elsewhere for work. Some of the options I’ve been looking at truly remind me of how good those of us who have a skillset in office work actually have it.

For example, one would think something as simple as driving a cement truck should be fairly straightforward and easy, but if you read the reviews about such jobs you start to get a very different picture. Extremely early mornings or late nights, as well as six day work weeks that are twelve to sixteen hours each, are apparently the norm in that industry. It’s even worse for over the road truck drivers, who spend weeks on the road at a time without coming home to see their family. This is fine if you’re single with nothing better to do, but not the best in virtually any other circumstance.

I’ve had to admit many times in my life that I’m pretty ungrateful for the things I’ve been given in my life compared to what other people have to put up with. Most of us in America with halfway decent jobs tend to have this problem, which is why so many of us end up putting in little to no effort and then feel entitled when we move on, expecting the next job to finally be the one that gives us the kind of satisfaction that we’ve been looking for. We usually refuse to find satisfaction in having a relatively easy life with reasonable pay because we’re so focused on where we wish we could be.

If you try to say that to someone doing heavy physical labor twelve to sixteen hours a day, it would be hard to want to defend you when they punch you in the mouth for being such a wuss. There are a lot of people in the country who don’t have the time or patience for the kind of weak attitudes that many of us in the “professional” career fields tend to have. While we work in air conditioned buildings for maybe eight hours and only on weekdays, they are out in the weather working six days a week and barely seeing their families. When you really start to think about things from that perspective, the mindless office job doesn’t seem so bad.

It’s hard to give up on the things we want, especially when the world makes it seem like it should be so easy to acquire, but the truth is that too many of us simply don’t appreciate what we already have. If you work in an office, or even in an air conditioned grocery store, you already have it way better than a significant portion of the workforce in America. We see all these glamorous “work from home” jobs and become obsessed with finding a way to get one, but we fail to realize that we can just as easily fall back down the hill into grueling jobs we never thought we’d have to do.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have some kind of negative view on the work you do, no matter what it is. It’s in our nature to identify problems and want to do something about them. Where we run into trouble is when we fail to put the proper priority on those problems because we’re so sheltered from the harder aspects of the working world that our problems become much bigger in our minds since there isn’t anything worse to compare them to. If you look at society in general, I’m sure you see the parallel.

I’m certainly hoping that my next job will be something that provides me with the kind of accomplishment and satisfaction I’ve been craving for most of my life, but after looking at some of the other options out there I’ll definitely be a little more grateful if I can secure another job working at a desk. Compared to most of the other realistic positions I could acquire, there’s very little to complain about. If you’re struggling to agree with this viewpoint, check out your local job board and really look at some of what’s out there.

You might find your current job is far better than you think.

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