“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius
I’ve been pondering Confucius’ words lately.
It all started one night a couple weeks ago when my boyfriend and I went to bed.
I could tell there was something on his mind. He wasn’t his usual happy, sleepy, cuddly self. He wasn’t relaxed and content with his day, like he usually is. He didn’t seem excited to get some sleep so we could get up early and re-commit to the new morning routine we’d recently started trying. Instead, he seemed on edge.
I crawled into bed and laid down facing him. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” came his reply.
The Work Blues
I suspected it had to be about work. That afternoon, he’d gotten a text from his boss saying he had a job for him starting at 9:30am, after hearing nothing from him for the past three weeks.
I knew he’d grown tired of the lack of communication with this company, and the last-minute scheduling and surprises. I knew he really wasn’t a fan of constantly being at the mercy of some unresponsive employer, who could text him an address in Quebec at 10pm the night before he’s to start a factory job for the next 3 months.
More than that, though, I knew he hated being away from home, and the instability of it all. He’s not the kind of person who enjoys working away all week and living out of a suitcase and hotel room. He dreads having to pack a bag last-minute and head off for who knows where the next morning.
I sensed that something was about to happen, so I waited.
Here Comes The Truth
“When I got that text today, my stomach dropped. I’m dreading going to work tomorrow. I felt sick in the shower just now. I’ve literally made myself sick thinking about going back to this job and these people.”
There it was, out in the open.
It didn’t surprise me. I knew he’d been pretty miserable since starting this job a few months ago. The long hours, the hotel life, the long-distance, the non-communication, the surprise/last-minute scheduling, and the lack of any sort of a life outside of work had clearly gotten to him, and he was fed up. I understood that, and could see it for myself when I looked in his eyes and heard his voice over the phone.
That part I had somewhat expected.
What he said next, though, did surprise me.
Looking in the Mirror
He poured us both a glass of Bailey’s and milk, and then dove right into an analysis of his life so far, complete with the patterns he’s followed since he was 10, along with the realization that he’s sick of doing what he’s been doing. It hasn’t worked so far, and following this path hasn’t gotten him to where he wants to go.
He realized that he’s been terrified to do something different, but that it’s time to mix it up. It’s time to take bold action in the direction of his dreams.
Otherwise, he’ll spend the rest of his working life bouncing from job to job, always trying to find the perfect company, position, or employer. He’ll do “what’s right,” and never quit a job without first having another lined up to begin working at immediately. He’ll give each company the proper resignation notice, and then wind up in the exact same position he started from, only with a few more years of experience.
As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
He’s gotten to the point where that life no longer excites him — or even interests him. He wants more.
Witnessing A Transformation
His sudden experience of self-realization was fascinating to watch and listen to, so I just sat there taking it all in. It was like watching a miracle.
There was nothing I could do but support him, love him, and agree with him that it sounded like quitting was the right thing to do.
“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it. To spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized. Never knowing.” — Jim Rohn
Before we went to bed, he had officially quit his dread-inducing job and become a free agent, with nothing but wide-open possibilities, for the very first time in his working life!
And that, to me, was cause for celebration for one simple reason:
Life is too short to do things you hate, just because people tell you it’s the “right” thing to do.