But for most of us, work lies somewhere between a Pakistani salt mine and a Dilbert cartoon. It's just kind of there, inhaling the better part of the day as you ignore those niggling ontological questions that sneak into your thoughts. Weren't you supposed to have learned the meaning of life by now?
We strive to perform just well enough to get by. If you do less than that, you get written up, and if you do more than that, no one notices, except your co-workers, who all stop talking when you walk into the break room.
This post is for those who are thinking about quitting their jobs as an end in itself. Quitting an old job for a better one is a no-brainer, so that's not an issue. Neither is quitting a job for one equally as meaningless, since a change of scenery never hurts.
Anyway. Of all the reasons to hang in there, these are the top five.
1. You won't have to tell your parents you're thinking about graduate school.
You know the drill. It started in the first grade when your mom tried every ruse she could think of to get you into the Academically Talented section, and all you wanted to do was hang out with your new friends, good readers or not. To mollify your parents, you told them whatever they needed to hear so they'd leave you alone. You may have even gotten into the advanced reading group so they'd go away and quit making nuisances of themselves.
Ever since then, you told (or implied to) them whatever it took to give them the impression you really and truly were working toward Stanford law school or a Nobel Prize. Fortunately, life intervened and got you off the hook, allowing you to tell them, "Maybe next year." That's all over if you quit your job.
2. You won't have to join a health club and get in shape.
Many of us are pretty good at not doing (or minimizing) what we shouldn't be doing--smoking, drinking too much, eating Krispy Kreme donuts for dinner and so on. But doing what we should be doing--contributing to our 401k's, backing up computer files, and getting regular oil changes--is another story altogether. For years, we've told our friends and ourselves that we'd join the health club and get in shape if only we had time. If you quit your job, you'll have time--and one less excuse.
|I mean, seriously?|
3. You won't be able to collect unemployment benefits.
This is the practical aspect to consider. It's pretty much of a riff on Homer Simpson's advice: Don't quit your job! Just do it half-assed like everyone else."
4. You won't have to let everyone know you've decided to become a consultant.
When someone mentions off-handedly that he or she has decided to open a consulting business, your first thought is to wonder why anyone would do something so harebrained. No clients. Uncertain pay. Shameless marketing and self-promotion. At which point you realize the person you're talking to is unemployed, and if that's true, was he-or she fired, probably was, and why don't they get a real job. Why place yourself in such a position?
5. Your friends won't roll their eyes when they read your mid-morning Facebook posts.
Post that cat-with-scotch-tape-on-his-paw video at 10:30 while you're at work, and your friends are blown away by your wit and your ability to slack and get away with it. It's also a way to get back at The Man, in a small way. But do it after you've quit, and everyone will think you're just sitting around with nothing to do while they have to suffer.
Even though work may suck a bit, it does give you an opportunity to learn new ways to endure, and with endurance comes knowledge, and with knowledge, Truth.
I can't remember who said that, but some one must have. Work colored by dead endishness is not only the place to figure it all out, but also to figure out what's to figure out.