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Old 09-30-2023, 03:53 PM
 
Location: So Cal
51,811 posts, read 52,197,770 times
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I've had a semi-stressful job for 30 plus yrs. I've stressed out so much, lost so much sleep. I've been miserable to some degree off and on most of that time. I've literally wasted a lot of my life I realize. I'm mid 50s now and looking back at it makes me pissed off to some degree thinking about it.

I also look back at some of the projects over the years and think it just didn't matter, not really. Wasn't curing cancer or saving sick babies. It really didn't mean diddly crap at the end of the day. It was just meeting some bull crap deadline at the end of the day.

I've changed jobs now and my stress is a third of what it was, maybe even less. That said, I've been feeling like I'm getting more anxiety and stress lately. I don't want to go back to feeling that way. I know most of this is probably my personality type, others can let things roll off their backs better. I just want to do a good job and so many things are out of my direct control in some ways.

My point is is looking back at my past sleepless nights and I realize, late in life, you just have to know when to give a crap, and know when to not give as much of a crap.

One of the things I'd tell my non-existent kids. Do your due diligence, but for the love of god, please, please keep things in perspective.
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Old 09-30-2023, 04:26 PM
 
10,950 posts, read 6,656,790 times
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I found your post interesting because I used to care too much about too many things. As time goes on and I get older (I'm almost old enough to be your parent) and the way society (politics, economics, culture) is going it's been easier somehow to stop caring about some things. I still get emotional over relationships and animals, and the state of our country but I think I understand how you feel about job and career. I used to work a jobs that made rich and powerful people even more rich and powerful. It was not a good feeling at all. But the money was good and until 1990 the benefits were also good. Then things went downhill and I'm glad I'm out of the rat race.

I have regrets about not doing certain careers I would have loved to try, but I still liked some aspects of the work I did. That doesn't make up for the stress and negativity while doing it though. I too feel like I wasted a huge chunk of my life doing something that was not really rewarding for me. My career path veered when Affirmative Action was made into law and I could not get into graduate school (there were far fewer schools back then - an understatement). That's when my path took a hard right.

If it's any consolation, it helps to remember that a large percent of the population feels like you do, though they might not talk about it or admit it.

One thing that helped me was to do as good a job as I could (under the ubiquitous bad management, etc.), but when I saw that no one else gave a crap, I started caring less and sometimes I was even able to start not giving a crap at all.

One of the things that made it hard for me was that I was not a drinker or a druggie. One day I "woke up" and realized that almost every single person at my then law firm was a heavy drinker, a heavy pot smoker, a heavy cocaine user (usually the attorneys) and many of them engaged in extra-martial affairs. None of that is my style and I used to facetiously wonder if I should start and whether it would help my stress levels. Glad I didn't. But I have to say, the stress of working in that field made me neurotic, as it did others as well.
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Old 09-30-2023, 04:32 PM
 
710 posts, read 572,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowhound View Post
My point is is looking back at my past sleepless nights and I realize, late in life, you just have to know when to give a crap, and know when to not give as much of a crap.
So true! I have spent way too much time worked up about something that I really had no control over, or if I had some I didn't want it in the first place.

It's almost a kind of habit energy, letting things matter that really don't matter. Or really don't have anything to do with you living your own life and letting other people live theirs.
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:06 PM
 
1,037 posts, read 560,219 times
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Agreed... when you get older and wiser you realize that sometimes you just have to say "whatever".

I'm like you - I hate doing a half-donkey job. If you go, you go all in and do the best job possible.

Then you encounter people who don't care, don't do their jobs well at all which reflects on your outcome... and it angers and causes sleepless nights. You get angry at the world for people being such slackers. You get angry at yourself for hiring that person to do the job... etc.

I've found that sometimes I have to step back and say... okay does this truly matter? A lot of times it doesn't. A lot of times it's just my ego saying that his / her standards aren't good enough for me. Then the reasonable me says... relax, forget about it and let's move on.
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:17 PM
 
10,950 posts, read 6,656,790 times
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I get the feeling that this situation is worse now than it was 30-40-50 years ago. I'm glad I aged out of the system. I don't think there is any way I could work in the corporate world now and survive mentally and emotionally. It was bad enough as it was. I used to say I could write a book after 30+ years in the legal field. I'm talking high-end major corporate stuff in a major city (two, actually). As time went on, I forgot a lot of the things that happened. If I started writing that memoir I would probably start remembering things but why would that be a good thing?

I love what you wrote, HodgePodge: half-donkey. Gave me a laugh.

Oh, and last year I took what I thought was going to be a nice little part time job to make some money in retirement. What a horrible, horrible experience. Big Box Retail. People don't give a mouse's behind. Not even the store manager where I worked until I couldn't take it anymore. He was actually one of the worst but it went right down to the lowest of the low. I was completely shocked how people slack these days. They just don't care. But that's far different than OP who wants to do a good job and be part of something successful and positive. Oh, and I was really p.o.'d that my plans were thwarted by idiots who don't want to do a good job, and a lot of that was actually corporate's fault.

I wonder why companies don't do something about employee morale and productivity inserted of just "getting another body in here." (Something I actually heard an attorney bark at the office manager when his secretary walked out on him in the middle of the day.)
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:19 PM
 
1,657 posts, read 745,865 times
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Good thread. I have some thoughts, but later.

There's a good pair of books somewhat related to this topic, by Mark Manson. Mod cut.

I really like his no-nonsense style of writing and real life scenarios. As soon as I finish the second book I'm going to re-read them both. He has some inspiring videos on Youtube as well.

Last edited by PJSaturn; 10-01-2023 at 07:31 PM.. Reason: Vulgarity; circumventing the language filter.
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:26 PM
 
10,950 posts, read 6,656,790 times
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Thanks for the review. I've been meaning to give those books a look. Also the YouTube vids.

I don't think we should lower our standards or care so little that we do a crap job. I can't even allow myself to do that. Never could. I would do a good job and then go home pleased with myself but not caring whether the company implodes or not because I know I tried my best. I hope that's part of his philosophy.
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Old 09-30-2023, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
11,892 posts, read 8,205,441 times
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OP, you're about the age I was when I realized I had to learn to say to myself, "That's good enough."

I still get haunted by a case of, "You know you could have done more, better, etc."

It's a difficult thing for some personalities to learn.

Maybe rummaging through messages you got from people as a child might help you challenge this belief you've carried so many years?
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Old 10-01-2023, 12:00 AM
 
6,376 posts, read 3,843,638 times
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When it comes to caring... I figure you have to care (or at least pretend to) when you're forced to (assuming that what you're doing isn't actually important, as you say, not that you're something like a trauma surgeon). If it's not important but it matters to your employer and blowing it off means you could lose your job... then care (or, as I said, pretend to). If it's not important *and* nobody will care if you blow it off, then do what you want. It's just that it's unfortunate that for many people, while they may not care personally, their boss cares and thus if they want to remain employed, they play the game.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pathrunner View Post
I would do a good job and then go home pleased with myself but not caring whether the company implodes or not because I know I tried my best. I hope that's part of his philosophy.
Hey, that's fine.

In my job, I have times when I do something knowing it's not going to matter and will be a waste of my time-- I put together some information for my people that they'll never look at, I did a pointless busywork task-- but, I can say I did what I was supposed to do. And hey, if they want to pay me for something pointless, that's up to them. I also have times when I have to do something ridiculous, infuriating, something I shouldn't have to do, etc., but they want it done, so, okay. I don't want to stress about it, but I don't have a choice. (Trust me, I don't stress about anything I'm not required to.)
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Old 10-01-2023, 09:55 AM
 
10,950 posts, read 6,656,790 times
Reputation: 17873
Quote:
Originally Posted by K12144 View Post
When it comes to caring... I figure you have to care (or at least pretend to) when you're forced to (assuming that what you're doing isn't actually important, as you say, not that you're something like a trauma surgeon). If it's not important but it matters to your employer and blowing it off means you could lose your job... then care (or, as I said, pretend to). If it's not important *and* nobody will care if you blow it off, then do what you want. It's just that it's unfortunate that for many people, while they may not care personally, their boss cares and thus if they want to remain employed, they play the game.

In my job, I have times when I do something knowing it's not going to matter and will be a waste of my time-- I put together some information for my people that they'll never look at, I did a pointless busywork task-- but, I can say I did what I was supposed to do. And hey, if they want to pay me for something pointless, that's up to them. I also have times when I have to do something ridiculous, infuriating, something I shouldn't have to do, etc., but they want it done, so, okay. I don't want to stress about it, but I don't have a choice. (Trust me, I don't stress about anything I'm not required to.)
Oh yes, absolutely. Thanks for putting into words what my experience was too much of the time. It's actually universal. Really sad how employment works.

Then there are the people who revise and revise and revise right up until the bike messenger has 5 minutes to get to the San Francisco courthouse (where the court clerks were VERY nasty and held a LOT of power) and it takes 15 minutes to get there! I really don't know how some of those bike messengers did it, but they did. Those "kids" would be in their 50's now, at least - probably 60's. I'd love to hear some of their stories.

The problem is that most jobs are needlessly overly stressful and it severely impacts peoples' lives. I used to wonder why I stayed in it when I actually knew why: the money was good, the work was often interesting, the people were educated (albeit mostly arrogant and often impossible to deal with), and I'd stayed in it too long to easily make a switch. Back when "travel agent" was actually still a job (it no longer is) I wanted to switch. I learned that after costs (childcare, work clothes, lunch and commuting) my net take home would have been $1/hr. And that field was highly stressful too.
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