Are You Happy In Your Job? Neither’s America!

Are you happy at your job?

Think about it – are you really happy doing whatever you’re doing?

Phillip DeFranco’s Youtube video the other set me onto an interesting thing. A social experiment was conducted recently in America and it turns out the American dream ain’t all so accessible for 52% of Americans. That’s how many people were said to be unsatisfied in their job and that the “perks” of working in certain establishments, such as games rooms and massage parlours and free catered meals and casual Thursdays, beer Fridays, health care and dental and whatnot, are not enough to grant them overall satisfaction in their work. 18% said they were “actively disengaged”. Essentially these people are just slumped over their desks, buggering about, pressing a few keys then slipping off for a beer to take the edge of the boredom.

What makes me sad is that only 30% felt their job to be “actively engaging or inspiring“. In a population of millions, in a country apparently busting at the seams with opportunity and preaching happiness and fulfillment and all that overly positive Americanness, such a tiny number of people have actually found that.

What does that say about the productivity of such a vast country? If they can have the amount of influence that they do with only 30% of people actually doing any properly motivated work, can you imagine the madness that would ensue if the other 70% were engaged?? It would either become a world so overrun by sunshine and productivity that the actual sun would feel like an underachiever and find another solar system (assuming of course it isn’t an unmotivated working class American, of course, in which case it would probably just stop shining) or it would be complete carnage! War. Need I say any more? They’re already farting rainbows over there, who’s to say what could happen!

When_The_Sun_Is_Gone_by_artofkerem

Which made me think. This isn’t even the number of people who are not doing the job they want, that dream job that has everything they are looking for in a satisfying occupation – these are just the people who are doing a job, one to get by, get some money, get paid and go home. What of the people who got the dream job – then discovered it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?

I’m under no illusions. In a society so uncertain of its future, life seems to be filled with “just getting by” moments, people doing what they can for money to support themselves and their families – but isn’t that such a crap way to live?? Argue that life is full of winners and losers, people who get what they want and people who don’t and that it all comes down to whoever has the balls to go out and get what they want gets it, but I think that’s a load of bull.

happy accordion player

happy accordion player

That’s like saying those 52% of unhappy people never tried to achieve their dream. Maybe they did. Maybe it just didn’t quite workout. Maybe they wanted to make it as a street accordion player, but unfortunately, the public were more into skater haired street buskers at the time. Gutted for them. Now they sell insurance in a call center.

Forget that – who is to say they’ve even decided what they want to do with their lives and are just trundling along at half speed til they can work it out. I’m 19 and I’m currrently trying to work out what the hell I’m going to do with the rest of my life. There are times when I think “well Gem, you’ve made a royal balls up of your life so far, what are you going to do about it??” Terrifyingly (though not altogether unexpectedly) the general response from that voice in my head is either silence or… “…fuck if I know, you control the legs in this situation, you work it out!” Yeah, coz the voice in my head is extraordinarily rude, by the way. Should probably have a word with it about that actually…

try again! never too late to rock the street XD

try again! never too late to rock the street XD

So now I’m wondering; what can the people represented in that awful stat do about it? Can they do anything? Go back to that accordion and hope the market’s changed? Get a hair cut and conform for the sake of a taste of success? How do you even measure success. I think it’s personal. If you are satisfied then surely that’s a job well done? You might not have millions in the bank, but you will be rich in spirit.

From the sounds of America, this whole appearance of total contentment in life is a facade, a nation wide pass time of pretence and self disillusionment. Maybe they should take a look at a happy busker, an old man and his accordion. A guy who took up the art again after years wasted in a desk job, having given up on the dream of his youth ; chances are there are holes in his shoes and a couple of missing buttons on that old thing, but I’ll bet there’s a smile on his face. Because he’s made it; he’s playing to his audience. Whether they listen or not is irrelevant – that little bugger with the cool hair has gone home… I hear he sells insurance now…

SSDD

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Doing The Things That Scares You

Doing The Things That Scare You…

Not always the simplest of tasks, is it. By their very existence, a thing that scares you isn’t something you’re going to be readily willing to do. The question is; why?

The answer may be, evolution.

By challenging the things out bodies repel we are forcing them into situations they would otherwise avoid entirely. From this, we are growing, adapting, learning. Whether we survive or not is in the hands of our own inherent abilities, or lack there of, and our willingness to defeat the obstacle in front of us.

Defeating an obstacle might not be as simple as whipping out your Samurai sword and slicing and dicing some monster, or calling upon your Knight in Shinning Armour (yes, capitals, why give him a real name if he is robed in shiney things??) to slay a beast in your honour and rescue you and offer you a lifetime of unconditional love in return. Not all things in life can be Disneyfied.

young-samurai-young-samurai-29962820-1024-768

Are you a Samurai, or are you waiting to be saved? …

There are things that scare us that can’t be seen. There are also things that others can see that we can’t, and that can be scary.

Epilepsy-ScotlandFor example, in a couple of days, my friend is going to bungee jump for Epilepsy Scotland . You can’t see epilepsy, but for a lot of people, the threat of a fit is something they carry with them on a daily basis. She is 19 and doing a bungee jump (!!) so help someone else feel less scared. As excited as I know the lucky bitch is (I would LOVE to do a bungee jump and she’s a bit crazy so i know she would too!!) I’m pretty sure she is going to be shitting bricks before it. I am not fooled by your calm and ginger demeanor Lambie, no I am not – I saw the twitch when you told me you were doing it!

That mad nutter on the left is Gillian, the other is me :)

That mad nutter on the left is Gillian, the other is me 🙂

Now for a flattering one... ;)

Now for a flattering one… 😉

Then again, Doing The Thing That Scares you can be so much more. It can be a challenge you have to face every single day. Yet it is a good thing to challenge our fears. Sometimes the mere act of questioning a fear can save your life. To acknowledge that something terrifies you is the first step to defeating it. Otherwise, it’s just a part of your life, a feature that refuses to move, like a stain, ingrained from years of neglect, left to fester til it is indelible and indistinguishable from the rest of you. And who really wants that? Who wants a dirty great mark, marring the colourful, bizarre and wonderful path that is your life?

Living in fear is not way to live. Sure, grey is a colour. But what kind of journey would life be if that was all you saw? There are things that have to be black and white, like your morals, the law and so on, all to avoid chaos and anarchy (not meaning that I don’t support free will or that I’m a communist or a dictator or anything, but I do believe we should live to some degree, under a set of rule – just so long as those rules don’t begin to control you entirely).

control

control

To live in the shadows of something is unnecessary, when the means to defeat the darkness is already available to you. You are the key. Face up to the challenge, face up to the fear. Combat the terror. Hold a spider, look down from the top of the tower, eat that slice of triple chocolate fudge cake.

taken from Sally's Baking Addiction

taken from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Take baby steps. “Once bitten…” isn’t a phrase for no good reason; if the spider bit you the first time, maybe don’t start with the Black Widow. If you once fell from a 20 storey building then (aside from being a medical marvel and quite frankly, a magician) maybe begin with something lower. If you quake at the sight of food, start small, a biscuit here, a sandwich there. Baby steps.

see things from a different perspective...

see things from a different perspective…

Or you could go all Herculean and raise the bar well above your head and not falter. Go from hospital bed, poisoned and ill to Arachnid Master, Spiderman! Not only look down, but leap off the tallest floor (though this time, might I advise a rope, harness, or very large crash mat). It’s medically inadvisable to go from eating nothing to everything at once so that might be silly, but make the change – fat free to full fat (or as I’ve heard it described, “extra moist, rich, decadent, with an honest chocolate taste and a smooth velvety crumb…” “…Death by Chocolate…”) 

My point is – do not let fear rule – or ruin! – your life. People deserve better than that.

 

SSDD

Sympathy For Those (Bleeping) Call Center Operators

Packed Call Center Floor

Does anyone else find those poor souls in call centers irritating?

Well maybe you shouldn’t.

Here’s why… (I can already tell this isn’t going to be popular lol)

So here’s my thinking; maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on them. Sure, hardly a day goes by when the phone doesn’t ring and, sure enough, there will be that long, suspicious pause before the voice answers my “Hello?”. That pause that is just long enough for the penny to drop like a cold pill down my throat. There is no mistaking what it precedes.

When that crackle starts before the voice on the other end calls, just a little too loudly, “H-He…Hello? Hello.” To which I sigh a deep sigh of disappointment and dejectedly continue the pointless exchange with “Yes. Hello. What do you want?” I won’t be the only one who gets annoyed when they wait before replying again. To me this pause is almost as irritating as when a friend or someone you genuinely know calls you and then waits on the other end for you to say something – dude, you called me! What the hell’s with the silence!? – I feel that the ball falls to their court to decide the topic when it is them getting in touch with you, wouldn’t you agree?

Nevertheless. When the pityful connection finally gets through, the result is a forgone conclusion for an experienced cold-call operative – they will either be hung up on or given duggs abuse and then be hung up on. How do they know this? Because they will probably receive the same type of call the moment they get home.

Calls asking if they want double glazing – as if they didn’t already have it; a little hint to call centers, windows are not a new idea, people already have pretty good ones, the technique has been refined quite impressively these last hundred odd years and we tend to not go without them now. Then again, it would be an impressive estate agent who could sell a property lacking them – or a new, overpriced mobile phone with more features than will ever be needed on a contract they’ll be paying til they die.

Forget the whole issue of not agreeing with call centers being placed abroad by big companies to cut down costs – the corporate fat cats have got to find the money for their company funded holiday to the Maldives somehow – that’s a separate issue entirely. That is more a moral dilema.

And you thought you were having a bad day… She just got yelled at by an 85 year old woman!

But consider this. If we all find them so irritating, how do you think those people feel? To know the hate and frustration being blasted at them in waves down thousands of miles of electrical cable, every one of us hoping to fry their brains as efficiently as they are numbing ours while they simply try to do their jobs must be one of the most depressing workplaces it is possible to find! The loathing the recipient feels must be felt ten fold by the unfortunate operative.

This thought came to me when I received a call from what was possibly the most dejected sounding voice I have ever heard in my life. She seemed to take everything I have said here and express it in just her tone. With an utter hate for what she was doing, she had practically hung up before I had.

Sound harsh? That I still hung up on her even though it was clear she hated her job as much as I did?

Well, I hadn’t had this epiphany yet, so in my eyes, she had it coming 😉

The one nights’ experience I have as a phone operator for a charity event was enough to quell my conscience. 😀

So next time you’re getting ready to scream down the live about what a (bleeping) (bleep) that (bleep) who bothered you the minute you got home from work/got in the bath/sat down to dinner/started watching that show you’d been waiting for, think for a second; do you really hate them more than they hate themselves?