Has Your Work Lost its Soul?
Have you ever felt that your job is giving you no joy? This feeling of being ‘stuck in a rut’ is shared by many. In earlier times, people used to feel more closely connected with their place of work. For example, farmers laboured in harmony with the land which they tilled, and fishermen revered and respected the waters which gave them sustenance. For centuries, both felt a profound gratitude to the land and sea which gave them sustenance. The birth of capitalism and mechanisation put an abrupt end to all of this. Nowadays, many workers end up feeling like a cog in a gigantic impersonal wheel of production and commerce. They feel more alienated, and less connected with the product or the service they are being asked to deliver - a far cry from the joy felt by a carpenter gazing tenderly on his latest creation! This is not to say that work is no longer healthy. Far from it. A steady income brings security and stability to our lives. Being of service to others gives us a sense of contribution, a feeling of self-worth and of being of value to the community. Thankfully, many of us are lucky enough to have a job which brings us joy, excitement, and something to look forward to – a sentiment commonly referred to as job satisfaction. However, sometimes work can serve as an escape from unhappy relationships, or a relief from unwelcome family duties – picture an exasperated and highly irritated mother desperate to get away from an excessively demanding child – and when work becomes more enjoyable than home life, it might be a symptom of underlying issues not necessarily related to work. Furthermore, the current economic climate dictates that finding the right job can prove challenging or downright impossible. Some may have little choice but to carry on doing boring, repetitive, or uninspiring work, day after day, sometimes in a hostile environment. If you are feeling trapped in a soulless job with no visible way out, you may be at risk of getting caught in a vicious cycle of resentment and anger directed towards your employer. This can sap your energy and lead to further alienation, numbness and even depression, so it is especially important to start attending to ways of getting your life back on track. One way is to consciously look for an activity that you can enjoy doing outside working hours. Focus on giving energy to this activity, be it a hobby, a family pursuit, or an interest of your choice. This will take your mind off your troubles, whilst training you to leave your work issues behind when you come home. There are many other ways to restore and revive your enjoyment of life. Even a simple act of kindness towards a fellow human being can go a long way towards lifting your spirits in these dark times. If, despite your best efforts, you find that your worries are becoming too overwhelming for you to cope with on your own, keep in mind that you can always reach out for therapy. Talking things through with a qualified therapist may help you to deal with your work-related problems, and to find a more fulfilling and satisfying way of living your life.