Good evening, friends and neighbors.You know it’s really easy to get lost?
At the moment, I’m staring out the window of (surprise surprise) a bar, looking out into the drizzling night of Portland. I just watched my waiter take- and I’m not kidding- a full 45 seconds to pour my beer into a glass.
The week was a trying one, and I do love my Thursday nights. I found a spiritual successor, if not psuedo-doppelgänger, to one of my favorite sit-down-and-blog pubs, but was politely hurried out as the dinner crowd came in. I completely get it- they couldn’t really hold a two-top for some writer shmuck that wasn’t expecting to drink anymore. I don’t bear them any grudge and will likely be back soon.
Anyway, I’m sitting here- nursing my carefully poured beer- and staring out the window, my back to the hub-bub of the crowded bar enjoying their Thursday night. I am struck momentarily about how this is a strange allegory for the life I live: Thursday’s are Saturdays. 3 am is wake-up call. 2pm is quitting time. Almost all of my work is for a time at least 1 day in the future- for most things, baking them the same day is ludicrous.
Why this weltschmerz? I chose this life. I chose this day, and it was a good one- I donated money to a good cause. I got some tasty snacks from local businesses, and was even offered a part-time job at a haberdasher solely because of my dapperness and hat-based knowledge (hey, if baking doesn’t shake out in the long run?)
I visited my tattoo artist and caught up briefly, enjoyed fine food and drink at home and out, and spent some quality time with the girl I’m going to marry.
All told, any bitching right now would rightly be immature and wasteful- but this week was an extremely annoying week.
Yes, it does have something to do with my work. No, I am NOT going to rant about that crap on here
Instead, I’m going back to the beginning of this post- it’s really easy to get lost.
Obviously in a new PHYSICAL place- for a traveler, that’s sometimes one of the best things you can do.
Along your career, however, it’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s really easy to get so frustrated and exhausted that you forget what started you down this road. As much as I write about passion, discipline, the hunger for learning, and all the other things that will turn a student into a pro and keep them in the game, these things sometimes fail. Sometimes you get so pissed and aggravated and tired that you worry whether or not this was a good idea. Whether the service industry was a good choice, and whether any other doors are still open. You wonder whether or not you should just quit.
Sometimes, you have a really bad week.
If you ever figure out how to NOT have this happen, please tell me how. All I can say is how to hang on when it happens. I try to veer away from greeting-card wisdom and memetic quotes, but hey- the guys who write those things make money for a reason.
So Your Day Sucked, Your Life Sucks, And You Want Out
That’s all. Don’t do anything rash or stupid. Don’t do ANYTHING. Stop for a moment, breathe, and think.
Find whatever it is that relaxes you and do it. Read a book. Play a video game. Go for a run. Put some time in with a punching bag. Go out to your local and don’t talk to anyone, just be by yourself awhile. Or grab a group of friends and bullshit the night away. Whatever relaxes you, do it.
NOW talk to someone. Anyone. Someone in the industry is great, but anyone who you know will listen without judgement. Problems have a way of shrinking and straightening when you need to explain them to someone that wasn’t there. Don’t lie, don’t bullshit, don’t play victim. Tell it like it is.
After your talk, things should be a little clearer- are you burned out? Are you sleep-deprived? Will things probably be much better after you get some grub in you? Or maybe it’s long-standing, or a more serious problem- harassment at work, stress, or workplace drama. Now that things are straight, think about what you can do.
5. Wait, or Act.
If it’s something serious, do something about it. Report it, handle it, or find another job- unemployment is NOT worse than living in constant fear.
If it’s not serious, wait, and put your plan into motion. Get more sleep. Change your lifestyle. Discuss the problem with your boss. Look at #1 again- don’t do anything rash or stupid.
And always remember: a bad day doesn’t mean a bad week, and a bad week isn’t a bad life. It may have taken just one thing to send you into this slump- waiting can show you the one good thing it’ll take to pull you out.
Just a little dime-store advice from someone that’s been there now and again, and knows that as bad as things can feel, they aren’t so bad after a meal, a drink and an honest chat.