By Rachel Wong
It happened without warning. I woke up one day and stared at my ceiling for a few minutes, not wanting to move. How did it happen? It just seemed like yesterday that I would jump out of bed, excited for what a new day at work would bring. Without realizing it, I had become one of those people who dragged their feet in the morning.
Granted, I was never a morning person, but the excitement of a new job, much like a new relationship, can put quite the pep in one’s step.
And then, one day, I was dreading the minute I had to get up, not looking forward to it. What happened to my passion?
I was fortunate enough to have had parents who had the stability of one or two jobs over the entire course of my life. And, lying in bed that morning, I wondered how they did it.
As a recent post-grad millennial, I do not have to worry about many things. My education is taken care of, my family is nearby if I ever needed anything or if I fell ill, I have a job that meets my needs of flexibility and decent pay. The only thing I had to truly depend on myself for are my credit card bills.
There is no metaphoric stick. No rent that I have to pay (thanks, Mom and Dad), groceries to buy (again, thanks!), no giant pile of debt I have to worry about paying off.
To be frank, there’s no sense of urgency. Perhaps that is how many “boomerang kids” end up staying back with their parents. It’s helpful to not have to worry about when the next paycheck would come in, or if you’re saving up enough money in case your company gets a reduced budget next year and can’t afford to keep you on.
My boyfriend, who works in the hospitality business, worked for quite a few years at places with fair shares of – shall we say – difficult people and long hours. On even the longer days, he recounted falling face-down on his bed and falling asleep, only to wake up in his work clothes and having to do it all over again. After not feeling this sense of dreading work go away, I asked him how he dealt with job fatigue.
“I like eating,” he told me. “And I have other obligations that I need money for. Sometimes you making a living is just choosing the least worst scenario.”
“So, how do you actually deal with it?”
“You just push through it and it’ll fade.”
Needless to say, I was a bit miffed at his response. Was it really that simple? I didn’t want to be one of those people who were stuck in a job that they dreaded going to, to go to a job just because it paid the bills.
But perhaps it is that simple.
In retrospect, the first day I begrudgingly got out of bed to go to work was after a few rough days of work. I already had 40 hours clocked in within a matter of 3 days, due to being in charge of most of the behind the scenes tasks for an event at work. My body and mind were tired. And my moods dip most when I’m tired, as many people I know.
Being dead tired aside, I enjoyed working at a company where I’m valued, where I am given tasks that aren’t just busy work, where I have some flexibility over when I work, and more.
In less than glamorous terms, it was the “least worst scenario”. In fact, the majority of the time I saw it as quite a wonderful scenario: to be able to work at a part-time job where I make enough pocket money, to know that my work would understand if I have priorities with my school work.
Something that I recommend to my friends, when mentioning similar experiences, is to take a “you” day. Most of us try to save our days off for vacation travels away or holidays, but those days can be just as stressful as when you’re working, if not more. With family and the stress of planning, it may seem that we can never relax.
Therefore, after a particularly busy season, I take a day or two off as a “personal day”, a day where I’d do nothing but eat, sleep, and may catch up on minor chores around the house. Some may feel guilting about this, but rest days can actually make your productivity even better, once you go back to work.
Ultimately, that is when job fatigue fades, when the benefits and joys of the work comes into the foreground. It’s when one realizes that, hey, I am good at this. I can do this.