The alarm went off at 5:30am.
I stubbornly snoozed for another half hour. I did this so frequently. I had fallen into the habit of setting my alarm clock to go off 30 minutes before I had to be up. After all, isn’t the average amount of time anyone needs to sleep just “5 more minutes”?
I snuggled under the warm sheets for 5 extra seconds, hoping the heat would somehow stay with me when I peeled the covers back. I was wrong. It was a cold morning in southern Connecticut and the room was freezing. I forced myself to slide one leg then the other to the edge of the bed and let my feet fall dangerously close to the cold hardwood floor. I took a deep breath and took the plunge.
I sprint to the shower and bask in the warmth, probably 2 minutes too long (I’m scalded). My attempt and finding something “uplifting” on Pandora to start my day is marginally successful. Thank goodness for Macklemore. The rest of the morning is completed with military-level precision.
Frozen veggies on the stove. Run to bathroom to dry hair. Remove veggies and replace with 2 eggs. Run to the bedroom and get dressed. Remove eggs, mix with veggies, and place in a to-go container. Do makeup and make sure hair is dry enough not to freeze when I step outside. Gather lunch and second lunch from the fridge. Make coffee. Fill water. Walk run to the car and drive the 4 minutes to the office.
It’s now 6:45am.
My route through the office follows the usual steps: Park on the 5th floor. Walk up to the 6th. Pass the fridge and stash my lunch and second lunch (when your work day is 12 hours, you need more than one lunch). Pick up a copy of the Journal. Navigate to my desk and put on my real shoes. Open Bloomberg, email, spreadsheets, market update, the Gartman, and yesterday’s trade information.
The morning meeting starts at 7:30am. The traders go around their room with their axes (financial term, not Viking weapons). The analysts pitch a new credit. The sales people take notes. The meeting is over no later than 8:30am so we can catch the opening bell. Then it’s off to the races.
Trades come in. Trades go out. Phone calls are made and received. Adult language is exchanged. If it’s an exciting day, maybe someone will throw something.
It’s not an exciting day.
Lunch comes and goes. Second lunch does the same. The day wraps up around 6 or 7pm. We pack up and go our respective ways. My work shoes are left behind for the following day.
Two and half years went by in the blink of an eye. Each day, day in and day out, went the exact same way.
Lunch at the desk.
Pray you don’t screw something up.
Rinse and repeat.
For two and a half years, I lived my own personal version of the movie Groundhog Day. Every night, I would go to sleep hoping the next day would be different. Every day I was disappointed. Just the same excruciating loop with no end in sight.
Have you ever had a job that felt like this?
Maybe that’s what it feels like right now …
Sleep is a welcome sight because of the exhaustion of a day spent pretending you like where you are. But the trouble is, there’s no relief in waking up. Then the slippery slope starts to happen. Avoiding sleep turns to drinking. Drinking turns to harder stuff. The struggle to sleep turns to medicine, or my personal favorite, NyQuil addictions.
And the worst part is that even though every part of you wants to run out of the office double doors screaming for your freedom, you’re just too tired to make that big of a change. And way too tired to make the small changes you could make to find your next career move. You settle for hoping desperately that something outside of your control will change your circumstances.
Then, it’s 5:30am and the alarm’s going off.
If you’re lucky enough to have no earthly idea what I’m talking about, then kudos to you. You’ve found something you love doing, and I hope you spend your life dedicated to making the world a better place by doing that particular thing. But if you know (all too well) exactly what it feels like to be stuck in a never-ending loop of career suckage, then this one’s for you.
I’m here to tell you that it can (and does!) get better.
Me, and my clients, are living proof that it can (and will!) get better.
But you have to actually DO SOMETHING in order to get there.
Come check out this week’s video about how you can make the most of your own personal career Groundhog Day. There, I talk about my three favorite ways to grow where you’re planted even if you hate everything about the pot, the soil, and the plants growing around you. These strategies improved my life at work drastically, and I know they will help you, too!
Ultimately, I want you to get out of this negative loop and find work you love. But until then, these tactics can get you out of your funk and on your way to career satisfaction.