Misery is an infectious disease. I once worked at a company in which everyone (quite literally everyone below C-suite) was miserable. No matter the department across the board we were all severely underpaid. There was a huge cognitive dissonance between mid-level management and upper management and it consistently left us chasing our tails.
I complained every day.
And my complaints quickly broke the ice between myself and other members within the company. I would get invited out for coffee, lunch, happy hour, you name it! I had an invite and I began to feel like some kind of office celebrity.
However, the constant complaints began to affect me cognitively. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I would get my paid stub and think to myself, “is this really what I’m worth?” I began seeing a therapist and soon my entire sessions were circled around how miserable I was at my work. Every fucking session.
I began to get tired of complaining. Tired of my own negative outlook on myself…my life. Tired of these disrespectful checks hitting my bank account. I wanted more for myself.
It was fear that was holding me back. Fear of looking “less than” successful to some of my peers. Fear of living in one of the most expensive cities, New York City, without a steady paycheck or healthcare. This fear had paralyzed me and kept me miserable day in and day out.
I wonder how many of us work jobs we hate because we are fearful of what would happen if we walked away? I hear stories of the Amazon and Disney employees and I am shocked people still willing work for and patron companies that treat their employees so terribly.
People love misery because it makes them feel as if their lives aren’t “that bad” in comparison. When I finally had the courage to bet on myself and to leave my misery behind the invitations slowed. I would get invited to a party here or there but strangely the people who couldn’t get enough of my time suddenly didn’t want anything to do with me. Then I realized, I was happy and moving forward with my life and they were still in the same place. They didn’t want to hear about the new projects I was working on, or about my days spent smoking weed and day drinking with my friends who were living the same freelance lifestyle.
My misery had subsided and I was happy for the first time in two years!
Someone once said, “Burn bridges that lead back to your old way of living.” Butterflies don’t hang around caterpillars my loves. Keep changing. Keep evolving and don’t let anyone (including yourself!) get in the way of your happiness.
When you change, your circle will also change. It’s that’s ok. In fact, it’s totally necessary.