The Pit

Aug 28, 2015 by

          One of the things I really like about my job is that it’s low stress. Hence why I was surprised to hear some of my coworkers relaying work nightmares last month as we sat around the office chatting. I forgot about work nightmares. I haven’t had one since Corporate Hell on Earth, when my job was literally all I ever did, even in my dreams. I was so stressed about work that I’d wake up in the middle of the night, panicking that my staff called in sick again or I missed a client’s call or I wasn’t at a marketing execution that I was expected to be at. One night, close to the end of my time there, I woke up at 4 am so convinced I had slept through an event I was coordinating that my roommate had to physically stop me from getting into my car to drive to it. But because it’s been years since I’ve had a work nightmare, I forgot that other people do. And because I see my current job as so low stress, it didn’t occur to me that some of my coworkers are amongst those people.

          “I think you have a very exciting outlook on life,” one of my coworkers said to me later in July, during our team trip to Niagara.

          “Thank you!” I replied, complimented but not really sure where he was going with that statement.

          “You have a very happy perspective,” he continued. “I think that’s why you don’t get stressed about work.”

          It was an excellent point. After all, stress is mental strain that we place on ourselves. We can choose to worry or not to worry. My job is low stress because I perceive it to be low stress. My job at Corporate Hell on Earth was high stress because I let it be my life, making it all consuming. Since leaving, my perspective on work and life has vastly changed. My priority is my happiness, so that’s where my mental focus lies. I don’t think about work outside of work, because why would I? I have a beautiful life to live. I also don’t stress about work while at work, because – again – why would I? I like where I work and I have work-life balance. I’m not overworked because I don’t take on projects beyond what I have capacity to finish during the workday. Essentially, I don’t stress about work because I don’t live in the pit.

          The other day, a friend of mine drew a simple diagram of an avocado. It was essentially a small circle within an oval: a pit within its fruit.

          “The pit represents the things in life that we need to survive . . .” she explained.

          My mind immediately went to happiness, friendships, novelty, excitement, etc.

          “ . . . like work, rent, and bills,” she continued.

          “Oh, you mean society’s definition of survival,” I commented. “When I think survival needs, I think of things like relationships and travel.”

          “You’re already living in the fruit,” she said.

          The fruit is life beyond its basic requirements. It’s our passions and interests and connections with people. It’s the things that fulfill us.

          “So many people stay in the pit,” my friend noted. “So many people spend their whole lives there, never moving into the fruit.”

Happiness Tip: Live in the fruit.

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