I feel trapped. I feel caged by my own fear and circumstance. I hate it. I hate feeling this way. It stops me from enjoying my life as it forces me to focus on the bars that surround me.
I hate my job. Not dislike it, find it inconvenient sometimes, or simply irks me; I hate it. I hate the way we are treated; I hate the way the system is structured; I hate the way there is no accountability at a higher level; I hate the way we are given problems and expected to solve them with no support. I hate the feeling of being alone. I hate the way it makes me put the job first before myself and my family. I hate waking up in the morning and knowing it’s a work day. Even worse, I hate the fact that even though I’m on holiday work is still only ever a phone call away from ruining my day, there is no escape. I hate the lack of certainty, the constant impending feeling of doom. The ambiguousness. The toxicity in its leadership. And above all, the feeling that I cannot leave.
I’m caught in an economic and pragmatic cage that suggests I’d be so much better off sticking with it for a few years longer, than leaving. The rewards for persisting far outweigh the benefits for leaving.
Many times I’ve been told that if I don’t like it, I should just leave. Yes, leaving is very easy. It doesn’t take much to leave. I’ve done it once before. I failed miserably. It’s this crutch that holds me back from doing it again, and I have so much more to lose now.
If I were single, with no family, I’d leave in a heartbeat. But I’m not. I have my family. If I’m honest, I resent myself and them for being in this situation. My wife’s earning potential – and limited hours due to childcare – mean that I need to keep going, I feel I have to do it. My wife worries about money now, could you imagine if I cut our income by half over night?
But this is all smoke and mirrors. The real reason I don’t leave is I’m afraid. This is all I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever done and if I went into something else I’d always convince myself that I’d need to start at the bottom and I can’t afford to do that. Pensions, mortgages, savings, schooling, cost of retraining; they’re all bars on my cage of fear that traps me and prevents me from escaping to do what I would like to do.
I hate feeling this way, but for what seems like the longest time, I’ve known no different. I make do, I have to. Financially we’re safe, emotionally I’m damaging myself with each passing day. Is that my price for providing for the family?
I know that only a small number of people are fortunate enough to do what they love for a living. The majority of us float in an air of passivity biding our time until we hit retirement and then complaining that we’ve wasted our lives. It’s a paradox. I’m wasting my life, but what if this is the best life has to offer?
Whenever I feel this way, a voice of reason and logic pacifies me to a degree. “Have you seen the cost of annuities? Your pension is fine if you can just make it 9 more years.” – “When you retire from this, you’ll have almost 25 years before you can draw state pension, plenty of time to do what you actually enjoy doing.” – “I know you’re unhappy, but who truly is when they’re working?”
I hate him.
Every time I think I’m brave enough to take the leap of faith that I can do better, I can be better, his voice convinces me that the rut I’m in is the best place for me.
Needless to say I’m probably being dramatic. Despite being on holiday, I’ve just taken a phone call from work that has tested my resolve and patience. I’m writing from an emotional place and emotion loves drama, so who am I to quash it. Give me a day, and a long chat with the voice of reason and I’ll go back to toeing the line and mindlessly trudging forward to retirement, one slow and heavy day at a time.