The Stakes Have Never Been So Low


This blog is penance for my shoddy career in HR, and your pain and sadness cause sympathetic aches in my heart.

I looked for comfort on the internet. I found a quote from Saint Ignatius:

The safest and most suitable form of penance seems to be that which causes pain in the flesh but does not penetrate to the bones, that is, which causes suffering but not sickness.

That is exactly how I feel when I read your messages about work. I get it. Work is killing you. And it kills me when it kills you. I am really sorry.

But I still believe that a job is just a job. And I want you to take comfort in something I heard on NPR. I listened to a story called You Can’t See It, But You’ll Be A Different Person In 10 Years.

In short?

  • Humans can’t predict their own futures.
  • You can’t see yourself evolve past the place you are now.
  • And you don’t have a clue about your future.

This story gave me hope about life, work and relationships.

Just because something feels broken doesn’t mean that it is really broken. Just because life is depressing doesn’t mean that it will be depressing forever.

  • You took a shitty job to feed your family? Good for you. That job won’t last forever.
  • Your evil nemesis at work is driving you nuts? That person might become your best friend.
  • Does your career feel over? Are the best days behind you? It might just be beginning.

You have no idea.

I’m not an advice columnist, but if I were, I would tell you that you have no idea how your life will unfold. You may be 100% happier in a few years. You might have more friends and a more fulfilling career. You might meet someone new at work who will change your life.

You just can’t see it.

Before you write a letter about your evil coworker or your crummy boss, remember that the stakes have never been so low. That colleague you hate? You probably won’t remember that person’s name in a decade. That project that is sucking the life out of you? It doesn’t have to matter. In fact, it probably won’t.

In another ten years, you will probably have a whole different life with a whole different set of problems — good and bad.

I would start getting ready for the next decade of your life.

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