Is your job a source of major stress? If so, try to remember that it’s temporary. Right now it may seem like everything. You spend 8 to 12 hours on it five to seven days each week. It pays all your bills, it consumes all your time and all your thoughts. It’s the source of all your stress and maybe the source of most of your unhappiness. It’s important to remember that it’s just one of many jobs you’ll have, and you’ll only ever have one body. Jobs are temporary, bodies are permanent.
Jobs Are Temporary
It might seem all-consuming and overwhelming.
Right now, but…
Your Job is Temporary
It’s just one job, a temporary assignment. Sometime in next few months to few years, you’ll find a new job, retire, quit, get fired, or maybe get downsized. Unless–well, you know.
Your body and your brain, though. They’re the only ones you’ll ever have.
What’s Going to Happen After This Job?
Regardless of the method by which you leave it, there is going to be a time after your job. That time might be your retirement, it might be your next job, a hiatus, maybe the time you’re searching for a new job after you quit, get laid off or get fired.
Think about that time, because in a few months to several years it will be that time.
It will eventually be the time after this job.
Think about what kind of life you want during that time. Think about how active, mobile, energetic and creative you’ll want to be. Or need to be.
You might still need to earn money after this job. You need to protect your means to solve problems and create. You may want to travel and play with your kids after this job, so you need to protect your ability to walk, run and play.
You need to protect your means to earn a living after this job.
Are you going to sacrifice the one body and one brain you’ll ever have for something temporary?
“You need to protect your means to earn a living after this job.”
Humans are the only animals that can plan for their future.
That’s where the hope is. That’s where what we’re working for is. We’re putting ourselves through this stress for the now at the cost of our future. Happiness is presence for now and presents for later.
Yet something about a bad situation turns off that skill to plan for the future.
SPOILER ALERT: It’s cortisol.
Cortisol turns on the parts of the brain and body we need to fight, run and react. It turns off the parts of the brain that we need to learn, create and make good decisions.
We need to work in time now–in the present–to use that part of the brain that plans for the future.
Part of planning and working for a good future is taking good care of yourself now. My friend Danielle Bernock recently posted a series of blog posts on self-care.
Btw, I wrote one of them! 5 Ways Adventure Ensures Self-Care.
Cortisol Isn’t Bad
Cortisol is like water. It’s good when used properly, but what happens to your lawn if you overwater it? It kills the roots. It drowns the roots in the very substance that should protect and nourish them.
Not only does it have long term effects on the parts of the brain that you’ll need later to think in the abstract and to make decisions, but it hinders your ability to think creatively and make good decisions now.
Bodies Are Permanent
Your body is full-time and permanent.
All that time you spend sitting hunched over the screen with your hand moving the mouse takes its toll on your body. Your muscles are shrinking, weakening and getting tighter. Your bones are losing density. You’re slowly losing your ability to move and to balance. Do you want your future self to have to wear one of those “Fall risk” stickers?
That junk food you grab from the vending machine because you don’t think you have time to get nutritious meals.
That’s taking its toll on your well-being. Do you want to have to work to pay for a bunch of prescriptions to keep you going so you can work to pay for your subscriptions?
Wake up, Nero.
You’ll want to be healthy, energetic and alert after this job. You’ll want to spend money on amazing travel, cool new gadgets and the world’s best wine or coffee, not on pharmaceuticals.
Yes, I am being extra dramatic and dramatizing this. It’s what I enjoy. It’s not far off though. There’ll be a continuum of effects. They’ll be more severe for some than others.
But don’t you want to think ahead to your future self. Don’t you want your future self to be thankful to your current self for maintaining perspective and priorities?
I say it too much because I see it too much
I see it too often, people just abusing their bodies and minds for a job they don’t even like. Or maybe for a job they do like. Every morning during the time I schedule for email, I see emails people sent at 1:00 in the morning because they were up late working, skimping on precious sleep.
Those are some future selves that are gonna be, “What the hell, past self!?! I can’t even walk from the entrance to the butterbeer cart at Universal.”
When it could be “Thank you, past self. I’m hitting these sweet waves.”
I think your future self might be thankful for a little bit of current self-dramatization.
10 thoughts on “Jobs Are Temporary, Bodies Are Permanent”
I don’t like cortisol, it gives me that midsection that won’t go away (ugh), but I like your explanation just fine. Shout if you want to guest post!
@disqus_sXEtRJjfmx:disqus, Thanks for reading! Have you read Jillian Michaels’ “Master Your Metabolism?” As long as you don’t have extra receptors, that cortisol’s all right. :) Maybe I should say, “Cortisol isn’t all bad.”
I do want to guest post! I’ll think of something. I’d love to feature more guest posts too, especially you and @daniellebernock:disqus.
It’s on!!!!! Love it!
*shouting* I want to guest post toooooooo!!!!!!!!
@megkonovska:disqus I am about to ask you for a GOYA guest post. A GGP!
Yes, Meg! We can work that out in a “just how cool is that” sort of way! ;-)
Wise words, my friend. Reminds me of a line I heard on a TV program recently that stuck with me. The character was getting on his friend’s case about working too hard. He said “Just make sure that what you gain is worth what you sacrifice.”
Thanks for the shout out on my self-care series too.
Thank you, Danielle. I see it every day. They wear it almost like a badge of honor, “I can’t take care of myself because my job needs me too much.”
One more health and self-care advocate! <3 Good to see we're growing :) High five!