I haven’t even finished the first exercise and already I’m in tears

Happy Hour is 9 to 5Along with my book Happy Hour is 9 to 5 (which you can buy here or read for free here) I released a workbook with an accompanying set of exercises.

A while back one reader downloaded the workbook, tried the exercises and wrote this comment:

I happened upon your site today but feel absolutely compelled to write you. I read your site for about 2 hours today. I don’t even know where to begin…I worked in a field I loved for years. Started a family and then money became the driver. That has been the worst mistake of my life. I went from a field I loved to the exact opposite just to chase the bigger dollars.

My current field is terribly stressful…I have gained over 100 lbs. and now suffer from insomnia, headaches, and extreme fatigue. All along I thought it was due to the stress of this job (this is my 3rd one in this field with the same stress/frustration) but now I realize through doing the activity in your workbook that it is not this “job” but the career field as a whole. It is an awful fit…I’m a creative/writing/social type and now work in accounting with nothing but numbers all day.

I haven’t even finished the first exercise and already I’m in tears realizing that I have got to give up this job. I can make a decent income in my preferred field but have let fear (of failure and maybe success too) and loss of money (worried to death about not being able to help provide for my family) keep me trapped for literally 6 years.

I am not even 33 yet…but I suffer from all sorts of stress related illnesses, don’t go out with my girlfriends, or even enjoy hobbies anymore…just because I traded a great career for money. Your workbook has encouraged me to make this transition my top career goal. Thank you for making this resource available you have literally helped save my life!

BTW, the most profound thing I learned in the very first exercise is that I used to take better care of myself when my work was more in-line with my personal values. I never connected those dots before!

I think that is a profound insight: That we take better care of ourselves when we are happy.

It also got me to thinking that the great fallacy in all health-, diet- and weight loss programs may be the very idea that if I eat right, exercise and lose weight then I will be happy, when in fact it may be the other way around: If I become happy, I will treat myself better and have the energy to eat well and exercise.

Have you noticed this in yourself?

7 thoughts on “I haven’t even finished the first exercise and already I’m in tears”

  1. Maybe it works both ways. Maybe some exercise can make you a little more happy and perhaps being happy can give you the strength you need to go out and run.

    I like the idea of pouring energy into both sides of the equation to keep the virtuous cycle going!

  2. I’m sort of the same situation as the person who wrote you, as I just stumbled onto your blog. I found when I was happier in my work, I made the time to take care of myself, went out with friends and basically had a life.

    With my last position, I found that I didn’t have the energy to do anything once I left work. I kept up with one activity but that was due to my responsibilities. Work had an adverse effect on my health, both physical and mental.

  3. yes, i have experienced problems in taking care of myself while at the bad job i’m trying to get out of along with drain after a difficult commute…

    it canbe hard to fight that drain =-(

  4. I totally agree.. I am in job right now that I like, but not so much the culture or the environment amongst other things & I can see how it has affected by health. Even I have put on a lot of weight, have become overly sensitive and can burst into tears at the slightest provocation. This was not me a year back.

  5. DC: It absolutely works both ways – exercise is a huge part of my life and when I can’t (ie. when I’m sick or too busy) my happiness takes a hit.

    HM: Yeah, that is how it works – I’ve been there myself.

    Monica: Yes – let’s not forget the commute which can be stressful in itself. And thanks for the kind words :o)

    tanveer: That is a bad situation. Is there anything you can do to become happy in the job you have?

  6. When my job stresses me out I exercise more, it helps relieve tension and it helps me clear my head at the end of the day.

  7. I definitely think it’s a reciprocal equation. Exercise can help relieve stress, but it can’t turn a bad job into a fulfilling one. Likewise, doing what you love will improve your sleep, which helps your mood, and yes, you take better care of yourself.

    Does anyone else feel like these epiphanies are taking hold across the world? Or am I just more interested in them, since I am going through one myself? I really wonder if the corporate world is about to get a big wake up call when their workers revolt and flock to the traditionally underpaying, more enjoyable career fields.


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