So I’ll preface this by saying that I will probably ramble and I have no plans to proofread this. I’m just so overwhelmed and need to vent.
I’m a forklift operator for a beer distributor and last year I made as much as the median family income here in Michigan. Sounds great, right? Sure. It’s allowed me to do a lot off things that I wasn’t able to do in my old position with my company. For instance I got an apartment and moved out of my family’s house. Independence! Hooray! I’ve also gotten out of debt and have been building a savings. I’m probably farther along in life than many of my friends who went to college.
The thing is for everything in my life that is going great I’m just not happy. I find myself wondering how people can be so happy. I’m even starting to develop anxiety and mild depression. I’m smart enough to realize what is going on in my life that is causing these issues but the solution to fixing my problems is beyond my grasp. Well, it feels like a finish line that keeps moving farther and farther away.
Part of the way I made so much money last year was with overtime. I worked 431 hours of overtime last year. That’s almost 9 hours of overtime every week. Doesn’t sound like a lot I guess. 50 hour work weeks. There are plenty of people who juggle multiple part and full time jobs just to get by and work more hours. But maybe just maybe people shouldn’t be working so much just to live life on the 1 or 2 days off per week they get.
We have high unemployment and huge amounts of income inequality. I would give up 15-20 hours per week for someone else to get a job that could support themselves and possibly a family. And yet the guys I work with feel entitled to the 10+ hours of overtime we get each week. Not only do they feel entitled to those hours they don’t work as hard as they should to earn their paycheck.
I strive to be as efficient as possible and the majority of the guys I work with actually try to be less efficient just to get hours. So this means that essentially work shifts from them to me since the work needs to be done and we don’t get to leave until it’s completed. Now I wouldn’t have as big of a problem with this if I could use my work ethic to make it so that I earn more money but… We all earn the same amount and no matter what we do we all get the same pay raise each year.
So I’m left conflicted every day. I either do less work and match their work pace and end up working more hours and making more money or I can work as hard as I can and slowly burn out. Well I can tell you that I’ve done the latter for the nearly 2 years I’ve been in this job and I’m just about at my breaking point.
It has literally been driving me nuts. I spend so much time at work that it’s essentially become my life and I despise it. I hate my life. Even when I’m not working I can’t match the happiness that I envy in so many people. Maybe I’m too smart. They say ignorance is bliss. Honestly, there are days I wish I could get a lobotomy. I’ve contemplated going to a shrink just to be put on meds that would leave me numb to the world.
I refuse to be defeated by life though. I have more value alive than dead. I’m too smart. I’m too compassionate. I’m too ambitious. I’m too good of a person to let this get me down. I care. I care about so much. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one that cares. Having integrity means that I need to do what’s right no matter how hard it is. So while I could fight this battle at my job and try to make things better for everyone I work with I have to realize when it’s time to say enough.
I’m a problem solver and I see my work situation as a problem. But the question I have to ask myself is, “Am I the only one who sees a problem in this situation?” I feel as if I am the only one who has a problem with the situation and that leaves me conflicted. I don’t want to back away from this because I feel like there is a lot wrong but if it’s me against 12 other guys who are happy or relatively happy with their lives than maybe it’s not worth the fight.
I think it’s just time to move on to bigger and better things. I need to figure out where my next chapter in life begins. Does it start with a new position in my company? I really do like the company I work for and I’ve built a lot of equity there. I could see myself growing with them but not in my current job. Do I take steps back in life to try a different path? Go back to school for something that I’m not sure I want to do and hope it pans out in the end. Or do I use the skills I’ve learned and my work experience to take the plunge into a different company?
I know I’m a huge asset to my company and know that I could bring a lot more to it if given the opportunity. The challenge is selling myself to them as such. The few opportunities I could pursue with them require a degree which I don’t have. So unless I can convince them to look past my “lack of education” I don’t have much choice other than leaving and starting over with a new employer.
I have 30+ years left before I could retire assuming I don’t come into a large sum of money and I don’t think I could get through them as unhappy as I am today. I’d probably end up committing suicide if my life continued the way it is going.
Even if no one reads this I feel kinda better just getting this out of my head. This is one of the many things that eats at me every day. I hope soon enough that I’ll be able to smile and laugh again and feel like I’m living up to my potential.