Back at work today. Another “typical” Monday, as if such a thing truly exists. I just cannot seem to get in the swing of things today, and the day is half over already.
It’s not because I had a little too much party in my weekend, it’s not a daylight savings glitch. Nothing bad has happened here today, in fact it’s been pretty smooth, all things considered. I think it’s simply a case of burnout.
I’ve been working in senior living facilities for 15 years now. This is my 3rd CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) in that time, and I think I’ve just had enough.
I fell ass-backward into this industry, due to a really aggressive recruiter that simply would not take no for an answer, and at the time it seemed like a good opportunity. And it was. That first community was great. Ownership was good, the residents for the most part were nice, I had an AMAZING crew and the icing on top was that the facility was only 0.6 miles from home, so I was able to walk to work for 6 years, and it was fantastic. It was another recruiting experience that got me to jump ship to a new facility. Within a week I knew beyond all reasonable doubt that I’d made a HUGE mistake changing jobs, but I was determined to make the best out of it and I stuck it out for 5 long, grueling years at the most repulsive, toxic workplace I’ve ever encountered. It wasn’t all bad, I did learn some extremely valuable lessons working there, I made a couple friends and I made some excellent contacts there, but the overall experience was beyond negative. When I got to my literal breaking point, that very same day I got a notification about an opening for my exact job at a place revered amongst senior care facilities. The absolute Pinnacle of the industry. And I got the gig!
It took quite a while to become dissallusioned with the new place. After a few months I felt, not quite “tricked”, but certainly the victim of lies-of-ommission. I was lead to believe this place was a fine-tuned machine, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Well, that turned out to be about 20% true. The OTHER 80% was up to me to figure out and put in place.
Now here I am, just having had my four year anniversary last month, and I feel I have completely, utterly lost my taste for the work on pretty much every level.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not simply a case of being ungrateful. This job has been pretty much the ONLY time in my entire adult life that I’ve been financially “secure”. I do have some really nice, talented people working for me and I’ve been able to promote some really deserving staff into higher levels, which is rewarding in its own way. I’ve learned a lot here, and the experience isn’t without some positive moments.
The problem is I really just don’t care anymore. I’ve got a staggering, debilitating case of indifference, and it’s making it hard to function effectively.
Changing jobs is a stressful situation, not to mention the whole “interview process”. I’m not in any hurry to jump into that can of worms. But I’ve got another 2 decades to go before “retirement”, which in my case will likely just simply be dropping dead, as the entirety of my *wealth, and thus retirement evaporated in the DotCom crash many years ago, never to be restored.
The thing is, I don’t have any sort of objection to working. With the exception of a prolonged stretch of unemployment during the same DotCom crash era mentioned above, I’ve been holding down jobs since I was 14. Even younger if you count the newspaper delivery routes I did as a kid.
When I worked as a tradesman, you’d have moments where you could stand back and say “yeah, I BUILT THAT!”, or “I FIXED THAT”, or what have you. There were moments of pride, of feeling accomplished. Something untangible… the feeling of turning raw materials into a finished, useful product, made you feel GOOD. Being productive is good for you mentally. Solving “real world” problems that are literally sitting on the bench right in front of you gives you that dopamine rush everyone is trying to glean from FB and IG…
But now? Now my days consist of 70+ emails a day, at least dozen phone calls a day, countless meetings and conversations about everything and nothing simultaneously. It’s exhausting, and yet at the end of the day, on MOST days, I find myself wondering “what did I do today?”. Oh, I assigned, I delegated, I sorted out, I circled back…I do all sorts of stuff, all day long. But really, I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything, just spinning my wheels, keeping the wheels of this places from coming off.
I don’t think this is what life is supposed to be like. As a middle-aged, “CIS-gendered” paleface without a college degree, I don’t have a lot of options open to me. I just simply cannot continue to do this for another 20 years. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, but it sure ain’t this!
Can one actually DIE from BOREDOM? Asking for a friend…
Thanks for reading!
2 thoughts on “As the hamster wheel turns…”
Sorry, nothing witty or wise to add. Just wanted to say, darn fine article, good sir.
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Thank you for that. It means a lot to me coming from such a prolific writer, such as yourself!