Posted by: joha5 | April 5, 2010

Motivation Malfunction

Spring has sprung.  This is it.  We are in its midst and before you know it summer will be here.  This time of year is one of my absolute favorites.  It isn’t too hot or humid, people are in high spirits now that winter is over, and the ugly brown tones of the detritus left over from the winter begin to give way to that fresh green color that we all know and love.  You would think that all of these things combined would be enough to motivate me to really get out there and work extra hard on networking, applications, and all of that other stuff.  Well, it doesn’t. 

In fact, it is totally the opposite.  Now that it is nice outside it kills me to sit inside when I know that I could be out enjoying the weather, enjoying friends, and enjoying all that spring has to offer.  Where I was content to sit in my house and work throughout the day without a struggle I know find that I have to really do a lot to motivate myself to focus and to work hard.  Now I know that I am not unique in this.  When I had a full-time job I felt the same and I know that the vast majority of my friend’s who do work full-time find it unspeakably frustrating to pass the day inside when the outside world is just beyond the door beckoning for them.  The difference between them and me is that while they cannot escape for obvious reasons (paycheck, job security, personal responsibility, etc.), I can.  Nothing actually is stopping me from walking out the door and going to lunch, nothing actually is stopping me from sitting and reading outside, and nothing is actually stopping me from wasting my time.  But even though the world is my oyster I very rarely take advantage of it.

The grass is always greener on the other side and this is exceptionally true for the unemployed and the employed.  But if there is one thing that I have learned throughout the duration of my unemployment it is this: Unemployment is not a vacation.  Okay, it was for the first few weeks when I was basking in the glow of my leftover vacation pay and catching up on all of the things that I couldn’t do when I was stuck in an office from 9:30am to 6pm.  I don’t quite know when that feeling wore off but I think it was when I realized I wasn’t getting any phone calls for the jobs that I was applying for, when I realized that I was slowly losing my sense of self and independence, and when I realized that finding a job was going to be a lot more difficult than I could ever have expected.  The worst part is that I can barely remember what it was like to have total financial freedom and independence…and having just turned 28, this does not feel good. 

Mix all of these aforementioned ingredients together and you get one giant pot of my extra special ‘Lack o’Motivation Soup!’  When I was a kid I would have thrown in the towel right away.  I would have given up and said to hell with it.  And, to be honest, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t have those thoughts pass through my mind.  But then I remember what it was like to get up and to feel like you have a purpose, when you actually remember the days and they don’t all run into each other, when you feel like there is a reason to celebrate the arrival of the weekend, and when you feel like you are contributing rather than just constantly asking for help or handouts.  This is why I wake up in the morning, sit on my laptop, and do work, work, and more work.  Because as gorgeous as the weather is and as much as I adore this time of year, it will never be able to give me back my self-esteem, independence, and self-worth like a good job will.



  1. I have nothing to add, nor a retraction to suggest or any reason to offer to a retort… not even an attempt at a witty response, except just to say: Amen, unemployed brethren.

  2. Regarding the grass is greener cliche: In the bigger picture of your entire life, there will be both periods of unemployment and employment. Having been at my job for about 2 years now, I feel like I have learned how to enjoy and appreciate my free time at a much greater capacity. My current self wishes he could go back to my unemployed self and show him how to enjoy the freedoms of not living paycheck to paycheck or having to sit in a cubicle for 9 hours a day. My point is this: while unemployed, one should set goals for attaining employment and diligently pursue them, but, also to maximize and fully enjoy the perks of setting your own schedule. CARPE DIEM!

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