Each week contains 168 hours.  Most jobs require you spend 40 of those hours working.  My profession typically requires more than that, maybe 50 or 60.  That is one-third of my life.  And when I am at work, I tend to be aware of every minute ticking by.

I wasn’t always this way.  When I got my first real job I was giddy about going to work every day.  To be fair, I kicked off my post-graduation career with ten months of unemployment.  I suppose I was bound to be giddy.  But it was more than that.  I thought I had found something truly meaningful.  I thought that I was helping people.

I went to work, I went to the gym, I hiked, I met people for drinks, I dated – life was okay.  But after a while I started spending more hours at work.  I couldn’t commit to weekend plans anymore.  Holiday travel plans were only kept for major holidays, and then only if the plane ticket had been purchased months in advance.  And then I injured my knees.  And then my back.  I started catching every minor ailment going around.  I couldn’t hike or work out anymore.  But I kept going.  My plan was to enjoy the city for a few years and then move home.

It sounds stupid, but I also thought my ex and I would find a way to work things out, so I would be moving home to be with him.  We loved each other, and even after a year of not seeing each other he said he would still be there for me.  But then one day he wasn’t. And when I realized I wouldn’t be moving home for him I had to take a look at the life I was living for me.

I hated it.  I didn’t want my job.  I wasn’t helping people.  I was moving around piles of money.  I didn’t take pride in my work anymore.  And the work environment was the stressor making me susceptible to all of my minor ailments.  It turned out the only thing keeping me there was the pay, which I thought I needed to make the moving home / joyous reunion happen.  Overnight I realized my entire life needed an overhaul.

As a short-term solution I went part-time.  I was still working 50 hour weeks, so I returned to full-time pay.  Then I ended up taking a lot of sick time, and eventually I stopped coming to work, or was told to just go home when I did.  After a short-term leave I quit and completely changed jobs.  Then I moved and went back to a position related to the one I had hated.  Now, I’m trying to figure out what I can do to make my 40 hour work week more enjoyable.

It would be nice to find employment that justifies my student loans.  More importantly, I want to find a job that lets me pay off the loans while doing something that is interesting.  That has been the hard part.  Lately, nothing seems interesting for very long.

Certain people have been interesting, and so have certain hobbies.  I keep hoping that if I pursue those interesting people and hobbies, one of them won’t be a dead end.  One person won’t think my intensity is an indication that I’m a stalker.  One hobby will translate into a new career.  Or, better yet, I’ll find a way to combine the interesting part with what I’m already doing.  Because parts of it are interesting.  Sometimes.

It’s like a puzzle with tiny pieces, but no picture or borders.  Just pieces.