Finding Gratitude in the Daily Grind

I’m here to say that there’s no shame in being happy to be alive. This is an okay feeling when you’ve either survived the worst or are still struggling in other regards.

Finding gratitude in the daily grind is possible. This is a cognitive reframing approach to changing your perception of what’s going on in your life.

In a book I just read titled Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment the author Maxine Bedat exposed the brute monotony of sweatshop labor.

Each woman (a woman!) sits at a machine in a row of something like 60 machines. One woman sews the hem. The other woman sews the leg. Another sews the waistband. And down the line it goes.

The term “deaths of despair” was coined to describe how individuals are taking their own lives. When their work is not meaningful and purpose-driven.

Creating “jobs of joy” should be the goal for ourselves and others.

So how can you and I make our work livable if we don’t always like our jobs?

Take up a hobby. Cook. Paint. Skate. Blog. Shoot photos.

A happy medium exists between “warehouse worker” and “CEO” in terms of the kinds of jobs out there. Finding these jobs will be the topic of other blog entries.

In each day that we get up and go to a job or not go to a job we can find pockets of time to do what makes us feel fulfilled.

It could be as simple as watching YouTube videos on your cell phone on your afternoon break.

Or going outside to a coffeehouse to buy a hot chocolate and confetti cookie.

In my life the route to on-the-job happiness started when I asked a former supervisor to send me to the workshops so that I could be trained to give customers resume and career help.

After this I took on the role of mentoring teen interns.

The point is when you can carve out new things to do that keep you fulfilled at work that makes all the difference.

The rise in Amazon fulfillment center jobs that wreck a worker’s mental and physical health is a runaway trend that should be halted before “deaths of despair” increase any higher.

In a coming blog entry I will talk about the root of labor injustice: the neoliberal economic policies that elected leaders advanced and continue to back.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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