Working at a Professional Job

In the 1990s I worked in corporate and legal offices. That’s why I don’t think a person should feel like their goal should be to get an office job. How can a person thrive in a 5′ x 7′ beige box with no color light and sound?

In July 2000 I fled my last office job to work in a public library. This new job was in a “pink ghetto” with low pay (even with a Master’s degree). I had the ability to wear hot pink Converse on the job. And no one raised an eyebrow.

Like I’ve said before the corporate world isn’t often appreciative of workers that think outside the narrow boxes we’re supposed to fit in

What if employees with disabilities like mental illness were routinely hired, sponsored (not just mentored), promoted, and so on. The GDP would skyrocket.

I was denied a promotion because I spoke out against harassment on one of my jobs. Management turned a blind eye to what was going on. Fearing I would be retaliated against I didn’t go to HR. That was a big mistake. The first route should’ve been to go to HR.

My disability was a matter of record at that job among people who found out. Was there a connection between this and the fact that I wasn’t promoted?

For those of us with mental health issues that work in a professional office job I still don’t think random full-on disclosure of your medical condition is the way to go on the job. This was my approach that I talked about in Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers.

In a coming blog entry for Resources to Recover website I’m going to offer three cons and three pros of disclosure.

In the next blog entry here I will talk about different types of “disclosure” on the job.

Jet Fuel for Job Performance

In Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers I wrote that “Your personality is your jet fuel.”

There’s no better jet fuel to enhance your performance on the job than using your unique perspective to create innovative strategies.

In the chapter Hope for Improvements in the Post-COVID Workplace I reiterated that today more than ever using your personality to find the right career is non-negotiable.

Can you and I afford to settle for less than full inclusion that allows us to show up on our jobs as our spectacular selves?

I’ve come to think that like Trudi Lebron wrote in The Antiracist Business Book “business is personal.” Forming human connections with coworkers and customers is imperative.

We will not thrive at work and traditional capitalism will fail in the post-COVID world if companies continue with business-as-usual.

If we cannot use our gifts and express our individuality on our jobs–two things that help us succeed everywhere we go–then it’s game over.

And the game of capitalism is over in 2022. The economy stalled precisely because the leaders of businesses couldn’t foresee the pandemic coming.

Those of us with the foresight to plan for the unexpected did better.

Peers with mental illnesses would ideally bring compassion for our company’s customers, loyalty to employers who treat us right, and stellar results for the firm.

Surviving and thriving when you have a hardship would give us the ability to persist in using novel approaches to solve a business problem.

The skills and strategies that peers use in our daily lives could indeed be the very Working Assets that will attract a forward-thinking employer.

Coming up a deeper dive into the mechanics of working at a “professional” job.

Using Individuality to Innovate

In Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers I talked about different types of employment. Giving advice about working in an office as well.

The more I’m reading business books with a 2022 copyright date I plan on publishing a second career book within 2 years.

Issues exist in a lot of workplaces for those of us who are not “white cisgender male” employees.

Studying DEI-Diversity Equity and Inclusion practices covered in the 2022 business books gives guidelines for how to approach hiring and retaining workers who are happy to contribute their talents.

I’m of 2 minds: in Working Assets I advised that an office job is not the only job out there. I told readers to “Think outside the cubicle.”

Yet shouldn’t corporations “get with the program” in how they treat every employee? Enabling all of us to thrive in an office job. Why should we be forced to work elsewhere if we would like to work in an office?

My experience has been that a corporate office environment is not kind to us “beautiful dreamers” who think outside the narrow boxes we’re expected to fit in.

Research proves that companies with multi-racial workers who feel like they belong outperform the competition and skyrocket financially.

Not just the bottom line is what’s important. The wellbeing and financial security of the workers whose bottoms are warming chairs matters more.

Coming up I’m going to write a carnival of blog entries that link what I wrote in Working Assets to the guidelines given in the 2022 business books.

Focusing my lens on workers with mental illnesses.

We belong in a job environment where management recognizes that our individuality will drive innovation and achievement.

7 Ways to Thrive in a Painful Job

I understand what it’s like to work at a painful job. Too I know what it’s like to love your job. Then to fall out of love and view the exit door as a great escape.

In my experience three prime reasons exist as to why a job can be painful:

The type of work. Robotic, boring, or monotonous.

The type of management. Abusive, money-hungry, inhuman.

The type of coworkers. Rude, nasty, back-stabbing.

Getting a new job might not be possible or necessary.

What to do when you’ve lost the loving feeling for what you do?

Prioritize seeking happiness.

What gives me joy is reading nonfiction books that help me achieve my life goals.

Research the firms in Fortune’s Yearly 100 Best Companies to Work For(r).

See what their hiring practices are and how you can sell yourself as an attractive future worker there.

Have an active social life.

Go on meetup.com to find a wealth of group events. In NYC you can join the #1 New York Shyness and Social Anxiety Network, for instance. They offer support groups, movie nights, and Zoom workshops.

Consider making a “lateral move” to a different position in the same company.

Here is where you can do new things. Years ago I transferred to a new location.

Volunteer to do new things in your current job.

Three years ago I signed on to mentor teen interns.

“Dress Your Best Life” like the title of the Dawnn Karen book.

Licensed therapist Karen has a practice focused on fashion psychology. According to her, how you dress can alter or amplify your mood. I try to dress extra sharp to rocket how I feel.

Fund your retirement as sky-high as possible.

This way you can afford to go out the exit door. Sooner rather than working into your old age.

The Future is Today

In coming blog entries I’m going to review two cutting-edge how-to-get-ahead-in-business books.

It’s a fool’s errand to fake being someone you’re not to try to get ahead in life. You won’t get ahead unless you act true to yourself. I dream a day when a person doesn’t have to “code-switch” or whatever the term is for acting palatable to be taken seriously.

Any business that does not value diversity of thought, background, experience, and understanding is going to be left in the dust as the century rolls on.

With a Visionary archetype I see the direction society should be going in. And I’ll go in that direction before anyone else does to create the opportunities I want to see for myself and others.

The future is today. To live in the world that we want to see each of us must act collaboratively to create this world.

Already–though my career book Working Assets is set to be published this summer–I have the idea for a second radical career book geared to individuals with mental illnesses.

No business that wants to thrive make money and stay in business can afford to shut out of employment the very people who can ignite profits with our revolutionary thinking about how to design, create, market, and sell a product or service.

In fact, as job seekers we’re marketing ourselves as the ideal worker to come on board. Researching the companies that value diversity, equity, and inclusion should yield clues as to where to pitch ourselves.

In a future blog entry, I will write about the benefits of inclusion specifically. I have ideas for strategies that I will talk about.

In the coming blog entry, I will review the business book Be More Pirate, or How to Take on the World and Win.

The pirate way deserves a careful read in this environment.

Purpose Powered Productivity

It can sound woo-woo if that is the term to continue to link who you are with what you do.

In terms of how acting false to get ahead will backfire. However, I stand by my assertion that acting true to yourself is the only way to live.

The Bullet Journal ethic is rooted in “purpose powered productivity.” That is in there being a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing.

The type of disability a person has shouldn’t limit them to only one type of job. Though if this disability makes them more suited for a specific job that job shouldn’t be ruled out.

It’s radical to propose what I do when I’m talking about the livelihoods of individuals living with mental illnesses.

What I propose is eliminating “busywork” from our lives. Finding our life’s purpose and doing what we can to fulfill this purpose.

And who says this purpose should only be linked to our disability?

For some of us it will be. My life’s purpose is to advance my vision of recovery for everyone. From whatever illness a person has. In whatever guise recovery comes to them in.

A simple mission with two tenets.

Why I propose that peers living with mental health issues find our purpose is because we are no different from people who don’t have a disability.

No one wants to feel like their life has no meaning. Like they are adrift going in circles or going nowhere.

Countless motivational books are written about “how to fulfill your potential.”

In a coming blog entry, I will talk about how to find a purpose for getting out of bed in the morning.

In the winding down of the COVID outbreak all of us could be faced with this choice: how to spend our time when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to arrive?

Living for today has a new resonance.

I for one wouldn’t want to spend my last day on earth cleaning my apartment.

A Remedy for Neoliberalism

Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment exposes the life cycle of a pair of jeans from production to selling to our disposal when we no longer like them.

President Reagan first advanced the neoliberal political ideology. Sending clothing manufacturing overseas was supposed to elevate the income of workers in those countries.

A curious line of thinking when the ulterior motive was for American businesses to cut costs. To allow them to reap millions if not billions of dollars in revenue.

U.S. clothing companies have the money to afford to pay workers a higher salary in other countries and in America.

So does a company like Verizon that I won’t do business with because their union workers went on strike twice in 10 years. To get better pay and working conditions.

In the 1970s commercials on TV told clothing buyers to “Look for the Union Label” in clothes made in America.

Sadly, the neoliberalism that took root under Reagan continued to flourish through Clinton’s term as president and ever since then.

The “trickle-down theory” fails in real-life practice.

In the counties where Amazon sets up distribution centers it gets multi-million tax breaks to do so. To recoup this money the local government imposes higher taxes on residents.

At Amazon warehouse jobs workers have been killed by machinery. Amazon isn’t fined. Amazon doesn’t pay benefits to the families of the workers who were killed.

What can a person in rural America who doesn’t have a college degree–and doesn’t want to move to a big city–do?

An Amazon warehouse job should not be the only job in town.

There’s a solution that lies right in front of our faces. The remedy is to stop viewing an elite Ivy or other college degree and a standard set of prior jobs and skills as a predictor of who to hire for a job.

In an internet news article, I read how hip employers are seeking out job candidates who don’t have this kind of homogenous background.

The result was that more women and BIPOC individuals were hired.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about cutting-edge ideas and solutions for peers with mental illnesses.

In April I expect to host another Podcast to go live for blog readers to listen to.

Rekindling from Burnout

A real-life scenario:

You receive in a plastic pouch 2 tea bags and 5 sheets of 3″ X 3″ patterned origami paper.

This token gift is given as compensation for the burnout you’ve experienced working through the pandemic.

You question the mentality of the coworkers that thought this kit was the right and acceptable way to treat staff. How will this gift alleviate your chronic fatigue that strikes when you clock out at 5:00 every day?

How will making origami suffice when management doesn’t pay you what you’re worth?

Coming to your workplace soon will be this kind of benefit that you’re supposed to be grateful for.

In light of this trend, I’m keen to advocate for worker’s rights.

Even Alphabet workers at Google have lobbied to create a union at their workplace.

One remedy is to band together as coworkers and exchange your personal non-work email accounts. You can then talk freely among yourselves via email about actions you can take to get paid what you’re worth. You can come together on the same page to demand changes like a 7-hour workday or 4-day workweek.

During the pandemic workers were quitting their jobs in droves. Jumping ship for better opportunities elsewhere.

One good thing about the pandemic is that hopefully with the rise in WFH or Work from Home jobs a person can live wherever they want to in the U.S. and work for an employer in another state.

Is WFH here to stay? In one of the coming blog entries, I’ll talk about working from home in more detail.

The status quo is over. It’s time to advocate for our rights as workers.

Coming up in the blog entries I’ll talk about my own experience and how it has framed what I think of the world of work.

You can love your job. You should simply be paid what you’re worth. Then you could afford to get a massage. Which in my view is a better way to rekindle from burnout.

I don’t drink tea. Do you? And do you think 2 tea bags is a magnificent showering of concern from management about how to rekindle from backbreaking or emotional labor?

No–I didn’t think so.

Work Won’t Love You Back

Reading the above book has gotten me interested in advocating for worker’s rights.

In here I’m going to write a blog carnival of entries with my concrete ideas about how to take back your life.

Sarah Jaffe the author claims that work cannot ever be seen as the source of love. That a worker can only find joy and happiness outside of paid labor.

In my view it’s okay to love what you do on the job. It’s not okay for management to pay workers “poverty pay.”

The Jaffe book expounds on the other books that have exposed the myth: Do What You Love and Other Lies. We Are All Fastfood Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages.

I read these two other books years ago. What the three books fall short on doing is that they don’t offer alternatives. They don’t offer solutions to taking back your life.

In the coming blog entries, I will detail positive techniques for enjoying what you do on and off the job.

One thing that Jaffe states at the end I do agree with: instituting fewer hours in the workday. How about a 4-day workweek? This is a move in the right direction.

Coming up in the next blog entry: how to rekindle from burnout.

Numbing yourself with alcohol or going on a vacation you can’t afford is not the way to cope with a soul-crushing job.

It’s my contention that a job doesn’t have to be drudgery.

Getting in Indie Gear

The career guide in the photo above is the best quick read on how to create an independent income for yourself.

In my view it’s the best book in this category. I plan on buying a copy to read over and over.

In tandem with this practical business book I recommend one other book wherever I go and in whatever I write:

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

Ben Arment the author of Dream Year reinforced what I’ve always realized: Those of us who choose a different path in life or a unique career can become riddled with self-doubt.

Strive to conquer the self-doubt which is a natural feeling to have when you’re an Artist/Creative or other maker or person in business for yourself.

Use the self-doubt as the catalyst for examining how to overcome this fear. In Dream Year you will be given the confidence to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams / live the life you imagined” as the famous quote implores.

I’m getting ready to publish Working Assets the book in print and e-book format. My goal is to have the book go on sale in the early spring.

I checked Dream Year out of the library which you can try to do if you don’t want to buy it.

Dream Year is a sharp, succinct, and cohesive collection of action steps to take.