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Before I get started, I want to address the clickbait title. My boss at the time was only one ingredient in a cocktail of depressing life circumstances. However, the experience of working for a toxic person, in a toxic work environment is what loaded the gun. My income and personal choices is what pulled the trigger. At the end of the day, I am the person in the driver’s seat, so I am accountable for all that happened in the following story.
Basically, I got burnt out.
In my early 20s I felt I had a calling in the social service sector to help people. With my recent social work diploma, I went on to get hired at an agency doing what I thought was my dream job. However, the honeymoon ended when I was given a rookie supervisor who micromanaged me, had unrealistic or impossible expectations, and bullied and fired my co-workers around me.
The stress of the work environment, and pressure from my boss was hard, because I really enjoyed the position. Slowly I started doing things to “make up” for my growing unhappiness like eating out at restaurants, going out on the weekends, and buying fancy clothes I would never wear.
As much as I tried to “make up” for my struggle at work, and my declining mental state, nothing I did made it any better. I was essentially burnt out.
What was I going to do? Would I abandon my dream job to sit at home and be unemployed? What would this mean? What would people think? There is no way I could give up this job. So, I did the next best thing. I bought a brand-new motorcycle.
Her beauty represented my sadness...
I didn’t know it at the time, but this purchase was really about trying to compensate for my unhappiness via shiny expensive toys, also known as a “depreciating asset,” or “liability.”
I still think this bike is pretty gorgeous, and it is fun to ride. However, since acquiring it, riding motorcycles has become less of an interest for me.
Unfortunately, that means my lack of interest means I am now paying interest for something I really don’t care about owning.
What really sucks about this enormous waste of money is I ended up having to quit my job, and go on a medical leave shortly after buying it. I decided to sell this bike, only to go online and find other people like me all over the country trying to sell the exact same motorcycle for almost the exact the same reason.
I wanted to tell this story to make an important point, especially for the young and the unhappy. It is true what they say, money does not buy happiness. More specifically, money does not distract you into being happy. If you have an underlying issue with a person, or perhaps your own mental health, there is no amount of “things” you can acquire to fix that.
Once I began to tackle the issues around my mental health, and left the toxic work environment, I began to find happiness in the most unexpected places. An impromptu conversation with a stranger, a good cup of coffee, a clear night sky. All of these are examples of finding joy in the present moment. The ability to be present is essential for our mental health. Being present and mindful is part of most therapies for people suffering from several mental health conditions including depression and anxiety.
Before you open your wallet to compensate for your life, or lack of enjoyment, open your mind first. Reach out to a friend for support, be honest with yourself about your feelings, and try to find joy in the simple things in life.
Simply put: Risking your financial stability and future for an emotional distraction is not a good idea. Don't do it!
Update: I've been telling this story for years now. I want to announce that I did eventually sell the bike, and I am not living debt free at the age of 28.