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How to Deal With The 9-5 Grind

By: Brian Kim - April 6, 2014

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It's Monday morning. Millions of people are waking up dreading the thought of going to work. They call it the 9-5 grind. How do you deal with it?

First off, this is a great example of how vocabulary can influence how we feel about our lives.


Not a very pleasant way to describe something that's takes up a major portion of your life is it? What can we change that word to? More on that later.

But going back to how to deal with it, the first thing to do is to not make your job such a big part of your life but it's hard to do that when society defines you by what you do. Go to any party and what's the first question they ask?

What do you do?

Our jobs define us and if we're not happy with our jobs, well, it's easy to see why we're not happy with our lives.

But if we zoom out and "shrink" the job by seeing its role in the bigger picture, we can "shrink" the negative feelings we have of our job and maybe go on to even generate some positive ones.

The classic example is seeing that working a job helps provide for your family. When you look at it that way, you may even start to feel grateful for it. There are a lot of people who don't have jobs that are really struggling so that helps put things in perspective.

Ah, but alas, here's where the finger pointing begins.

Many people see that line of thinking as a cop out, just something you say to make yourself feel better about your situation.

Are you allowed to do that?

Yes, and it's called changing your perspective.

But then this question inevitably sneaks into your mind.

Would your life be better if you got another job?

Or would you be exactly as happy in that new job as you are right now in seeing your current job in another perspective?

It's an interesting debate that pits changing your environment vs. changing your perception to see which one "weighs" more in terms of making up your reality.

The answer is, like most things dealing with two extremes, a balance of the two.

Yes, there ARE some parts of a job that contribute to your emotional well being BUT even though you have those parts, but your perspective sucks, what difference does it make?

And even if you have a great perspective, but you're breaking your back in a job that doesn't fit you at all, that's a tough sell to yourself as well.

Here's the worst case scenario if you think about it.

You choose the word grind to describe your job so a big part of your life is torture. There's no bigger purpose to fit the job puzzle piece into so it's almost as if your entire life is torture. And to top things off, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. You're just slogging away, knowing that every day is going to be the same.

That's what you want to avoid.

So how can you escape that horrible scenario?

First, change your vocabulary. Instead of the phrase 9-5 grind, replace it with 9-5 opportunity, as hokey as that sounds, and now you're getting somewhere. That word alone can trigger new feelings and perspectives of how you view your current job.

See your job as a small part of the bigger picture of your life. See how it serves a bigger purpose and choose something else that defines you other than your job.

Then you can begin to feel the "weight" of the previously mentioned "grind" melt off.

And if you can find a different type of work that has at least some of the components that jive well with your personality, interests, and strengths, now you're getting somewhere. Now you have something to shoot for. Your current job can provide you with the resources necessary to get that other kind of work that's more suited for you.

You're not living the grind. You see it as full of opportunity. Your job plays a role in serving a bigger purpose. It doesn't define you. You see it as an opportunity to find more meaningful work and you're heading toward that direction.

You're grateful.

You're happy.

That's how you deal with the 9-5 grind.

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