Before, during and after our current COVID age, what happens if you get laid off from that desk job, the one that was doable and steady but never all that exciting? Or perhaps you just had your fill of getting the morning coffee, going in to the office each day, fulfilling your responsibilities with efficiency if not much enthusiasm, and eagerly awaiting that lifeline and timeline du jour: 5 o’clock.
To be able to turn a static life into one of stimulation and achievement is not an easy leap, and often requires courage to live with the resulting uncertainty. But provided that health is not an issue (a circumstance never to be taken for granted, especially among the younger generation to whom death is a mere mask), why not use the layoff notice or cubicle boredom as a springboard? Why not make the jump into something that enhances, that enables a real contribution rather than the contrition that often accompanies the status quo?
David Brooks, in a telling op-ed article in The New York Times, put it succinctly:
"We don’t decide about life; we’re captured by life. In the major spheres, decision-making, when it happens at all, is downstream from curiosity and engagement. If we really want to understand and shape behavior, maybe we should look less at decision-making and more at curiosity. Why are you interested in the things you are interested in? Why are some people zealously seized, manically attentive and compulsively engaged?"
Naturally there are many office jobs that provide creativity and camaraderie, paychecks and perks, benefits and brainstorms. By all means, go with them and make the most of the resulting opportunities that can be both plentiful and tangible.
But for those who fall within the elevator’s lower floors, take heed and hope. Press the buttons of your personal enthusiasms. Watch the double doors open and walk confidently outside.
There can be kaleidoscopic life post-office.