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Normally Unhappy

Older people are returning to the workforce and others are just now entering it for the first time. People are finally being allowed to go to work as work restrictions have been lifted, but then businesses are having to let people go because of the vaccine mandates. The number of unemployed people continues to grow and the fear of the loss of future opportunity is settling in. What happens when the migrants who are pouring into the country take the available jobs and there is no work for the American population? It's time to get back to work while you still can. You must make yourself better than your competition, and that might mean a new way of thinking.

We have come to believe we have more value as an employee than our abilities and knowledge prove out. We work in a meritocracy, which is when people receive compensation based on merit. Recent generations were given trophies they did not earn and therefore, believe they should receive equal compensation for unequal effort. They also believe work should make them "happy." Most employers do not want to pay someone more than they are worth, and happiness is an intrinsic concept based on internal satisfaction that employers should not be made responsible for. In other words, I choose to be happy, and I'll be happy even when a situation is less than ideal. Even when the situation is perfect, I can also choose to remain unhappy, and no one will be able to do anything to change my mood or my perspective. So, the debate begins as these contradictory philosophies collide.

In psychology, there is a theory of practice, called "The Socratic Method", attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates. He taught his students (Plato was one) that we need to debate an idea or concept in order to find the flaw in one's thinking and beliefs. The term "psychology" has its roots in the word, "psyche," or soul, which we translate to "mind." What we believe is our truth. It settles in our mind, and we can believe it to our very "soul." When we believe an untruth, it also is our truth, and many have fought for a lie only later to find they were wrong. A person's belief of who they are is not determined by how many "friends" you have on social media, your parents' perception of you, and your high school grades speak very little of your ability to perform a task. Your grades should reflect your ability to learn, but with the ability to steal information from the internet, grades alone are not a true reflection of a person's character (For more on character click here).

Socrates also defined the concept of happiness. To Socrates, to steal did not bring happiness, but happiness was the satisfaction gained through acquiring by honest means. In other words, if you want to be happy at work, you must be happy with your own production, your contribution, and your ability to learn. Your happiness comes from knowing you are doing a good job, showing up on time, and that you bring value to the workplace. Your employer's and coworker's praise should not be the only thing that makes you happy. If you do not receive constant praise (and most people don't get daily doses of it), you will be miserable and will blame the job for your misery.

A job may not bring you happiness, but the paycheck can be used to purchase things that make you happy. If you love your home and family and want to give to them, a job helps you do that. If you desire a nice car, expensive shoes, or a new set of clubs, a job helps you pay for them. The job may not bring you happiness, but you are not a prisoner there. You get to leave at the end of your workday. Maybe you should look outside of your job for the things that make you happy. The job keeps a roof over your head, gas in your car, and food on the table. Happiness is created by you for you. Like the song says, "Don't worry. Be happy." Because you can.

The aim of psychoanalysis is to relieve people of their neurotic unhappiness

so that they can be normally unhappy.

Sigmund Freud


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