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How to Focus on Your Pointless Job When the World is Burning

Hot take – the world is pretty goddam crazy these days. If you’re anything like me (hopelessly addicted to social media, extremely influenced by other people’s opinions, not as engaged at my job as I should be, considering becoming a hat guy, etc.) it can be a little hard to maintain focus on a daily basis. I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure the human brain was not built to learn about a new tragedy to people in every part of the world every 24 hours. At least my brain wasn’t.

The shitty part about this beautiful modern world we live in is that while we are inundated with depressing news 24/7, we are also expected to work our tiny little fingers to the bone for our corporate masters who don’t particularly care if we live, die, or have proper health care.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of us kind of have to play along so we can keep our jobs in order to do things like eat, drink and have shelter (despite whatever Pocahontas said, you very much can own land in our society and it is very expensive.)

How in the good lord’s name are you supposed to focus on your stupid job when there’s upsetting headlines about things like natural disasters, mass shooting, COVID, and Joe Gatto leaving Impractical Jokers every goddam day?

Here are our 4 simple tips that work like 40% of the time.

How to Focus on Your Pointless Job When the World is Burning

Me getting ready to hop on a Zoom call about cold email strategy after reading the saddest. most crushing headline in the history of printed word

1. Let Yourself React   

It is perfectly reasonably to, for lack of a better word, get bummed the fuck out when you see another horrible headline. The smart science people just released a report that we are probably too late to stop global warming and our planet is going to be a flaming hellscape in about 7 years and you want me to hop on 90 minute call about Q3 planning? Buddy, there isn’t gonna be a Q3 if we don’t figure this shit out. Is Greta Thornberg on this or just sitting on her ass like usual?

How are you reasonably expected to give a flying fuck about updating Salesforce or making sure your gigantic corporation grows 4% so your CEO can get his yearly bonus that’s more money than you can reasonably expect to make in one lifetime?

You know what – you shouldn’t be expected to do any of that! That’s bullshit. Fuck your company! Fuck capitalism! Fuck the government and fuck the lizard people who run it!  

No matter how you feel – depressed, pissed, scared, upset, horny (????) – it’s perfectly reasonable. Besides maybe the horny thing, but to each their own.

Here’s the thing….

2. You Probably Can’t Fix It

And honestly, thank fucking god. You’re a perfectly nice and smart person, but you are not equipped to handle the world’s crises. There’s a reason that you are the oldest assistant manager in your company’s history.

The fucked up thing about the world and the news is that 99.9% of the problems you see are completely and utterly out of your control. Hundreds of people died in natural disaster in South America? There’s an oil spill that wiped out an entire population of sea turtles? Joe Gatto’s departure is due to the fact that he wasn’t making enough time for his family and now he’s also getting divorced?? Unspeakable tragedies that unfortunately you can do absolutely nothing to help solve on a meaningful level (besides relentless tweet at Joe and hope he’s open to feedback from a stranger on the Internet about his personal and professional choices.)

Look, if you care that much AND you can fix a problem – go do something about it! Don’t waste your life doing some bullshit when there’s something you care about.  

But for the rest of us normal people, we can really only impact things in our small corner of the world. Which is exactly why you need to…

One of the most upsetting series of books ever. The stress from running the most important country in the world would literally destroy a 12 year old in maybe 11 days. Not cute Dan Gutman.

3. Convince Yourself Your Job is Really Important

Ok, maybe not “really important” but at least, “significant enough to matter.” Because it is! It’s your life. Your job is what you spend like 65% of the time that you’re awake (and asleep if you’re lucky enough to get work nightmares) doing, thinking about and getting stressed from. Is that kind of depressing? A little bit, sure, but hey that’s life.

If we’ve learned anything from pretty much any female romantic comedy lead, the best way to keep your demons at bay and distract yourself from inner turmoil is by throwing yourself into your work. Close Twitter, unclench your jaw, and turn off the Impractical Jokers marathon on TruTV. It’s not helping you or anyone else.

Focus on making the best goddam PivotTable in American history. Grace Microsoft Outlook with the most beautifully crafted email that’s ever existed on their platform. Actually pay attention on a Zoom for the first time in your life.

At the end of the day, the world doesn’t stop and your responsibilities are still going to be there. You know what would really suck? To be pissed off at the world AND unemployed.

If that doesn’t work…

4. Recognize that You Have the Perfect Excuse  

Some days, you just don’t have it. Oh well. If you don’t work for monsters, just tell your boss you’re burnt out and take the afternoon off. You are going to be working for the rest of your little life anyways, so who really cares.

Realistically, it’s basically impossible to fire someone in Corporate America without like 5 warnings anyways, so you go take your little daily walk or toss on some mindless TV and disassociate for a few hours. You’ve earned it (not really but whatever.)

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