A few days ago, I received a poignant letter from a devout and trusting Infinitian named Edward Dium in need of some career advice. Thanks to my years of sensitivity training and experience, I immediately recognized his note for what it was, a desperate cry for help. Further confirming my suspicions, in addition to the insight provided by my training and experience, there was also a postscript on the letter that said, “This is a desperate cry for help.”
Edward or, to feign the familiarity that is appropriate in this sort of situation, Ted would undoubtedly be agonizingly mortified to see his words reproduced here. However, I am convinced that that is a small price to pay to help me fill up this space with drivel in the guise of career advice.
What’s more, “trusting” is a dangerous quality to have in these troubled times. Demonstrating the hazards of relying too much on trust will teach Ted a valuable life-lesson. It might perturb him terribly now, but he will thank me for it later. Or maybe not. It really doesn’t matter to me either way.
The following measly few paragraphs are the entire contents of Ted’s letter:
Dear Sage Mike,
At first, I didn’t know whom to turn to in my hour of desperation, but your blog posts have always been such an inspiration and comfort to me that I rapidly realized that you were the only person on Earth, or anywhere else for that matter, I wanted to talk to about my problem. (I tried talking to my favorite God about it, but She is giving me the silent treatment.)
The truth of the matter is that I have become despairingly bored with my job and with my life, but particularly with my job. Lately, the tedium has driven me to the depths of despondency. Day after day, I sit in my tiny, bleak cubicle at work, mindlessly performing the same tiresome tasks over and over again—the same tiresome tasks I’ve performed over and over again for every single working day of the past 17 years; 17 mind-numbingly dreary years, I might add. As the overwhelming monotony relentlessly crushes me, thoughts of suicide occasionally enter my head.
I can think of no other way out. I have reached the pinnacle of my career at my present employer. There is no place left for me to go there. And moving to another company to do exactly the same things would provide no relief. Yet my years of unvarying job experience have pigeonholed me into my current role in the eyes of my existing employer, as well as any potential future employers.
I have considered going back to school—possibly in the evening to make that path more affordable—to learn new skills to help me shift to a new career. The trouble is, I have absolutely no idea what I both want to do and am capable of doing.
Not only does nothing excite me; nothing particularly interests me.
I know you don’t usually answer career-related questions, but I’m at the end of my rope, Sage Mike. I’m begging you to help me and offer me guidance in my hour of need. As a gesture of good faith and as a token of my appreciation that you would even consider my request, I have enclosed a cash gift for you.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
P.S.: This is a desperate cry for help.
Ted, you are absolutely right about me rarely answering career-related questions. I usually restrict my ministrations to providing spiritual guidance and responding to questions about the nature, principles and strictures of Infinitiaty.
However, you are also right in your assumption that a cash gift would increase my level of goodwill. As a result, I’m somewhat happy to offer you a little career advice.
The 200 dollars you sent does not warrant a lengthy reply from me, but it is sufficient to compensate me for the few tidbits of wisdom below.
Ted, I highly recommend that you go to a stationer and buy several pens and at least 100 large, blank journals, each containing as many pages as possible. Spare no expense. You will find that it is well worth it.
Career Advice: Journalize Your Boredom
When you return home, start to write down any and every thought that enters your head.
Carry the journal you are working on at the time with you wherever you go. Never stop jotting down your waking thoughts, even when you are at work. Your boss may become exceptionally annoyed at the time this takes away from your work, but don’t worry about that. Your ultimate goal is to change your current state of being, so why should you worry about the possibility of getting fired?
Don’t limit your note taking to your waking thoughts. If you remember your dreams write them down in as much detail as possible as soon as you awake.
Take particular note of erotic dreams and immediately send copies of your lurid, in-depth journal entries on them to me for further analysis. If you have any artistic talents, please include paintings depicting the juiciest bits of your sex fantasies. Better yet, if at all possible, reenact the dreams with a sex partner (a consensual partner, of course), video the reenactment, and email me the video. I’ll study your dreams and keep a report on them in my files for future reference.
And here’s the most important point: No thought, no matter how small, is insignificant. All of them are worth capturing. A notion that may seem worthless today may take on great consequence if given the opportunity to crystalize.
I can’t possibly stress the previous point enough. A ridiculously high percentage of our steady stream of consciousness is lost forever because, at the time, we consider the cerebral flotsam and jetsam in it to be trifling or inane and, therefore, we forget it almost as soon as we think it. What a tragic waste of brainpower!
That having been said, 99.99 percent of what passes through your apparently feeble brain almost certainly will be complete bunk. Unfortunately, at the time of thinking them, you rarely know which notions form part of the worthwhile 0.01 percent and which form part of the 99.99 percent that are total hogwash. That more complete wisdom comes only through recording all of your thoughts so you can review them later.
It will take you many months, and quite possibly several years, to fill up your journals, particularly if, as I suspect, your thoughts are meager and infrequent. But when you have finished the writing, only then does the real work begin.
In the rationality that is afforded you by temporal distance from your original thoughts, if indeed you have any original thoughts at all, insights may appear through your review of your notes. By seeing which ideas and areas of attention came up most frequently, you may be able to identify interests that subconsciously excite you.
Thus, you must spend many hours, days, or possibly months or years carefully studying the journal entries you amassed to find the psychological revelations buried within.
In all likelihood, this exercise will provide absolutely no benefit whatsoever in helping you to find an endeavor that will both thrill you and pay you enough to materially sustain you. Thus, this is not really what you might call career advice. Nevertheless, the exercise will completely fill up your time for all of those months and years, thereby taking your mind off your boredom and driving those destructive thoughts of suicide right out of your puny brain for at least that period. What’s more, it will bring you all that much closer to your natural death. At that point, your tedium will no longer be an issue.
Then again, you never know, despite all of the odds against it, maybe my recommendation will indeed help you to discover and live your dreams. If so, please let me know. I’d like to claim credit for this breakthrough therapy in a psychology journal or two.
I know you’ll want to thank me again for this advice so let me say in advance that you are welcome. I’m glad I could help a fellow Infinitian with a little career advice. And don’t forget about those videos. More cash would also be nice.