Crippled CEO Blog #178:
I have heard people say that they would rather die than live like me — that if something ever happened and they couldn’t take care of themselves anymore, if they needed help using the bathroom, if they needed someone to wipe them, if they needed help showering — that they would either kill themselves or hope that someone would put them out of their misery.
People have even said this right in front of me, probably with no idea that they were actually talking about me.
And I get it. Trust me. It’s not easy. And while I do believe my life is incredible SO strongly that the belief infects the minds of almost everyone who knows me (leading some able bodied people to actually be envious of me, which is really astonishing if you think about it), all that stuff does really, really suck. I’m not a fan and I would change it in a heartbeat. My life is truly amazing, and I do a pretty spectacular job most of the time of not letting that stuff get to me, but it’s not an easy task. The worst parts of having cerebral palsy and being disabled in the ways that I am are remarkably dark and terrible, and I don’t blame people for thinking they would choose death over my daily reality.
Maybe this includes you. Maybe you have thought or said aloud that death is preferable over being that level of disabled. If so, I don’t hold it against you. You might even be right.
But I was thinking this week that there is something even worse, that SO many people are enduring, that I wouldn’t trade for to cure my disability for. I would rather keep being crippled than suffer this existence.
And what is that? Working at a job that you hate.
Having to get up each morning and force yourself to go to a place that you can’t stand, where you have to try to collaborate with people you don’t like, who might be awful human beings, doing tasks that you find dreadful, under a boss who might be cruel, unreasonable, unstable, stupid, deceitful, or a million other atrocious qualities… that sounds unbearable. I would rather have cerebral palsy. I would rather need help going to the bathroom, wiping myself, and cutting up my food than do that every day, and yet this is exactly the situation so many people find themselves in.
Studies have shown that staying at a terrible workplace can give people PTSD-like symptoms similar to those experienced by soldiers in war and abuse victims.
I’m not going to act like it is optional — that if your job is awful that you should just quit and find a new one. People keep going to jobs they hate because they need the income to support themselves and their family. But people stay at those jobs, without even seriously pursuing other options, for years because, like an abusive relationship, it starts to feel normal, change is scary, and they assume there’s no alternative.
If this is the situation you’re in, I think the first step is realizing how awful it is. It could be easy to think that it’s normal, that everyone hates their job. Who really likes going to work, right? But let me reiterate what I said earlier: that life is so terrible that I’d rather be severely disabled and disfigured than be stuck in a terrible job. It is worse than being handicapped. If you can think of it like that, then putting the proper priority on changing the situation might become easier. If I found out there was a cure for cerebral palsy that would make me able bodied, what do you think I would go through to get that? How much time, energy, dedication, and even risk would I give to make that happen? The answer is: all of it. It would become the most important thing in the world. I would treat it like an emergency. Everything else would be put on hold.
Again, I’m not saying that you can just get up and leave the job you hate. But this is what I am saying: treat it like the emergency that it is. Become obsessed with changing the job. It’s not OK and it’s not normal. No one deserves to live like that and you don’t have to. Make that the top priority and do everything you possibly can to change the situation. You spend half of your waking hours at work. Don’t hate half of your life — it casts a shadow over the other half, too. It’s not worth it. There is no solution for my terrible thing, but there is for yours. There are better options out there. I promise.
Let me know if I can help.
(Do you know who loved her jobs last night? Your mom. And she didn’t even get paid… much. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)