Someone recently asked me what it was like to be unemployed in San Francisco during the tech bust. “Ph.D.s were parking cars and neighborhood cafés were full at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Monday.” “That sounds like Washington, D.C. now,” he said.
Everybody knows the US stock market has mostly recovered, but it’s still not easy to find a job. Those of us who have jobs should be grateful we do. Listening to the worries of unemployed friends and colleagues, we are reminded of our fortune. The job that we casually dismiss as “just a job” suddenly doesn’t seem so bad for being just that – a job, a paycheck, a freedom, though it may be impermanent, to end our day without wondering how we will create a sense of productivity the next.
Still, being lucky to have a job seldom prevents occasional bouts of dissatisfaction. As Rick Browne, the Director of Xavier University’s Career Services Center, noted in his interview – it’s human nature to constantly strive for what’s next. So, yes, those of us lucky enough to have a job to complain about in the current economy should be grateful we do, but we shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting more. Appreciation and discontent can coexist. Appreciation countering our desire to be rash, discontent guarding us against complacency.