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I’m about to get fired…

… and I know it’s because I’m lazy.

Hey, lots of us are lazy, says our elder. But you can develop a plan to cope with it.

Dear EWC

I’m 27 years old, and I think I’m going to be fired. I currently work in food operations. At the moment I’m under investigation until next week so they can consolidate information about me and whether or not I should be fired. The idea of getting canned really scares me. I never thought I’d get fired, I always did an adequate job and I don’t think I deserve to be let go but I feel like after one bad day my worth is being judged based only on that criteria… Hopefully, I don’t get fired but if I do it’s not gonna be good. I’m in debt, have only 1k in my checking, I need expensive lotion because I have a bad skin condition, and I’m living with my family who needs my help to pay for the mortgage. So I think I’m screwed if I lose my job so suddenly.

I just feel depressed and lost. I’m looking through my options of what I should do but it’s hard. I never went to college because I felt it just wasn’t right for me and I want to work as an artist in gaming or animation where the portfolio is more important than a degree, so that’s where my skills fall. I can draw, I’m tech-savvy and fluent with many programs needed in the industry, but it’s hard to get a job in that especially since my portfolio is really lacking. But I feel the worst thing is that I’m inherently so lazy that I don’t work on it as much as I should. I wish I was the type that could just grind for hours and hours straight to get to my goal, but I can never stay motivated, and that just makes me feel empty and I just distract myself with shows and comics… Honestly, I think that’s where all my problems stem from. If I was never lazy (and maybe if I wasn’t born with a bad skin condition) and just worked hard, I feel like I’d be in a different place, a better place. I’m sorry if this letter feels jumbled, whiny and all over the place. I’m just venting. I just really hope I don’t get fired. It would be embarrassing and it would suck not to see my fellow co-workers anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Folk replies

Congratulations. You’ve written an honest self-evaluation and in so doing you’ve taken the important first step in maybe turning your life around. You’ve taken a hard look and yourself and figured out that what’s been holding you back is laziness. Okay, so you’re lazy. I get it — and trust me, you’re not alone. I think most people overestimate how much willpower and motivation they have. After all, if reaching our goals was as easy as setting them is, we’d all be CEOs, rock stars, and successful athletes.

I’m not going to shame you about your lazy habits, as I have plenty of my own. I’m also not going to tell you to change yourself. Telling yourself that you ”shouldn’t” be lazy won’t make anything better. All it will do is make you feel bad when you inevitably decide to give in to your laziness. I believe it’s better to accept and acknowledge your laziness and work with it. If you accept the fact that you are lazy, you can develop a plan to cope with it.

Okay, so you’re lazy. But that’s not all you are. You are artistic and tech-savvy. You’re also familiar with a lot of programs needed in the gaming industry. You weren’t born with these skills; they had to be acquired. That means you had to make an effort to learn them and to hone them through practice. None of that is lazy; in fact, it’s the opposite of lazy. In other words, you have moments of willpower, discipline, and motivation that break the line of least resistance. If you didn’t have these moments, you wouldn’t have anything in your portfolio at all. And you wouldn’t have a job either.

Speaking of jobs, I don’t know what happened at your work that may result in you losing yours. You weren’t very specific about it. It sounds like maybe you screwed up one day or did something you shouldn’t have done, something bad enough to get you fired. I hope you don’t get fired and that you get a warning instead. If you do get a second chance, I hope that in the future you aim for a job performance rating that is better than just “adequate.” Because here’s the thing: you have to be at work anyhow, so why not use the time to your advantage? Since you can’t be at home doing what you want to be doing, why not apply yourself to doing what you have to be doing? If you do this, you will break the cycle of inertia you are trapped in. You will feel better about yourself and the feeling of pride and accomplishment you get from a job well done will energize you to do other things — like maybe add to your portfolio.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that if you can accept the fact that you’re incapable of changing your life through sheer willpower, maybe you are ready to try more useful ways of increasing your motivation, like:

Removing temptation: The cliches are true, e.g., you can’t lose weight with cookies in the house, you can’t think straight in a cluttered environment, you can’t be positive hanging around negative people. So, how about trying unplugging your internet, unsubscribing from television, etc. If you’re too lazy to resist temptation, how about just deleting temptation and distractions from your life.

Changing your routine: Breaking routine requires willpower, so how about trying to change the routine instead by creating a new schedule for yourself. I carve out the same time to write letters like this each day. Beyond that, my calendar is a bit “meh”, but that hour or two-time block changed my life forever. Maybe it can change yours too.

If you aren’t willing to do any of this, that’s alright too. You are a grown man and there is no one who will punish you if you do not accomplish your goals. As long as you support yourself, mind your own business, and don’t suck the blood of others, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. There’s nothing at all wrong with not wanting more out of life than a steady job, a roof over your head, food on the table, and family and friends to be with.

My advice to you is to do what makes you happy and be who you want to be. If you’re happy with your shows and comics and co-workers and job, then why change? Did you ever consider that maybe the real reason you aren’t motivated to do anything else is that you are content with your life the way it is?

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this, please write back if you can and tell me what happened with your job, I am rooting for you.

Letter #: 447535
Category: Career

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