American Life Takes a Toll on Mental Health

American Life Takes Its Toll Featured Image

Welcome to issue #27 of the update series. This week I’ve been taking some time to relax, and it’s been quite nice. Besides occasionally posting my articles to social media, I haven’t done a whole lot. As a result, I don’t have much of an update. However, I will take this opportunity to chat a bit about the importance of your mental health.

Table of Contents

The Effects of American Life on Mental Health

In America, we’re obsessed with our careers. In fact, what we do for a living is our identity. Ever been asked “what do you do?” That’s a subtle hint that we’re all a little too obsessed with our jobs.

Unfortunately, that means we have little else in our lives to focus on, so we tend to pour all our time into our jobs. That very quickly leads to burnout which can result in depression if not remedied quickly.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to yourself. You can’t achieve your dreams if you run yourself into the ground. Instead, you need to strike a solid work-life balance.

Establishing Work-Life Balance

My work-life balance isn’t quite where I want it to be, so I’m looking to alternatives: going back to school, moving abroad, starting my own business. All of these options are better than where I’m at now, but I have to take it one day at a time.

For me, life is about financial freedom through meaningful work. Unfortunately, I discovered that about myself after I went $40,000 in debt. Now, I’m a slave to a system that wears me down every day. I don’t feel like I’m producing anything of value, nor do I feel fulfilled in my endeavors. My day-to-day grind is simply a means to and end – getting a paycheck.

Instead, I plan to someday do something fulfilling with my life where the perk is financial freedom. I don’t want to be reliant on somebody cutting me a check every couple of weeks. Why the hell would anyone want that? It’s modern day slavery. Once you have your paycheck, Corporate America begs you to turn around and sink that money into a shiny new toy. I won’t be a part of that system.

The Negative Effects of Consumption Culture

While we’re on the subject of consumption, let’s talk about it’s negative effects on mental health. As Americans, we’re forced to believe that money will make us happy. In fact, there are even comedy sketches and songs written about money as a form of happiness. For every person who says “money can’t by happiness,” there’s a dozen others who would say “but, I’d rather be crying on a jet ski.”

That’s sort of where we’re at as a society. We think that the more money we have the happier we’ll be, and that just isn’t so. Yet, everyone is trying to make as much of the stuff as they can. As a result, we have a society that values bigger houses and fancier cars over meaningful long term relationships. No wonder people are getting divorced like crazy. Finances rule people’s lives.

Of course, the sentiment is completely misplaced. We aggressively compete with our peers for the next big raise while our bosses are raking in the dough. How’s that for irony? I’m hardly surprised when people come out of the rat race disheartened. I know I am. Hell, I know firsthand that our leaders are just abusing us for their own selfish gain.

The Future of GE

At this point, I’m sort of just rambling, but I did want to chat about something that happened this past week at work. As of last Friday, GE’s new CEO announced the reality of the state of the business which caused its stock to tank to $22.

Naturally, there has been a slew of conspiracy theories floating around on how the new CEO plans to clean up the company. For instance, I heard Transportation might get sold off. Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

Personally, I’m hoping to get laid off. I’m just tired of the rat race. Of course, I’m also at my wit’s end with my team. Just about every day my boss comes up with some crazy idea, and I’m the poor idiot who has to waste several hours of my life trying to make it happen. It’s just not fulfilling work. Who the hell gives a shit about locomotives at this point? Of course, I don’t care about consumerist principles anyway, so I’m never going to derive pleasure from making toys.

However, I know most people are stressing like crazy. After all, Americans are obsessed with their jobs. You wouldn’t believe the types of questions people have been asking in the panic. Wake up, people. There’s more to life than your shitty job.

Song of the Week

Alright, I think I can call it quits on the ranting for the week. As usual, I have a song of the week for everyone. Again, I’m going with a recommendation from a friend: Laika by Boston Manor.

I’m not sure I like them yet, but I’m giving them a chance.

Coming Soon to The Renegade Coder!

I know I say this a lot, but I’m taking a short break from writing. I have about 34 articles in the pipeline now, so I might publish one within the next week. However, I don’t have many plans other than that.

As always, I’m going to keep plugging my new tutoring program. Please share with your friends!

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Jeremy Grifski

Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Today, he pursues a PhD in Engineering Education in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch and Phantasy Star Online 2, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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