The Groundhog Day Theory

bill-murray-groundhog-dayIf you’re a late twenty-something like Elijah and I, then chances are you remember a movie from the early 90’s called Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, in which Bill Murray’s character relives February 2nd day after day.  It’s a hysterical movie, until you start living it.

I have always dreaded working full time.  Ever since my very first job at a movie theater when I was fifteen, I remember working the entire march break and looking forward to going back to classes – pretty twisted huh?  It’s been like that with every job I’ve had since.  My theory is that with most full time work, everyday begins repeating itself at some point and in my day to day, it’s unbearable and sometimes uncanny how repetitive my work is – this was the primary reason I went back to school in the first place.

I took a year off after high school to “find” myself, and what I found was the wonderful world of low end retail and realized I had to get myself an education – so that’s what I did.  To the chagrin of my parents,  who wanted me to do something more practical, I chose to pursue a degree in Interior Design.   The decision was easy because it’s something I’m passionate about, good at and I thought it would prevent employment  monotony to be doing something I love.  This unfortunately is not the case.  I am working now for a reputable, Swedish home furnishings giant, and although I love the people I work with, I cannot shake that ugly Groundhog hovering over my shoulder.  It’s even gotten to the point where I’m seeing the same people in the morning on my walk to the subway.  There’s shuffle man, who shuffles his way to the park along with his golden retriever.  The skinny jogger, who is doing the same stretches before his morning jog, and the little man on the train who wears shoes that are too big for him and eats his breakfast of fruits out of a Tupperware container with a toothpick.  Either I have a problem or there’s a pattern here, or maybe both.  This isn’t even touching on my day to day responsibilities at work.  If there’s one very important thing I’ve learned from my job, it’s that human nature is unbelievably predictable.  Although change and renewal are boasted, there’s not much diversity in my position.  Everyday just repeats itself.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not to say that working full time is bad, it’s just not my thing and I think a lot of people feel the same way I do.  I went into the design field because I wanted variety and creativity and I’m starting to discover  that I won’t get that unless I do it on my own.  The most obvious con being the lack of health care coverage as an entrepreneur, but I’m willing to take that risk in return for mental sanity.  If I were to work for myself as hard as I do for someone else, I could accomplish so much more and reap the benefits directly.  The main objective of course being to keep myself fresh and wanting to do my work.  Picking when and where I work (coffee shop, the park or in the car before you get to the cottage), what my work consists of and what my next project will be.

The movie itself is great, but the messages that can be found are even better:

  • Educate yourself on a daily basis
  • Discover what excites you and embrace it
  • Don’t wait until you tire and eventually dread your existence – do something about it now
  • Don’t eat Groundhogs 🙂
  • Just because no one else is aware of the repetition it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening
  • Tomorrow is another day, try something different

This is my theory and I’m sticking to it.  My days of waking up to the alarm clock playing “I got you babe”  are soon to be over.

Stay classy,