Twenty-something depression at work: how to get over the 9-5 blues

Typically, I’m a huge advocate of finding ways to make your own way in the world. I’d rather not work at a “job”, or report to anybody except myself. But I can definitely see how sometimes it’s necessary to take this path temporarily in order to get certain goals accomplished. If anything, just to build up some seed money to eventually go out there and do your own thing. That’s what I had to do.

At the same time, being stuck at a job for 30+ hours every week made me feel like a caged tiger, ready to attack.

Actually, thinking about the experience of working at a job that depressed me makes me think about this carnival I went to with my grandma when I was maybe…5 or 6. There was this tiger sitting on a flatbed trailer, with a dinky little chain around his muscled neck, and all the kids were taking pictures with him for $5. He just sat there, despondent, as he stared off into the distance. Shit, maybe he was tranquilized. But I couldn’t help thinking to myself…”This predator could kill any one of us with mere swipe of the paw. Why doesn’t he?”

I think that even tigers can be tamed into ambivalence and lethargy. That’s why we must be careful, friends.

Here are 2 things I used to keep my spirits high even during times when working somewhere I didn’t like had me down in the dumps:

1.) Exercise, preferably outside.

Yep, it sounds cliche…but there is a very PHYSICAL release of endorphins when you’re purposely exerting your body. Here’s the thing…and don’t get offended:

We are animals. You are an animal.

And just like that tiger at the carnival, your body craves physical freedom of expression…even if your mind does not know it. Even if your physique doesn’t show it. In Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind he talks about how humans are psychologically and physiologically wired to outlast predators. Now, after thousands of years of evolution…we ARE the top predators.

When was the last time you felt like a predator? Regardless of being out of shape, you are the greatest killing machine on the planet. Hate to be gruesome and all, but it’s true. We may not be the strongest or fastest land animal, but combined with our unique minds were are the best fighters on the planet pound-for-pound.

Take advantage of that. Go out and hone the vessel that holds these great gifts. It will definitely take your mind off the BS at work.

2.) Get passionate and deeply involved in something.

Remember when we were kids, we got a toy and we were REALLY into it? Think about the level of passion a child has for even the simplest things. When a child is playing a game that they like, they REALLY like it. So much so that massive amounts of tears are often associated with the absence of that toy/game/activity. Kids have PASSION.

As we become young adults, I think that we become so bombarded with things that we have to do, that we forget the things we want to do. Even college can seem like a giant to-do list. Do this class, need this credit, take this course. Blah, blah, blah.

When was the last time you had an activity to do that was so exciting to you that you literally couldn’t sleep the night before? The kind of activity that literally makes you SPRING out of bed in the morning. It’s probably been a while.

Your task: find that passion again.

I want you to forcefully make some free time in your day and start investigating things that you might be passionate about. Go all out, man. Maybe you just saw Jamie Foxx play the cello in the soloist and thought to yourself “That was freaking amazing. It would be so awesome to learn that.”

Don’t just think it. Go out and do it.

With the advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) at places like Coursera and Udacity, there’s even Ivy League level classes out there to be taken….for FREE! Do yourself a favor and find something, even just ONE thing that makes you so excited… that gets you so completely amped… that even at work, you’re daydreaming about racing home to go do it. And if you get good enough at your passions,you can even learn to make money by teaching your skills to other people. That’s been my focus for the past year or so. Then you can really quit that 9-5. Sweet!

Aren’t you worth that type of passion?

If you can get outside, hone your physical body and identify something that you really, REALLY like to do…then the hum drum of work won’t be so hard because you’ll remember that work is just something you’re doing in-between passions.

Go out there and find it.

What type of passions would you like to pursue that you have been putting off?


Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel is the founder and CEO of Rich20Something. A millennial business mastermind, he has successfully started three consecutive freelance businesses and scaled them to over $100K in revenue with zero startup capital. His work is regularly featured in Time Magazine, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fox News, and Yahoo! Business. His debut book, Rich20Something, publishes on May 2, 2017.