20. Breaking-up with a Company
I was hired on by two large corporations following my internship. I have spent 4 years of my life working with corporations to produce products. Giving up these career paths improved the quality of my health, the communities health, my independence, and my action towards supporting my values. This was a life-changing experience for me; quitting was a decision I had to be confident about. I may have spent years preparing for a specific career, but I can change. I have learned over the years that if I want change, I have to be that change, and support it.
We dedicate the majority of our lives to our work. Therefore it’s not a shock how much our careers affect our health, environment, and community throughout life. We ran 24 hours, the goal was to make as much profit as possible. Spending over 40 hours a week at work and then mentally still not leaving work. The physical environment of office work can deprive humans of vitamin D from the sun , cause acne  (lack of sleep/breaks, spread of germs at work and commuting, low exercise), lead to consumption of unhealthy “convenient” foods (to usually save time/energy for work) which could also result to dental problems for the individual. My point is, many work environments and habits are not natural for humans and that can have negative consequences for the individuals. Some simple improvements for employees might be adding a sky light, eliminating air pollutants caused by work, regular cleaning, providing healthy, sustainable, and nutritious meals, and providing quality break/re-energizing time…
It is no surprise an internship experience can be stressful. However, I noticed a large amount of my co-workers were still expressing signs of anxiety and depression. I don’t blame them; there are multiple studies that state that these work environments cause a more-than-doubled risk of a major depressive episode . I always felt pressured to work over-time, lead and participate in corporate events, and anything that would increase my chances of getting promoted. Not realizing what it was doing to my health.
I became more depressed and anxious at work and outside of work. I did not realize that my work environment could be a major contributor to my health and wellbeing. Times have shifted since technology entered the society. Phone calls, voicemails, texts, and emails can now be sent at anytime. Making it difficult for employees to disconnect from work. This can lead to high anxiety, stress, and panic attacks. Disconnecting myself from my work is very beneficially for my mental health. In France, they even have a legislation to promote it . A new study, in the journal PLoS ONE, shows that people who work 11 or more hours a day have a more-than-doubled risk of a major depressive episode .
The majority of people I know work because they have to; not because they want to. They have bills to pay and a family to feed. It can become more about finding a job to survive rather than to finding a job that you want to contribute to. If your job is causing negative health problems to you and your community, is it really worth supporting?
Evaluate before investing your time:
Is it ethical?
Does the process/product hurt life or support it?
Is it sustainable?
Is it a bandaid for a bullet wound?
Is it necessary for natural life?
Are their values your values?
Do their values align with their actions?
What kind of change do you want to see?