The Silicon Valley Voice

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Depressing, Ain’t It?

You know what’s really depressing? The fact that your job is really depressing. Really! I feel your pain. With all you have to put up with, it’s no wonder that you feel down.

What’s amazing is the way you keep your unhappiness to yourself. In your situation, the average person would do nothing but complain. That you can limit your grumbling to coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, lunch breaks and all the time in between — well, that makes you a hero in my book.

Unfortunately, all the complaining in the world is not going to make your job better. Let’s face the facts — you have an awful job, a terrible life, a miserable personality and your wardrobe kind of stinks, too. Taken together, it’s a life so bleak that a weaker person would have long ago taken the ultimate step and applied for a job at the post office. (Of course, if your current job is at the post office, you don’t really have any ultimate steps left. Sorry.)

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But there is hope. If you can’t make your job better, you can feel better. All you have to do is find some jobs that are even more depressing than yours. It won’t be easy, but thanks to Tammy Worth, a columnist at Health.com, we now have a list of “10 Careers with High Rates of Depression.”

In the spirit of positivity, I suggest we look at some of these downer gigs and see if we can find at least one job worse than yours.

According to author Worth, the No. 1 depressing job is to be a personal-care provider, with “nearly 11 percent of people in this field reporting a bout of major depression.”

Beyond the general ickiness of changing diapers for infants or oldsters, the root cause of depression in this job is dealing people who are “incapable of expressing gratitude or appreciation.” Sound familiar?

As Worth so rightly concludes, “it is stressful, seeing people sick and not getting a lot of positive reinforcement.” Considering the sickos to whom you report, and all the appreciation you never get, it’s no wonder that you’re depressed.

Artists, writers and entertainers are also a very depressed lot. “These jobs can bring irregular paychecks, uncertain hours and isolation,” writes Worth, which is a pretty good description of your job, as well. Believe me, there’s nothing “regular” about the pittance you are paid. (I’m a writer, but I am not depressed. When I think about your horrible job, I feel positively giddy.)

You’ll be surprised by another highly depressed group of workers, because they’re a major reason why you’re so depressed. That’s right! We’re talking about the “administrative support staff.”

If you think the delays and foul-ups you invariably face when dealing with the IT and the HR departments leave you despondent, consider the fact that these very same co-workers are occupied with the 7th most depressed occupation. “They are on the frontline, taking orders from all directions,” according to Deborah Legge, Ph.D., a licensed mental health counselor, “but they are also at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of control and everything filters down.”

No wonder the staffers in these departments work so hard to make everything so hard for you. They know that they are dealing with the only person in the company lower on the totem pole than themselves.

Maintenance and grounds workers are depressed because “they are often paid little for a tough job that can include cleaning up other people’s messes.” Considering all the management mess-ups you are left to clean up, spending the day unclogging sewers and picking up dog poop would be a vacation.

Workers in the financial industry are also depressed. It’s due to the stress they feel caring for our life savings. This explains why bankers so regularly screw up our financial lives. If they lose all our money, they have less to stress over.

No. 10 of the top 10 worst jobs can be found in the sales department. It’s the uncertainty that gets fierce sales-force warriors feeling depressed, plus they may actually feel guilty in trying to promote your company’s junky products and terrible service.

In conclusion, it looks like your job is much worse than any of the top 10, which means your depression is totally justified, and the best you can do is to make others miserable, too. So be happy and spread good cheer. It will make everyone else depressed — guaranteed.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@funnybusiness.com.

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