#2. It Exercises Your Sense of Standards
Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images
One of the easiest traps to fall into when you're not working is steadily letting your environment go to hell. Part of it is because it's simply harder to take care of -- if the majority of your day is spent at work, you're not there to fuck up your house. But I think a bigger factor is that you don't have someone standing over your shoulder, telling you to get off your ass and get that shit cleaned up. There's no one there to hold up the line and say, "This isn't good enough. You can do better. And for the love of God, put on some pants."
When left to our own devices, many of us will let a lot more slide than we would if we were doing the work for someone else, but exercising those standards helps keep our minds sharp and active. If you're sitting at home, it's pretty easy to leave a half-eaten bucket of chicken skins on the computer desk, because who the hell are you trying to impress? It's your house, you'll pick it up later. Then two months pass, and your entire living room is filled with petrified fast food and radioactive rats.
Anup Shah/Photodisc/Getty Images
You'd better hope one doesn't bite you. The powers you gain aren't even close to awesome.
There should never be a time in your life where you are your own supervisor or do your own quality control. Even business owners have customers to answer to, and if they can't comply with their standards, they lose the company. And that's kind of the point when talking about a job that supplies those people for you -- it puts you in that frame of mind. "I have to do this right, or my boss will punt me right in the crotch."
That stays with you, even if you don't act on it. Your house may look like shit, and you may not do anything about it, but your brain is sharp enough to know it. It's not about the action; it's about the mind. But take those authority figures away, and we turn into 1990s slacker stereotypes. Might as well put on a pot leaf T-shirt and write songs about your dad.
Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"This one's called 'My Dad Threw Away My Pot Shirt.' Hope you like it."
#1. It Improves Mental Health
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
I don't know anyone on prolonged unemployment who didn't eventually fall into depression. The longer you go without a callback, the more worthless you feel. You see yourself as a burden to the people who are carrying the financial load. Even if you take some time to de-stress and physically relax, your mind doesn't -- it's constantly nagging, "You could be out there right now putting in applications and resumes. You are an ass-douche and everyone hates your feet."
The longer you go, the more vicious the cycle becomes. Depression sets in, and you find it harder and harder to get out of bed each morning. In turn, that makes you feel worse, because you just know that everyone is thinking you're a lazy sack of shit. It feeds on itself like a dying star until it finally collapses and the whole house gets sucked right into your asshole.
OK, the analogy breaks down a bit there, but you see what I mean. Having that job not only gives you a sense of worth, but keeps you active, and in my experience inactivity is the pig shit that fertilizes your field of depression corn.
Even in tedious settings like working an assembly line or filing paperwork, you're in motion. Your brain is focused on the immediate task at hand, and not on all the ways your life is a burden to everyone around you. Unless your job is "people burdener," in which case ... um ... keep up the good work?
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
Damn, he's putting in some overtime. Must have a vacation planned.
I understand that not all of this is going to apply to everyone, and some of you have said "no shit" a few times while reading it, but I've known way too many people who see a job as a source of income and nothing more. Then, when they're out of work, they're genuinely baffled as to why the whole world seems to be caving in on them all at once. If I had known this shit 20 years ago, maybe I'd have spent more time growing up and less time mastering Killer Instinct and cursing the universe for not paying me for it.