Among all the definitions of a rat race this one is striking. “A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing meaningful either collectively or individually.” I have run in this race before, and I am sure you have done the same.
You struggle through school; come out with a very good result, struggle to get a job and get to the zenith of your career, struggle to get married, struggle to buy a car and build a house. The struggle never ends. And at the end death comes knocking and that is it. The struggles end. It is a rat race!
Our society encourages competition among peers. This has generated more stress for some people. When your friend buys an expensive car, your rat race instinct gets activated and you begin to worry and make plans to buy a better car or a similar brand. I told myself “am not in a competition with anybody”.
SIGNS YOU ARE READY TO LEAVE THE RAT RACE
Have you had enough of your monotonous job, the stressful rounds of meetings, and wondering if this is what life is really about? Then here are some signs that it is almost certainly time to take a break, escape the rat race and do something better.
Sign No. 1: You no longer enjoy your job. What better reason is there to move out of that job and look for better opportunities? Once you have lost interest in your job, your stress – response mechanism becomes activated. The rat race can actually make you lose interest in your job. When you see your peers progressing at a fast rate, you become tempted to leave your job and get into another job with better pay. Even when it does not suit your interest. New, exciting and tempting opportunities are all around you.
Sign No. 2: You are totally demotivated. Your expectations for next month’s financial projections may once have gotten your juices going, but not any more. You have reached a point of no return and giving yourself pep talks – about ‘hanging in there’ and ‘waiting for things to get better’ – just don’t work anymore. Your salary is nothing to write home about when compared with that of your peers.
Sign No. 3: The daily job has really become a daily grind. When just getting to and from work is consuming all your day, with traffic jams, road works and rising fuel prices all set to make things worse. You barely have time for your family and friends.
Sign No. 4: You are not feeling fit to work. It may just be constant tiredness or it could be something more. Whichever, you never seem to have the energy you need for your work, for yourself or for your family and now you feel ten years older than you actually are.
Sign No. 5: You developed bad habit because of work stress. Going out for a drink has resulted into something more than expected and having a drink after work is not just for relaxation anymore, but has become a means to hide all the frustration and dissatisfaction experienced while at work. You are slipping onto a dangerous road and you know it.
Sign No. 6: There is never any time for you. All your time seems to be spent jumping through hoops that others are holding. So many deadlines to be met and meetings here and there. You are exhausted, burnt out without even being aware of it.
Sign No. 7: You have started to feel afraid. To worry about losing your job or concerned that you cannot keep it up any more. This is because you feel you have not updated yourself on the latest development in your field of interest and that you will soon lose your value.
Sign No. 8: You have begun to react to things that should not wind you up. You react to every small talk and things that should not make you agitated. All sure signs that you are under stress and out of balance with what you truly want and desire.
Sign No. 9: You can feel the space between you and your spouse is getting wider and the barriers between you and your kids are getting higher. And there is never enough time at home to repair the damage your job is causing because you are working at weekends too. You know you should not blame your family for feeling resentful, but what has to be done, has to be done.
Sign No. 10 You know you are good, but the opportunities seem to keep going to others. You are being ignored. You know you have got skills and experience, plenty of ideas, and with the right motivation you know you could get somewhere. But those in the rat race with you have decided to perpetually keep you in that position.
When you see these signs then it is time to take that drastic step to escape the rat race and be stress- free.