I read Andre Agassi’s book Open: An Autobiography earlier this year for my savvy reading challenge. While thinking about my new series staying relevant over 50 I couldn’t help, but think of Andre Agassi.
The surprising thing you learn early in Agassi’s book is he hated playing tennis. From an early age when his dad bought a fire breathing dragon contraption that shot tennis balls out of its mouth he hated tennis. Tennis was his dad’s dream not his own.
Andre thinks a lot about what he can control in tennis and in life:
I tell Perry that I having no choice, having no say about what I do or who I am, makes me crazy. That is why I put more thought, obsessive thought, into the few choices I do have – what I wear, what I eat, who I call my friends. (Pg. 66)
I obsess about the few things I can control and racket tension is one of them. (Pg. 13)
The time has come. I need to take control of my money. I need to take control of my F***ing Life. (Pg. 114)
I find peace in his claim that perfectionism is voluntary. Perfectionism is something I choose, and its ruining me, I can choose something else. (Pg. 189)
And lastly, his life and his tennis (he was losing a lot) didn’t improve until he chose tennis:
I play and keep playing because I choose to play. Even if it’s not your ideal life, you can always choose it. No matter what your life is choosing it is everything. (pg. 359)
Agassi also began using the money he made from tennis to make a difference. In 2001, Agassi opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a tuition-free charter school for at-risk children in the area. According to Wikipedia, he personally donated $35 million to the school.
Do you feel trapped in your job? According to Forbes, 52.3% of Americans are unhappy with their work.
From time-to-time I too feel trapped in my job. My husband retired last year and ever since we’ve been bombarded with unexpected bills; ranging from helping a family member, to dental and medical expenses to a new vehicle for me. Plans of early retirement continue to get pushed further into the future.
What can I do?
I can change my attitude and choose my job. I can remember why I decided to become an accountant – I thought it would be a reliable and lucrative career. And be grateful that for the most part my career has been both. I can try to stay present at work instead of writing blog posts in my head all day and I can help others.
From time to time I ask Frank how he is managing and he breaks down and tells me not good. That he never lets his wife see his anger or his fear. I listen and suggest he look into signing his wife up for Medicare (she is 68) and a supplemental plan – and don’t judge why he hasn’t done this already or why our HR manager hasn’t suggested this.
I also find it helpful to leave work at a reasonable time, go to the gym and use my vacation days.
Frank has to choose his job too. He has made the decision to continue working until his finances are under control and in the process has become difficult to work with. Management will only put up with a difficult employee so long. If he truly wants to meet his goal he will have to change his attitude.
Do you feel trapped in your job? How do you cope?
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