Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fatty McHeartAttack

I live in one of the most obese cities in the fattest country in the world (take a quiz here).  It is no surprise that everywhere I look, beautiful pictures of high calorie, high fat, high carb, low quality, “food” crowd my view.  With all the temptation, it is amazing I haven’t blown up like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.
Since I have climbed back on the ground chuck wagon, I have found that healthy is hard.  I should have remembered this from the last billion times I abandoned vegetarianism for meatatarianism because of my cravings for greasy, fatty flesh.  I can promise you that every time I have gone back to meat, I have done so with pledges to only eat lean meat, only a couple times a week, and only in small portions.  I am in breech of contract with myself.  Just this weekend two of my three meals on Saturday were double quarter pounders with cheese from McDonald’s - I later gave myself a quintuple bypass.
Samantha and I swear that McDonald’s is addictive.  Sometimes the craving is so strong, it is all I can think about.  I can imagine the Big Mac recipe actually looks like this:
Two all beef patties (crack), special sauce (heroin), lettuce (coke), cheese (meth), pickles (opium), onions on a sesame seed bun (nicotine).
Today, after my weekend binge, I had to get a quick bite in between teaching lessons.  My options were plentiful - Waterburger (which is how I always pronounced it as a kid), Sonic, McDonald’s, and Chick-Fil-A.  On my way to the Chick-Fil-A drive through, because it is healthy (yeah, right), I passed the McDonald’s.  The next thing I knew, I was ordering the number 3 - Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (oxycontin).  My rationale was that the line at the Fil-A was too long.  I think the real situation is that McDonald’s has a tractor beam and I was caught in its snare.
As I was gorging myself on the half-pound of beef, I couldn’t help by notice the caloric content on the empty fry carton - 380.  That got me wondering about the burger.  I hadn’t seen it on the sides of the carton or the top.  I had to finish the burger first in order to flip over the greasy box.  How many calories was it?  780.  Throw in my Dr. Pepper and I basically consumed the combined daily calorie intake of the Victoria Secret Angels.
Regardless of the restaurant, fast food is not quality.  One of the methods nutritionists suggest using to figure out which foods are good for which body part is to see what they look like.  Walnuts look like the brain, carrots the eye, celery the bone, etc.  What does a smushed up patty of ground beef look like?  Nothing I remember from anatomy.  The only thing that comes to mind is the by-product excreted by one of our body parts containing indigestible portions of our food along with solid waste from our cells.
If I were a cow, I would be mad that this is how I ended up.  I guess the only solace the expired cattle can take is their eventual revenge: heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US.
Unfortunately, despite all of this information I have at my disposal, am I done with fast food?  Probably not.  It is too easy, too convenient, and too cheap (but not so cheap we don’t trust it).  While I can make claims, promises, and pledges to do better, my addiction to Fatty McHeartAttack will sneak up again and steer me in the wrong direction - right into the drive through line at the local McDonald’s.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teaching to The Test

One of my readers wanted to know if there was a way to offer high school students the chance to learn “real life lessons.”  This is a very excellent question, as it seems many high school students emerge from school without a clue how to operate in the adult world.  The reader was careful to phrase the question in a way that didn’t suggest public schools should be the only responsible party for educating high school aged kids in real world issues; I agree.
One of the problems I always had in public education was the trend to teach to The Test, whatever The Test was.  For academics, The Test meant standardized testing - in Texas that meant the TAKS test.  Administrations push their faculty to make sure students are at a level where they can pass The Test.  Because the focus is on passing The Test, students in general are pushed to pass, not exceed.  
The focus is on numbers, making sure certain numbers in certain demographics (sub-pops in educationese).  Each school has to make sure so many of each group passes otherwise their overall numbers are affected.  Programs would be initiated targeting particular students in those sub-pops who were thought to be on the verge of passing.  If they could be pushed over the edge, then continued funding based on ratings would be guaranteed (oops, did I say funding).
See, the reason is all about money, not children.  With No Child Left Behind, funding has now been tied to performance.  Some districts have chosen to include bonuses based on class performance on The Test - which I applaud - but which doesn’t seem to go far enough by rewarding teachers who go above and beyond in their teaching (not necessarily their time or efforts) separate from The Test.
The Obama Administration has recently issued an order allowing states to opt out of the NCLB requirements conditional upon the state providing acceptable alternate requirements and programs to raise student achievement.  This is the Obama Administration’s way of side-stepping teaching to The Test, allowing states to determine their own path to student achievement.
In music, teaching to The Test means only aiming for the UIL contest, only teaching the kids the required skills to earn a First Division at marching contest, solo and ensemble, or concert and sight reading contest.  In programs that teach to The Test in music, students emerge from the program devoid of the ability to develop a practice plan, absent of individual motivation to better themselves, or without a strong appreciation of music that carries through the rest of their lives.  
No matter the subject area, teaching to The Test shows students that aiming for average is enough.  I think this is one of the “real life” skills high school students need to develop, and school is not the only arena for this skill to develop.
I began to learn at home that working “just enough” wouldn’t get me anywhere I wanted to go in life.  My parents pushed me to do well in school, helping me when I needed it, encouraging me to find my own way when appropriate.  I was involved in team sports to learn that working with others was important; learning how to work with others was primary to success.  I was part of sports teams that did both, and looking back now, can see the results reflected the coach’s philosophy.  I learned that individual hard work develops character through activities like competitive swimming and later, music.  One of my mentors - Dana Pradervand - taught me the value of hard work by drawing my name from a hat and then drawing the chromatic scale from another.  I hadn’t done the work and couldn’t play it in front of my peers.  I contribute the next twenty years of musical pursuits to this one moment - she taught me that hard work leads to reward.
I am not suggesting anyone push their child to the breaking point.  You have to know your children and you have to know your students.  Keeping track of their stress meter is important.  In today’s environment of zealous over-scheduling, parents and teachers have a responsibility to make sure their kids are involved, becoming educated, and developing life skills, but not so much that they collapse under the pressure to perform.  Finding the point at which you operate at your premium is important - we have to help them find it.
Other “real world skills” are learned outside of the home and the classroom.  I worked two jobs in high school - Ci-Ci’s Pizza and Tom’s Ribs Barbecue.  One was a corporate enterprise who seemed to only care for the franchise values and the cash in the register.  The other was a private venture, focused on high value, good service, and customer satisfaction.  At Ci-Ci’s, I was a sixteen year old who didn’t necessarily matter.  It seemed as if doing just enough was fine - so that was all I did.  At Tom’s Ribs, I felt like we were encouraged to develop our skills, and were rewarded for doing so.  We were aware there was a standard and we were expected to exceed it.  The owners and managers understood they were dealing with teenagers, but they treated us like proto-adults, helping to guide us through adult decisions as we learned our skills.
Students also learn “real life skills” from their social interactions.  As much as we would like to protect them from dangerous situations, they are nearly inevitable.  At some point in their life, every high school student will have to deal with issues involving sex, drugs, alcohol, or violence.  Arming them with the tools to make the best decision in each situation is the best we can hope for.  These “real life skills” can’t be practiced or rehearsed, but they can be discussed.
Finally, students will make mistakes.  They will choose the wrong path occasionally;  guiding them back is our responsibility.  Showing them how to find their own way later in life helps future success.  Those who have no one to help guide them will fall through the cracks.  Showing them how to deal with their mistakes and how to avoid making them in the future is key to their adult success.
If we only do enough to get by in the lives of the young people over whom we have influence, if we only Teach to The Test, we are guaranteeing an average future for them.  Only hovering near average means failure is always near, and success seems like a dream.  We can help those who are younger than us see that success is much closer than that if we only imbue them with the skills they need now.  Teach to The Student, not just The Test.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fun Factory

When I was little, like many people since the 1960s, I played with Play-doh.  I enjoyed clumping it up, stretching it, rolling out into long cigar shapes, building Play-doh people and dancing them around.  I am pretty sure I have probably eaten Play-doh.  In elementary school, I was excited to make edible play-doh out of honey and peanut butter.  There is part of me that wishes I could find the recipe (then I remembered the internet and looked it up - here).
Play-doh had tools as well.  One of the most popular was one of the first - the Play-doh Fun Factory.  This extremely simple device had one function - taking your balled up mass of doh, smashing it down, and extruding it through a mold, creating all sorts of fun shapes and sizes.
For much of our lives, we are like Play-doh.  We are passed from institution to institution, social group to social group, each shaping us to their own traits and characteristics.  As we pass from each group to a new one, we take elements with us, and slowly we craft the person we will become.  These experiences are the Play-doh Fun Factories of our lives.
Sometimes, we feel as if we are forced into shapes and designs we would rather avoid.  Watch a school classroom.  Many of the students would prefer to be somewhere else, with different people, engaged in a different activity.  They are in school because their parents tell them they should be there or because they would get into trouble of they weren’t.  But, because they are there, through the Fun Factory they go, emerging on the other side as responsible adults ready for life’s challenges (or so we hope).
Other occasions, people attempt to force us to conform to their idea of life.  I remember as a young teacher I tried to convince all of my students that they should be a music majors and band directors.  It didn’t take very long for me to understand that we all have our own paths to follow.  Unfortunately though, sometimes we ignore our own passions and conform to the ideals of others, sometimes we express ourselves through the life we want.  Your level of happiness is determined by which side of this coin you fall.
One of my readers recently expressed celebration at stepping outside of the Fun Factory.  He had been in a position where he allowed others to pressure him into a particular path, following what society demanded instead of his own heart.  He says he found “a lot of pressure to be conventional rather than doing what’s right” for him.  By choosing to determine his own path instead of allowing the pressures of his peers and colleagues to force him into a position he didn’t prefer, he chose happiness.
Many of us have gone through similar situations in life, preferring to conform rather than be different.  Instead of following our passion, we do what we think is the easiest option, finding ourselves on the path to unhappiness.  All it takes is a step back in the right direction to find ourselves again.  
Stepping out of the box can be hard.  In my own experience, while debating the decision to leave public school teaching, I frequently considered what others would think.  I worried how my kids would feel, what my colleagues would think, how my college professors would react.  I actually avoided the topic for as long as I could with some of my mentors; I was worried I would disappoint them.  All it took was one of them (Eddie Green, for those of you who know him), to casually mention to someone that I wrote a blog, and that I would be pursuing writing instead of band directing for me to get past my fear.  
It honestly floored me to know that one of my mentors, one of my heroes, knew I had chosen a different path without me saying anything about it.  Next was the realization that he wasn’t bothered by it, and in fact seemed encouraging that I would pursue something that made me happy.  From that moment on, I felt peace about my decision.
Everyone conforms in some way or another.  The Play-doh Fun Factory will have its way with us.  What matters is that you find a shape that fits you.  It doesn’t matter what shape other people have, or what shape other people think you should have.  Find your own shape and find your happiness.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Discovering What Matters

The reader inspired topic this week centers around the question - are we pursuing what matters?  I believe this question has many layers anyone could spend a life time exploring.  I will do my best to summarize it in 1000 words or less.
Discovering what matters really lies at the root of the question.  Your opinion of what matters will be different from mine, and both of ours will be different from that of our parents, our friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and from people across the world.  Our  opinion of what matters is informed directly by our experiences, our knowledge, our faith, and our biology - none of which are identical.  
Additionally, discovering what matters means that we need to narrow the scope.  Are we speaking on a global scale, a scale specific only to our species or to life in general?  Are we addressing what matters within our particular country, faith group, state, community,  or family?  Or is this a scale best discussed on an individual level?  All of these facets are important, and ultimately weigh in on our individual decision of what seems to matter most in our life.
Ask yourself what matters to you.  Many of you will be able to provide some sort of surface answer quickly - my family, my religion, financial security, etc.  I challenge that these are not real answers, but merely surface reflections of what lies deeper.  Humans tend to lack the strength to share, particularly with themselves, what their true thoughts and feelings are.  We hide behind the layers of flesh covering our bones, believing that simple consideration of what we truly hold in our hearts will make us appear weak, abnormal, and ultimately susceptible to injury.  I am the same way.

If you allow yourself to dig down deeper and find the truths you keep locked away, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found out a couple of things about yourself.  First, you love yourself more than you think.  This is healthy.  By loving yourself, you are then able to express that love through your actions.  If you have ever noticed, the people that seem the least able to give love are the people who have the least love for themselves.  Rediscovering your love for yourself will help you discover what matters.  It will allow you to find out where you prefer to direct your external love.
This will lead to the second thing you will discover about yourself.  You love other people more than you think.  Now, I am speaking in a holistic, humanistic, way, and not in a romantic way.  By first discovering that you have hidden away your permission to love yourself, you unlock the ability to love others.  Additionally, you will find that your love extends beyond the human race, encompassing all of creation.  Through this love, your actions are directed for the benefit of the world.
You might be thinking now, how does this answer the question of what matters most, and are we pursuing it?  It answers it in the most simple way possible, breaking the question down to its purest form.  Love is what matters; once again, not just romantic love, but uncompromised, unconditional love.  Our actions are then directed to seek the best for others, sometimes at the sacrifice of ourselves.  I am sure you can see this in the faiths of the world, no matter which faith you observe.  This is also evidenced in evolutionary studies - no species can survive when it destroys itself or its environment.
So, to answer the reader’s questions - are we pursuing what matters?  I would say no.  Too many of us are pursuing what matters to our surface, to our flesh, to our selfish desires.  We seek out that which benefits the fewest instead of that which benefits the most.  We work to attain temporary satisfaction instead of lasting internal happiness.  
I lump myself in with the rest.  I am in no way a perfect being, and while I am unafraid to use this forum to offer others the opportunity to find a better life for themselves, it doesn’t mean that I am there already.  I know I have a long way to go.  I know that I have built the mirage of a flawed reality upon that which is pure, but I work to reveal a little bit more love everyday.  This is the only way I know to pursue that which matters.  Somedays I fall down, but I pick myself back up and work to avoid the same missteps again.
I believe that if we were all to consider this approach, to consider this sort of introspection, we would find that our families, communities, states, faith groups, countries, and universe are centered in love.  This is how we pursue what matters.  By looking inside first, then sharing with everyone else the love we have found.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - A Mourning Full of Hope

Today’s blog is hard to write.  September 11 means so much to so many, and the unique way it touches each of us makes it hard to explain to others.  Just thinking about the people involved that day makes the feelings swirl around inside, unsure of direction.  I am sure you understand how I feel.
The morning of September 11, 2001, I was at home, asleep in bed, when my phone rang.  My girlfriend at the time was calling, telling me to turn on the television, that a plane had accidentally struck one of the towers of the world trade center.  I got up and moved to the living room in time to see the second plane hit, waking up to the realization that we were under attack.  The rest of the day, I sat on my couch, glued to the screen, eager to know more.  I didn’t know anyone in New York, but my Grandpa lived in DC, so I called around to make sure he was ok - which he was.  One of my friends turned twenty that day; I never forget his birthday.    
Over the decade since the attacks, we have all had many opportunities to consider the events of that morning.  Personally, I am less struck by the sheer numbers that perished that morning than I am the choices many of them made that lead to their deaths.  This impression is what drives the most significant emotion I feel through the last ten years of memories - hope.
Why hope?  
There have been many times I have asked myself the same question.  Why not any other emotion that would make just as much sense - anger, fear, rage, hate?  Certainly, many people would say that I would be perfectly justified to feel negative emotions, and I would agree that the circumstances surrounding 9/11 would suggest them, but I am glad the emotion to surface from the maelstrom of feelings inside is hope.
Hope is an emotion that drives us towards the future.  It is a feeling generated by our positive opinion of those around us.  Hope pulls us forward and lifts us up.  Hope generates faith.
But, let’s talk about the others - anger, fear, rage, and hate.  The attacks were carried out by men who felt these feelings, were in fact driven by them.  Anger, fear, rage, and hate are emotions which soak in, envelop you, and become your reason for living.  These men were comfortable with the idea of killing innocents because of anger, fear, rage, and hate.  Had I emerged from September 11 with these feelings rooted in my own heart, I would have a future no brighter than that of Mohammad Atta.  
For an event so surrounded by violence, I find it amazing that I can pull hope from amidst all the negatives.  My hope is summed up in two words - “Let’s roll.”  These were the last words heard from Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer as the passengers on that plane revolted against their captors.  His words summed up both the character of America and the human drive to make the hard decision.
Personally, I am amazed at the decision to sacrifice for the greater good.  It is this decision that gives me the most heartache and the most hope.  The passengers of Flight 93 choose to sacrifice their own lives to protect others.  I have immense respect for their decision and tears come to my eyes anytime I think about it.
In the same spirit, New York City Rescue workers made the same choice.  As they rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center, the possibility of further attacks still existed.  Any one of them could have turned back at any point, making the choice not to go into harm’s way.  But they didn’t.  They kept going, knowing that their efforts could be the difference between life and death for thousands.  Many of them gave their lives in the effort.
The hope I feel is for the future of America and for the future of mankind.  The decisions to sacrifice personal safety, and ultimately their lives, demonstrates the intrinsic human ability to do what is right in the face of extreme danger.  I know we all have this ability in our hearts.  While we might not be faced with such dire circumstances as each of these heroes, we still are challenged daily by decisions that share the same basic question - do I put the benefit of others in front of myself?
How many daily opportunities do you have to help someone else, but don’t?  I know there are many times every day that I choose not to help someone else in need.  The universe provides us with frequent opportunities, whether it is holding the door for someone, helping them pick up something they dropped, giving a smile to brighten a day.  While these actions are tiny compared to those of the 9/11 heroes, they are a beginning; they are seeds that can grow.  Eventually, our actions can take on more meaning and have more significant impact.
The hope instilled in me through the sacrifices of September 11, 2001 reveals that we are able to put the welfare of others in front of our own interests.  I have faith we as a nation and as a species can live the same principals our Heroes have exhibited in our daily lives, whether our circumstances are mundane or extraordinary.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And He Was Running . . . for Office

I know he isn't running, but I
couldn't resist.
One of my readers asked whether or not he would have a chance if he chose to run for office.  In the spirit of the pre-primary season we have swirling around us, I think this is an excellent question.  When I was younger, I used to fancy that I would be the youngest President of the United States ever.  The earliest age at which a person could be voted into the office of President is 35; I have three years left before I have to kick off my campaign.
Today’s national election process is less about values and more about money.  The upcoming Presidential campaign is estimated to be the first billion dollar campaign.  With the creation of Super PACs and the legalization of unlimited campaign contributions, corporations and foreign entities now have the ability to donate as much money as they like, provided the Super PAC does not officially have an affiliation with a designated candidate.

Because of the new provisions on campaign finance, running for office has become more expensive than ever.  The questions my friend has to answer are pretty simple - 
  1. Does what I have to say appeal to people?
  2. Will my political positions benefit anyone, and how funded are they?
The first question is important because a candidate needs to be able to cater to the masses.  My friend would have to make sure he has a clearly defined message, carefully articulated to encompass the beliefs of a large bloc of people interested in being politically active.  With the 24 news cycle, his message will instantly go viral, even were he to only run for local office.  The message he will preach from his political pulpit doesn’t necessarily have to be one he believes in, but if he convinces the masses that he believes in, and they believe it as well, then he is as good as elected.
You can see this in today’s candidates.  The political climate has changed from four years ago, we are more polarized, with each side of the aisle stepping farther and farther away from each other.  The candidates on either side will echo the party sentiment, whether or not they were that extreme in their last election.  Their values might not have changed, but the polls suggest their position needs to.
Ultimately, the answer to the first question will also answer the second.  If your message appeals to the right people, the money will come pouring in.  Your message doesn’t necessarily have to be the most popular, the most well put-together, or even the most realistic.  If your message appears to benefit those who have the most financial stake in the game, they will jump to your side, form a Super PAC with unlimited funding and unofficially support you.
This is why values no longer seem to play a part in our elections.  America is a nation founded on capitalist values which dictate that the dollar is our almighty, our reverend, and our highest idol.  Those who have the most dollars have the largest sway because they have the most to gain and the most to lose.  They see political campaigns as investments in the future and they want those investments to pay off.
So, to my reader friend who aspires to political office, you only have to answer two questions to know if you would ever succeed in claiming political office.  If the answer is yes, by all means, go for it.  I will even form a Super PAC in your name.  But, of course, I won’t officially support you.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reader's Month - Labor Day

Welcome to Reader’s Month on Being Frank.  The topics for September’s blogs have all been suggested by my awesome readers.  Thank you to everyone who submitted!  If you don’t happen to see your topic discussed during the month of September, never fear, I plan to periodically plug in the remainder of the topics in the following months.  If you didn’t get a chance to make a suggestion, email me at, send me a tweet @fxciv, or facebook message me.  Thanks again!
The first Labor Day parade ever.
As we all enjoy our three-day weekend, I would like to take a moment and point out the history behind the holiday.  Labor day is a celebration of what has made The United States of America great - the worker.  The holiday began as a celebration in New York City organized by Labor Unions in the 1880s.  The popularity of the holiday caught on and quickly expanded, becoming a Federal Holiday by 1887.  Labor day was a celebration of the hard working spirit of the American worker, of the progress industry was making, and the brotherhood that workers the nation over shared.  They featured parades sponsored and organized by local labor unions, picnics, and speeches, calling attention to Americans that the worker is what has driven the United States to enjoy such lengthy prosperity.
Unfortunately today, we are in the midst of a shortage of jobs.  The August jobs report was neutral with employers hiring as many new workers as they eliminated.  July wasn’t much better.  Fears of a double-dip recession are prevalent even though the economic growth hasn’t reversed.
Interestingly enough, we are caught in an odd cyclical pattern.  Corporations are scared to hire because demand for their products is too low, demand is low because consumers are unwilling to spend, consumers are unwilling to spend because of the insecurity of the job market, the job market is insecure because employers refuse to hire, employers refuse to hire because . . .
See how that works?  We are like a skipping record, repeating the same bit of music over, and over, and over, and over.  When this happens on a record player, you pick up the needle, reset it, and the music plays again.  Historically, the government has been the entity to do this, resetting the needle through an infusion of cash.  The end of the Great Depression came as the result of the combination of social work programs and the military industrial machine.  Tons of money dumped into our economy, workers found new jobs, pockets were stuffed with cash, demand jumped, and the cycle was broken.
The 1980s broke their recession in a different manner, choosing to infuse cash through supply-side economics - cutting tax rates on the wealthy, simplifying the tax code, and reducing capital gains taxes.  The only similarity between the two is the military-industrial complex.  Regan’s administration mirrored that of FDR’s by expanding the military budget funneling money into the private sector through military spending in an attempt to break the back of the USSR.
The problem we face right now is no different than either of the two situations before, the only difference is that our political leaders refuse to find middle ground.  The New Deal was paid for by a historic tax increase on the wealthy, filling federal coffers through taxation, enabling the government to support federal spending increases without incurring debt.  Reganomics was paid for through deficit spending, increasing the publicly held debt by a factor of 3 during Reagan’s two terms.   
Our current political situation won’t allow either of these options.  Maybe we should take matters into our own hands.  If every household in the US could find an extra $50 to spend each month (which I know is probably asking a lot), we could generate nearly $70 billion in spending over the next year.  While in the larger picture, $70 billion is not an incredible amount of money, if that money was spent entirely on employment, it would create 1.75 million $40,000 a year jobs over the next year ($40,711 is the national  wage average), lowering unemployment by approximately 1%.
We have the power to control our own destiny.  Too often, we bend our wills to those we have placed in political office, choosing to believe everything they tell us, respecting their opinion without consulting the facts or our own conscious first.  
We shouldn’t wait until next November when we can make a change now!
The first change I think many of us need to make is to find joy in our own employment.  As many teachers broke their summer mentality and made the trek back to their campus, they were forced to suffer inservice after inservice.  Facebook lit up with complaints about being forced to sit through meetings, alterations in campus policies, and general educational malaise.  While I can certainly empathize with every one of these complaints as I hated inservice, I hope everyone can keep perspective - you have a job.  Enjoy the fact that you can hate inservice, you can hate the TAKS, you can hate STARR, you can hate your admin, your counselors, your band parents, your staff, your students, etc.  Revel in that hate in as positive a spirit as you can because you have gainful employment.  
If you consider that there are approximately 100,000 other teachers in Texas alone, and 14 million people in the US who envy your situation, I would hope your feelings might change.  And, if you dislike it so much, take the leap, get out and let someone else have a job - I did.  If you want to stay, and this goes for anyone who works, make the best of it.  Find joy in things you can control and let go of the things you can’t.  Make your job a place you look forward to going to.  If you can’t, at least it is a paycheck, and find happiness in that.
Choose to control your circumstances and feelings.  On this Labor day, celebrate the workers - both those who have jobs and those who want them.  Find a way to help the situation both internally and externally.  You might find that you are more powerful than you thought.