Dear Book Therapist,
I graduated from college recently and I was lucky enough to get a full-time job within a couple of months that lets me pay the bills and my student loans. I work in admin for a very large non-profit. I know I should feel grateful that I got a job with benefits right out of school but I feel like I'm losing my mind from how bored I am. I just wish that one day was even a little bit different from the next. I feel crazy from how much I just want to just walk outside and feel the sun on my face and not come back. Is this just what adulthood is like? I imagine doing this for decades and I feel terrified. No one else seems terrified. What's wrong with me?
You don't know it yet, but you are being confronted at this moment by your witch-alligator. The titular dog in William Steig's 1972 classic DOMINIC encountered his own a short time after deciding he was bored at home and striking out on his own. A witch-alligator stands at a fork in the road, looking freaky and toothy, wrapped in a shawl, offering to give you more information than you want for 25 cents. Dominic's told him which road to follow to find an adventure. Yours is not giving you that kind of helpful advice yet. All she is telling you is that if you keep going the way you're going, you will suffer. But that's enough.
You have a problem to solve: you need to find work that is meaningful to you. But you're not going to be able to solve that problem if you stay locked in shame about the fact that you need more from your life. Dominic did not waste a moment wondering if there was something wrong with him that caused him to bore so easily. He just focused on solving the problem of his boredom.
Is life supposed to be boring? No. Are all jobs like this? No. Hold on to yours for now, and keep looking for what you need. Notice the people around you who have been in the same line of work for a long time: what's working for them? Notice when you feel a twitch of envy toward someone else's life: what do they have that you want? And budget carefully for now, because whatever change is coming, it will help to have some money in your savings account. Godspeed.
PS: Late capitalism makes us feel grateful just to stay afloat, keeps us living on margins so narrow we can't entertain change, and turns education into a barrier to entry instead of a tool for development. Consider investing some portion of your energies, no matter how small, into dismantling this. You will feel better.