Commiserate: Responsibility on Your Worst Days

Every time I go home to visit my family, my 4 year old nephew bitterly complains to me that he wants to be an adult.

He hates that he doesn’t get to eat candy for dinner, he resents that he can’t go to the park and play at a moment’s notice, and it drives him crazy that a bunch of old, large humans get to tell him what to do.

I keep trying to tell him that being an adult really isn’t as fun as being a kid, that it’s a giant pile of never ending responsibility.

But, he won’t believe me.

It’s got me thinking about those really bad days that we all have; the ones where even brushing your teeth feels like a herculean task.

So, let’s commiserate about it, that way we all have some solid examples to share when the grumpy 4 year olds in our lives start to complain about how hard they have it.

The Morning Alarm

The familiar sound of your alarm ringing fills your ears, and in the same moment your heart fills with dread.

You hit the snooze button…and again. You hit it as many times as you can before you have to get up for work.

It’s your first indication that it’s going to be a bad day.

Now, there’s no time to shower. Ughhhh.

And no time to eat. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

All you can do is throw on the first appropriate clothing your find and run out the door, hoping you get to work at a reasonable time!

An Inbox Bursting With Emails

You get to work…more than a few minutes late. And of course, this is one of the rare times that your boss is waiting at your desk with something important.


When you finally get to stop making awkward, judgemental eye contact with your passive aggressive boss and log into your computer, you’re horrified when you actually have to scroll down to find the end of your unread emails.

Looks like you missed a lot this morning.


And great, there are at least a few emails complaining about something that went horrendously wrong.

Lots of fires to put out.

Great, great, great.

A Mile Long To-do List

So, you get to work making a to-do list to organize all shi…I mean, wonderful tasks you have to do that day. And when you look at all the ink scrawled across the page, it makes you want to cry.

You really don’t have enough hours in the day, and it looks like you’ll be staying really late to get everything done on time.

How much you have to do is one of those paralyzing realizations. One where instead of just getting to work, you can’t help but waste time feeling really, really bad for yourself.

Then, when you realize you’re wasting the precious seconds of your day wallowing, a feeling of guilt begins to chokes up and make the desire to procrastinate in your misery even stronger.

The Horrors of the Human Voice

You finally accept your fate and lean into your day with full force.

But there’s a person in your office, a vile person in every office who seems to have a sixth sense for work getting done.

The kind of evil person who seems to view headphones as an invitation to chat.

They find you, and start to talk about plans for the weekend, and office gossip, and the stale donuts available in the lunchroom.

As they keep finding new topics of conversation (despite the lack of reciprocation on your end) all you can think about is the clock ticking away on your day. And their voice starts to sound like feral cats screaming in an ally. It’s an unsettling, horrifying sound that you just don’t want to hear anymore.

It’s not like you haven’t suggested several times that you have a lot to do today, but the chip that processes delicate hints appears to be missing from their brain.

There’s no hope.

Fake Plastic Smiles

You want to lose it, but unfortunately there’s this disease called ‘socially acceptable behaviour’ that stops you from doing the logical thing and telling the office gossip to get lost.

Instead, you do what people expect in a conversation, and plaster a big, fake smile on your face. And you just wait for them to run out of breath, or sense some other poor fool with the audacity to get some work done.

It begins to hurt.

Why can’t you just say what you want? Why do you have to be an adult anyway? Why can’t you just flip your desk, shake your co-worker by the shoulders, and scream: “WHY CAN’T YOU TAKE A HINT”, in their face.

But, since you’re already in bad standing with your boss today, essentially assaulting one of your co-workers probably isn’t the best idea.

Day Dreaming of Bed

You decide to think about something positive. Eventually this day will end. Eventually you will get to go home. Eventually you will get to take off your stupid, work appropriate clothing and climb into bed.

Such a soft, wonderful place where you don’t have to answer to anyone and nothing ever goes wrong. A place where emails and responsibility cease to exist.

Just focus on that wonderful thought, and you can make it through the day. You can!

Cooking Dinner

Finally! The day is over and you finally get to go home. That beautiful dream of ripping off your pants and slipping into bed can now become a reality.

But there’s one last problem standing in your way. You’ve barely eaten all day and you need to get something for dinner.

What are the options?

You could cook. But you’re exhausted and the thought of even having to turn the stove on makes you want to have a tantrum.

You could go grab something. But even that requires too much energy. Spend more time travelling in rush hour? There’s no way you’d get home in a reasonable time to eat, relax, AND get to bed early enough not to be exhausted tomorrow.

You could order in. But, the healthy place you want to buy from doesn’t deliver, you’ll have to spend so much more (min order, delivery fee, and driver’s tip) just to get unhealthy food that will make you happy for five seconds but ultimately take untold time off your life.

What did you just spend all day working for if you’re going to spend a quarter of what you made today on one meal?

But look at the clock. Screw it.

You don’t really have a choice at this point.

Just hope tomorrow will be better!


As always, let me know how much of this commiserate article resonated with you!

And before anyone comes for me, yes, I could have made this article 5 times longer and more relatable if I added stuff about kids. But, a) ain’t nobody got time to read a 5000 word article, and b) I don’t have kids, so it’s not an experience I really know yet.

Instead, let me know about your experiences in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Commiserate: Responsibility on Your Worst Days

Add yours

  1. “fake plastic smiles” – love it! I’m surrounded by backhanded compliments and passive aggressive communication and give at least a few fake plastic smiles daily. Grad school is apparently a lot like the professional world.
    Now, I’m gonna go listen to some Radiohead…


  2. Umm yes yes yes! I couldn’t agree more. I think every morning my alarm goes off my heart can’t sink any further and then it does. And the emails oh the endless emails, save me! And hold you breath when you login after vacation:-/


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