It was around seven on Tuesday evening. My girlfriend, Joanne, and I had already eaten dinner. Now we were both sitting on the living-room couch, watching a Love It or List It rerun on TV.
I was reclined with my head tilted back, and as the show played out, I started to snooze. It had been another long day on the lawn-cutting crew, and I was sunburned and exhausted and unable to keep my eyes open.
Joanne and I had an ongoing agreement: She’d let me snooze as long as I didn’t start snoring and drown out the show. If I did snore, she’d yell “Peter!” to startle me awake.
I’d bolt up, my eyes wide. Then, after a few minutes, I’d stretch out and drift back to sleep, and the whole routine would start over again.
When the commercials came on, Joanne muted the TV and called to me. “You awake, Peter?”
“Mmm,” I murmured, my head turned and my eyes squeezed shut.
“I have something I want to tell you,” Joanne said. “I know you’ve been miserable at your job lately and that you feel stuck. I also know that you’ve been applying for other jobs and haven’t been hearing back. So I set up an appointment for you to see a life coach.”
Both my eyes shot open, and I sat up. “A life coach?”
Joanne nodded. “Yeah. Just someone you can talk to who can give you guidance and help you to figure out what you want out of life. I don’t want to see you stuck on the lawn-cutting crew forever. You’re capable of so much more.”
“How much is this appointment going to cost?” I asked.
Joanne gave me a dismissive wave. “Don’t worry about that. It’s a one-time deal. Consider it an early birthday present.”
“Well,” I said, “if it’s a present you were looking to give me, I’m not particular. I would have been happy with a new pair of jeans and some underwear.”
So the following week, I went to see the life coach. She had an office in a tall building downtown. The receptionist greeted me, and after waiting for a few minutes, I was invited into a well-furnished, brightly lit office.
“Call me Nancy,” the coach said, reaching across the desk to shake my hand. She appeared to be in her mid-fifties, and she was tall with curly hair and thick glasses. “Please, have a seat. I’m looking forward to chatting with you.”
I sat in a plush, leather chair. Nancy sat down and smiled.
“So,” she said, “I understand you’re feeling stuck?”
I nodded. “Yeah. I’ve been feeling that way for a while.”
“OK,” Nancy said, clicking her pen and jotting something on her notepad. “The first thing we need to do, then, is identify those areas in your life where you’re feeling trapped. Tell me, can you describe the major block that’s preventing you from feeling happy and satisfied at work?”
“Well, yeah,” I said, frowning. “That’s easy. It’s the job itself!”
“Ah.” Nancy clicked her pen and scribbled some more. “In that case, I believe the solution is simple. You just need to find another job.”
Joanne was waiting for me when I got home.
“So,” she said, a large, eager smile on her face. “How did it go?”
I walked past her. “Next year,” I said, “just get me a pair of jeans and some underwear. Please.”