The Hillbilly Heretic

If you evolve you never stop learning.

Archive for the month “February, 2016”

5 Steps For Guys To Regain Career Happiness

The story is the same for many, you graduated, started a job, it turned into a career. You’ve been successful, and you’re good at what you do. You provide for your family, you’re respected, and you are depended on. It seems you have everything under control and everything you want in life. Awards, recognition, and an annual raises are all regular occurrences in your life. 5careerhappiness

The problem is you’re miserable.

This certainly isn’t the faults of our families, and it isn’t the fault of the companies.

Where did we go wrong, when did this happen, why do we feel trapped? I’ve done everything I thought I was supposed to do in life; worked hard, provided for my family, and started planning for my retirement. For many men, we find ourselves doing only what we think we are required to do. Our personal happiness is often left on the side of the road somewhere to make ourselves feel like providers or protectors. 

This certainly isn’t the faults of our families, and it isn’t the fault of the companies we have dedicated our lives to. The issue isn’t finding fault at all or even a place to lay blame for our unhappiness. The key is to find out why are we really unhappy and find ways to solve it. There will be no relief for anyone if we continue to wallow in our self-pity and feelings of unfulfillment. The unhappiness is there, and if you don’t find a solution, it will continue to eat at you, maybe even to the point you do something detrimental to your career and the livelihood of those who depend on you. 

The answer may simply be finding happiness in what you are already doing. This isn’t what most of us in these circumstances want to hear. The easy answer today is to say, “find freedom” “create happiness” “live your passions” and nobody wants to face a reality that sometimes it isn’t the job, it’s you. Believe it or not, even in today’s society of living for yourself and an almost cult-like following of self-centeredness responsibilities still exist. Those responsibilities don’t go away because you decide that you should have become a magician instead of an investment banker. 

So you’re unhappy, you’re unsatisfied, and you’re ready to quit your job. How do you reignite the passion you once had and find the desire to continue to be the best you can be? It’s not easy but there are some steps to take that can help you get there.


Identity what the real issues are— Every problem has a root cause, you don’t suddenly wake up one day hating your life and your career. It’s a set of circumstances that build up over the course of months or even years that convince you that your chosen career is not only unfulfilling but meaningless. There is an unhappiness that has built up, usually in several areas of our lives that push us to the point that we decide we have to do something drastic to get our lives under control again. 

Eliminate as much debt as possible— From my personal experiences, the times I had the feeling of restlessness and unfulfillment in my job were when I had allowed debt and monthly bills balloon out of control. Nothing will make you believe that you are in the wrong line of work like being underwater in debt. The sinking feeling is unbearable, and when panic sets in, we begin to think irrationally. In our minds, we decide that to get out of this debt, we need a new better job that will pay more. So obviously we have to make wholesale changes in our lives, and that means a career change. 

Recognize the good you do provide— I’ve heard it many times, “what I do doesn’t matter to the world” meaning they don’t feel they make a difference. I have had that feeling a few times. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what you do in life; somehow it touches someone else’s life. In some small way, you have the ability to make someone’s life better by what you do, you have to identify that and understand that without you and people like you then the world isn’t a better place. 

Reevaluate your life outside of work— What are you filling your spare time with? Do you have real quality time away from the office? Coming home kicking off your shoes and flopping down in the recliner seems wonderful at times, and occasionally isn’t a bad idea. However, if all there is to your life is work and television, your sense of fulfillment is going to be pretty empty. Find a hobby, get involved with your children’s schools, take your wife on weekend adventures. Whatever it is, find something away from your job that helps shape who you are as a person. 

Understand risk— I certainly don’t want anyone to think I don’t believe in chasing dreams or following your hearts. What I am saying is that you should never go into anything uninformed. Too often we only hear the positive stories of people who have taken risks and decided to follow new paths. The biggest thing most of those success stories have is people that were prepared, educated and a sufficient backup plan. You must understand for yourself and your family what the entire risk of such a decision is. Knowing the goals are easy, to understand what happens if you fail, is altogether different.


The truth is, all of us have in us the ability to be successful at anything we put our minds to. I know that our heart has to be in what we do to be fulfilled. For many of us, though, uprooting an entire life’s work is not always the answer. When so much time, energy and effort have been put into building a foundation for a career, we have to be willing to, at least, evaluate the situation on a much broader scale. 

Happiness doesn’t always have to be out of reach.

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4 Things A Man Battling Depression Can’t Say

Over the course of my life especially before I started to get treatment I have had times that depression and anxiety would almost completely shut me down. I was still able to appear alive and well but inside there wasn’t anything but what could only be described as terror. The kind of fear that only allows you to see doom and everything in life ending badly. It’s not a great feeling at all, but the effect it had on those around me was just as difficult for me to take.

My wild mood swings put strains even on the best relationships. It was usually written off as moodiness or just a generally bad mood, but it was so much more. Those of you who have struggled with this terrible affliction will understand. The problem, however, is that for those aren’t cursed with this disease sometimes have a difficult time accepting that it is out of the control of the person affected. What seems minor to you gets blown way out of proportion to us, and reactions seem so overblown and out of line.

In my worst moments, I was a horrible human being, that couldn’t be reasoned with or comforted. I would throw out all the common decency that I had and unleash hell on whoever happened to be there. If you made the slightest mistake or said the wrong thing at the wrong time you saw a different side of me, one that I am not proud of.

Those times were difficult for everyone, especially me. In my mind even while they were happening I was screaming at myself internally to stop, just stop! But I couldn’t, I didn’t know how, and sometimes I wondered if I really even wanted to.

There were a lot of things that I said in those moment, most of them I regret but the problem was all the things I couldn’t say. The things that simply wouldn’t or couldn’t come out of my mouth. My brain wouldn’t allow it, my feelings held them in place my depression locked them in a place that I couldn’t access. For a lot of us, men especially it is difficult to fully express our emotions, feelings and thoughts. When you mix in depression and anxiety those things become a near impossibility.

In those moments, there were things I simply couldn’t say no matter how hard I tried. Many men have the same struggle and it’s important to recognize when that is the case.

We can’t say what’s wrong– When someone is in a bad mood, or seems to be upset about something many people want to try to fix it, especially wives. The only way they say they can help is if we tell them what’s wrong. The problem is we don’t know, we haven’t the foggiest idea what the hell is wrong. We know deep down that whatever the trigger was probably wasn’t the real issue. We really want to be able to say what’s wrong, we want to calm down and get over it but we just can’t.

We can’t say we’re sorry– In the heat of the moment in the middle of an episode of depression or anxiety we probably say hurtful things. We may have even made you cry, and we are sorry we just can’t express it. At least, for me, it was a defense mechanism to somehow prove to myself that I was right about whatever illogical thought was running through my head. The apology usually comes later, and even then it’s difficult and usually comes in some other form. The problem is that it’s usually too late and the damage has been done.

We can’t say we need space– I never could anyway, even when I knew I was in a bad place mentally I could never express that I needed some alone time. This is actually when the most hurtful thing I could say came out. It wasn’t that I meant any of it, it was that I needed to be left alone, I needed space and I needed time to gather myself I just couldn’t say it. I know that sounds ridiculous and somewhat childish but it’s true the more I was pressed the most vicious I could become until I had pushed someone away.

We can’t say we need help– This is all too true for many men with mental health problems. We still live in a society that looks differently at those who admit that there may be a problem. Our culture is changing but it is changing too slowly. We are taught at an early age not to show weakness and this only exacerbates the difficulty searching for treatment. When we finally do admit to ourselves that something isn’t right, we are still unable to express that to anyone else. It took me a very long time, too long, to be able to admit to anyone and seek treatment. The time I wasted cost me some really great experiences and opportunities. The regret will always be there.

I am certainly no mental health expert, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do know how this awful disease has disrupted my life and the life of my family. It’s not something I am proud of and the hurt I have caused may never be fully forgiven. All I can do moving forward is to take care of myself and work to get better every day.



Originally posted on The Good Men Project




Five Ways to Tell You’re Not a Complete Screw Up as a Dad

Five Ways to Tell You’re Not a Complete Screw Up as a Dad

Most nights I come home from work and the house quickly erupts into chaos, if it isn’t in that shape before I get home. Three sons all under the age of 13 tend to bring that type of atmosphere. A full-time job and a wife that is heavily involved in the kids school and sporting activities means we are all busy and at times overwhelmed. Then add the fact that we are currently hosting an exchange student from Italy and you understand we are a busy family. Finding quality time for each other at times is hard, finding personal time for ourselves is a near impossibility.

Few nights go by that someone doesn’t cry, or go to bed upset. A lot of nights it’s me! So through all the chaos and hurt feelings, and occasional screaming fits, again usually me, I sometimes look at myself and my family and think I am a complete failure as a dad. It’s at these moments I really have to take a step back and look for things I am doing correctly.

So in those times, I have observed some things about my sons that give me hope that I am not completely and totally wrecking their lives. Hopefully others will be able to find these things in their own households. These are the five things that help me believe I am not a total screw up as a dad.

My kids tell the corniest jokes— They tell the dumbest most ridiculous jokes in the world, but they find them hilarious and so do I. There’s nothing better than an eight-year-old trying to tell a joke while laughing at himself because he knows the punchline. Sometimes it’s just a word that makes him laugh, usually it is something like booger or poop.

They have a firm grasp on sarcasm—This one tends to be more subtle but when you realize they are becoming students of the art of sarcastic expression, you can rest assured you’ve done at least something right. In a sick sort of way, I get a great deal of pride and pleasure when one of my kids cuts me to the bone with a sarcastic remark.

Negotiation skills are finely honed— You know that your job as a parent is progressing toward success when you realize that through the course of a conversation with your son, he somehow persuaded you to change your mind. This can be achieved in different ways usually depending on age. The two-year-old, just screams at us until we relent. The eight-year-old usually employs the sad face and the faux act of surrender by slowly walking away, slumped down with the occasional glance over the shoulder to see if we’re watching. The twelve-year-old, has developed a hybrid approach that include a combination of the skills learned at the younger stages, however now he uses his own brand of preteen logic to convince or simply confuse us into an agreement.

They love their mom— I as a dad find myself much more liberal in my approach than the generation that raised me. I tend to let things slide that would have found me sentenced to the Gulag. Those are usually things that in the grand scheme of life won’t matter tomorrow. One thing I wouldn’t tolerate is disrespect and especially disrespect to my wife. I am fortunate though that I have three sons that do their very best most days to show their love for her. I know that my kids love me, and I know that my relationship is different with them than with their mother. It does however warm my heart to see one of them curled up next to her on the couch or simply wanting to be near her while she is in the room.

They love each other—Sure they fight, fuss and scream at each other. They go out of the way to annoy each other to the breaking point. They live to torment one another, and each of them would rather die than allow one of their brothers a millisecond of peace. However the moments when they don’t know you’re watching, and you see the love, be it a kind comment, the sharing of candy or even the occasional I love you, I know that something has gone right, that day at least.

I know I have made a lot of mistakes with my kids, I’ve said things I shouldn’t have, I have ignored them when they needed me and I’ve been a general ass to them at times. Overreaction sometimes is my middle name, and complete freak outs have been heaped upon them. Many of us have made those mistakes, and while we can beat ourselves up about the missed opportunities or the mistakes, we should never forget to recognize the things we have done right.

With each passing year, it becomes painfully clear how little time I have to influence their lives. I know that soon they will be on their own and dad’s advice won’t be something they are required to follow. I can be encouraged now however when I see the positives and be that much more diligent in dealing with the negatives. I have to remind myself occasionally that I am not a dog trainer or a computer programmer, I am a parent. I can’t train them into obedience, and I can’t program them to be perfect. Many of life’s lessons will have to be experienced, what I can do is prepare them to be ready for those moments.

So when they are grown and hopefully making good decisions and living a positive life happy in who they are. I will be solidified in the knowledge that I did something right.


Originally seen on The Good Men Project



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