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6 too-real comics show what happens when work gets too heavy

Finding a good balance between working and relaxing can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be.

Image courtesy of College Humor

A reason to be late... tasty treats.


Everyone gets antsy about their jobs sometimes.

Maybe you notice you're less motivated than usual. Maybe you acknowledge that you're no longer going the extra mile, and you're not quite sure why. Maybe professionalism is a term you've long since forgotten.

For many of us, the struggle can be so, so real. That's why Willie Muse wrote these all-too-relatable comics for College Humor, illustrated by Karina Farek.


These six funny comics perfectly illustrate what a typical first day at your job looks like versus the 101st day:

1. Who doesn't look at at least one viral video a day?

music, work, employee rights, jobs

To tune or not to tune.

Image courtesy of College Humor

2. You suddenly find the time to fit in a breakfast sandwich.

breakfast, fast food, time

How do you miss out on a breakfast quickly served?

Image courtesy of College Humor

3. You go from wanting your boss's approval to hating his or her guts.

boss, employee, friendship, community

Getting to know your coworkers...

Image courtesy of College Humor

4. All the details that were once so important become nuisances.

job requirements, nuisances, work vacation

An evolution in responsibility and ethics?

Image courtesy of College Humor

5. Your (lack of) motivation can take you from hero to zero — quick!

motivation, work-life-balance, career

When an opportunity evolves into a responsibility.

Image courtesy of College Humor

6. And you most certainly DO NOT want to end up like this.

advice, labor, qualifications

Getting on the right side of fear.

Image courtesy of College Humor

Let's be real: These comics are funny, but they also aren't ideal.

In a perfect world, we'd all have jobs that still look and feel like Day 1 on Day 101. And one of the only ways to get there is to intentionally strive for a life that's full of work-life balance. We really do have the power to not let things play out like this.

What can we do?

At a most basic level, we can make sure we're getting enough sleep, eating well, and doing at least a little exercise. We also shouldn't underestimate the benefits of detaching from computer screens and smartphones every once in a while. Plus, we can also minimize our stress levels by not multitasking and instead concentrating on one task at time.

The most overlooked advice for maintaining a healthy work-life balance is to actually take time off.

Disconnect from your daily work routine. Make a conscious effort to recharge.

Perhaps if we dedicate more time to enjoying life outside of work, there's more of a chance that we'll be on Day 1 for months, feeling grateful for our jobs rather than impatiently waiting for the clock to strike 5. Let's get to it!


This article originally appeared on 10.25.16

On the morning of Friday, June 30, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) got some pleasant news about a policy he's long supported: increasing the minimum wage.

After learning the Minneapolis city council agreed on plans to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, Ellison recorded a celebratory video for his constituents, picking up a guitar and singing a version of "Money (That's What I Want)."

"I've been marching for my 15," sings Ellison. "Gettin' paid, now that's what I mean. I need money. That's what I want."


While he likely doesn't have any Grammys in his future, watching Ellison joyously sing is delightful — even more so because it's for an incredible societal win.

"Today, Minneapolis took a big step toward renewing the promise of the American Dream," Ellison posted to his Facebook page.

"'The American Dream' should mean that in a country this prosperous, nobody who works for their living should live in poverty. Yet today, working a full-time job at minimum wage doesn’t lift an American worker out of poverty — it keeps her in it."

Ellison speaks at a 2013 demonstration calling on for a minimum wage increase. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

At a certain point, the minimum wage was enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. Now, it's not enough for a single person to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S.

Minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation, and as a result, many full-time employees earning it struggle to get by. Income inequality and profit distribution will continue to change in the years to come. It's important for government officials to find ways to adjust and help Americans reach their potential. We must fight to protect the core American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As Ellison said: Working a minimum-wage job should be a stepping stone out of poverty instead of the reason people are stuck in it.

The fight for a $15 minimum wage is a start, not a finish.

But today, let's enjoy a little music.

In July 2015, Jens Rushing — like so many people — took to Facebook to rant about something.

Rushing, a paramedic, wrote an angry post that has since gone viral in reaction to fast food workers winning a $15/hour wage. But instead of getting angry that his skilled job only pays him the same amount as those in fast food, he stood in solidarity with the underpaid workers and had this to say to everyone complaining about the wage increase:


"That's exactly what the bosses want! They want us fighting over who has the bigger pile of crumbs so we don't realize they made off with almost the whole damn cake."

Check out the text of his full post below — it is as relevant today as it was in 2015 and will be until a living wage is common for everyone:

"Fast food workers in NY just won a $15/hr wage.

I'm a paramedic. My job requires a broad set of skills: interpersonal, medical, and technical skills, as well as the crucial skill of performing under pressure. I often make decisions on my own, in seconds, under chaotic circumstances, that impact people's health and lives. I make $15/hr.

And these burger flippers think they deserve as much as me?

Good for them.

Look, if any job is going to take up someone's life, it deserves a living wage. If a job exists and you have to hire someone to do it, they deserve a living wage. End of story. There's a lot of talk going around my workplace along the lines of, 'These guys with no education and no skills think they deserve as much as us? Fuck those guys.' And elsewhere on FB: 'I'm a licensed electrician, I make $13/hr, fuck these burger flippers.'

And that's exactly what the bosses want! They want us fighting over who has the bigger pile of crumbs so we don't realize they made off with almost the whole damn cake. Why are you angry about fast food workers making two bucks more an hour when your CEO makes four hundred TIMES what you do? It's in the bosses' interests to keep your anger directed downward, at the poor people who are just trying to get by, like you, rather than at the rich assholes who consume almost everything we produce and give next to nothing for it.

My company, as they're so fond of telling us in boosterist emails, cleared 1.3 billion dollars last year. They expect guys supporting families on 26-27k/year to applaud that. And that's to say nothing of the techs and janitors and cashiers and bed pushers who make even less than us, but they are as absolutely crucial to making a hospital work as the fucking CEO or the neurosurgeons. Can they pay us more? Absolutely. But why would they? No one's making them.

The workers in NY *made* them. They fought for and won a living wage. So how incredibly petty and counterproductive is it to fuss that their pile of crumbs is bigger than ours? Put that energy elsewhere. Organize. Fight. Win."













The Austin family in Concord, New Hampshire, went through a roller coaster of emotions shortly after the ball dropped to ring in the new year.

Their fourth child, a son named Cainan, was the first baby born in the city in 2017, at 7:44 a.m. on New Year's Day.

Hours earlier, around 1 a.m., father Lamar Austin also lost his job, via text message no less. But he told the Concord Monitor, "Sometimes you lose something and you get something even better."


Lamar with his new son, Cainan. Photo provided by Lamar Austin, used with permission.

Austin made an honorable choice to put family first. His former employer made a choice too — one that sounds heartless, but was legal.

An Army ammunition specialist who served six months in Iraq, Austin struggled to find steady work to support his family after he left the service. He had bounced around a variety of jobs, from crossing guard to fryer manufacturing, and relied on support from veterans programs and his local church community. "It’s been tough, but God has always provided for me when I needed it," he said in an interview with the Concord Monitor. "Some kind of help always came in the strangest forms."

In the fall of 2016, he received an opportunity to put his military training to use at Salerno Protective Services, a private security firm based in New Hampshire. Austin was hired on a part-time basis for a 90-day trial period, during which he was reportedly expected to be on call 24/7.

Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire. Photo by John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons.

The problem is much, much bigger than Austin and this one company.

Even if Austin were a full-time, salaried employee with an expectation of job security, it might not have mattered.

New Hampshire is an "employment at-will" state, which essentially means contractual employees can be terminated from a job at any time, without reason. Some states do have limitations on this law, but not the Granite State.

New Hampshire recognizes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but for Austin and his family, it wouldn't be enough. Even working full-time at that wage, he would gross just over $15,000 a year, which is well below the poverty line for his family. While New Hampshire might have a low unemployment rate, underemployment is a different story — and the situation can be worse for veterans.

Furthermore, the United States is one of the only developed nations that doesn't guarantee paid parental leave after the birth of a child. Some U.S. companies do choose to offer maternity leave (or at least unpaid time off with a job to return to), but paternity leave is still hard to come by.

The CEO of Salero Protective Systems did admit to an "error in judgement" one week later, and while he and Austin have reportedly made peace with one another, it doesn't change the fact that things like this have happened and will continue to happen as long as the law allows it.

The whole Austin family together. Photo provided by Lamar Austin, used with permission.

Austin's termination was unfortunate. It was also nothing new. This time, however, people are paying attention — and that could make a difference.

Local politicians, including State Senator Dan Feltes and Executive Councilman Andru Volinsky, have voiced their support for both the family and for family-friendly labor policies in general.

Sara Persechino — a Concord resident and total stranger to the Austin family — was so moved by their story that she launched a GoFundMe campaign to help them out, raising more than $8,000 in the first five days. "I don’t think anyone should ever have to choose between their family and their job," she told The Independent.

Even more, Austin has been offered several new job opportunities from people who were touched by his story. Representatives from the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers chapter and the AFL-CIO labor federation reached out to encourage him to take advantage of the flexible and family-friendly support nets offered by their respective unions. Austin would still have to start as an apprentice as he hones his trade, but skilled labor could be just what he needs to find steady work.

Austin hasn't made any decisions just yet, as he is focusing on being a good dad to newborn Cainan and a good husband to his wife, Lindsay. He already knows that no matter what happens, he'll always have his family — and that's what matters most.