The Watch Your Step Blog

Kyle Grappone, Public Speaker and Book Author

The Monetization of Misery

Every talk I give, every blog I write, is centered around why I talk about what I talk about. I started this journey because of the alarming trend of people who hate their jobs and how society has normalized this behavior. You are expected to hate your job and most people are seemingly convinced that there is no way out of this daily struggle. If you look even further, you will see that not only is this way of thinking normalized, it’s being commercialized, marketed and monetized. Your misery is making some people very wealthy.

This evening I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across an ad for a new show on Comedy Central called ‘Corporate’. The trailer was short but the gist of it was about how people hate their corporate jobs and there is nothing they can do it about it. The idea of being miserable for a living is so relatable, they are making TV shows about it. Furthermore, I believe that the top commercial sponsors for this show will be companies that are looking to cash in on this trend of dissatisfaction. Miserable white collar worker is becoming a target audience. It has become as if people need certain products to escape their unhappiness, the same way they need certain products to stay clean and healthy. I see a lot of companies trying to lessen the burden of being unhappy at work, but I see far fewer companies trying to solve the problem altogether. Why is it that we have accepted this as fact, and would rather try to dull the pain than remove it all together?

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Take a broader look at the various industries that aim to cash in on the issues facing a typical 9 to 5 worker. Vacation companies plan and execute multi-million dollar campaigns around the idea that you are dying to take just a few days off from your boring, routine existence. Alcohol companies constantly pitch you the idea of escaping the work day with a cold beer or recovering from the work week with a glass of wine or cocktail. Even restaurants have resorted to mobile ads designed to entice you to come in for lunch as if it is that is the only highlight of your day. These companies prey on the fact that what you do for a living is causing you pain and despair.

I wholeheartedly reject the notion that we must hate our jobs. I believe in discovering the type of person you want to become and then taking the necessary steps to become them. However, that journey becomes increasingly harder when you are living in a culture that is normalizing mediocrity. When you are being inundated with messaging that misery is normal, it’s easy to accept that way of thinking as a way of life. You can be as happy as you want to be. You can choose to live and work on your own terms. Drown out the noise and focus on becoming the person you want to become. Then you can take a vacation to celebrate all you have achieved.

About Kyle

Kyle is a youth/education public speaker, book author, and podcast host. His goal is to use these mediums to inspire high school and college students to think differently about the choices they are about to make and the next steps in their lives. Want to learn more? Visit me at! The views expressed in this blog, and all my content are mine and do not reflect the views and opinions of any companies and educational institutions I have had current or past connections with.

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