I was coworking at my favorite spot in Brooklyn today. I saw a patron who I see there frequently (a writer) and he introduced me to his friend. She was talking to me about her job, and how she has to work about 70 hours a week or so. While she was talking about it I interrupted her…

“What do you actually want to be doing?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, with some confusion.

“You look like you’re going to cry when you are telling me about your job. I can see in your eyes that you really don’t enjoy this. What do you really want to be doing?

"Well, I really want to start my own business (related to the field in the startup she was working at)”, she answered.

I looked at her directly (which I rarely do with people) and said “Could you imagine what you could do with those 30 extra hours a week? You could be working a full time job and then working on your own thing on the side when you get home, or you could just get peace of mind of not working yourself to death.

I’m not telling you what to do but there is nobody that should control your happiness but you. Don’t be pressured to keep a job because of societal pressures. If you want to bartend or work at a restaurant for a while just to pay the bills and think about your next move, don’t feel like it is a step down. You have control of your life way more than you might think.”

She sat there quietly for a bit, but I saw a little smile, and she simply responded, “You know what…I have a lot of thinking to do.”

I usually don’t do this with complete strangers but I could sense so much stress and pain when I looked at her.