Getting a job is like enrolling in a human domestication program. You learn how to be a good pet. - Steve Pavlina
Fed up of your job?
Look, I know how it is.
I know what those Sunday evening blues are like. I know what it's like to have your heart sink when you arrive at the office. I know what it's like to feel exhausted from it all but not really know what to do to change it. I know what it's like to sit crying in the toilets. I know what it's like to desperately crawl Google night after night looking for the 'answer' but feeling even more deflated afterwards because you don't really know what you're looking for in the first place. I know what it's like to live for the few weeks holiday you have a year and spend half of that worrying about the work you have to go back to. I know what it's like to feel anxious, stressed, and depressed.
Yes, I think I know a little of what you're feeling.
And it might not even be that your work is so terrible. Mine wasn't. There was nothing really that wrong with it, actually.
And yet despite there not always being something really horrific about the jobs we do, it still feels really sucky.
Well, here are my 5 reasons why employment sucks and the real reason I quit my job (you're gonna love that one.)
1. Zero choice
Someone wrote to me:
"I don't like performing annoying, repetitive, meaningless tasks with no interest or passion."
It's not the repetition that's the problem. We all repeat plenty of things every day that don't frustrate us. Like eating breakfast, brushing our teeth, or sleeping.
It might not even be the meaninglessness that's the problem. I do plenty of things every day that don't have any real meaning.
The real problem is the lack of choice. We perform those annoying, repetitive, meaningless tasks because it's part of our job description and that's what we get paid for. We do them because we have to, not because we want or choose to.
2. Your working hours make no sense
What kind of human being can work in a focused and productive way for 8+ consecutive hours a day?
Not any that I know.
Here's what commonly happened in my old office.
0900: Arrive at work.
0915: Congregate in the canteen for breakfast. Eat breakfast either in the canteen, in which case work wasn't being done, or eat breakfast at your desk, in which case work wasn't being done effectively, since multitasking makes us less, not more productive.
1000 - 1200: Probably do some work. But before that, maybe read the news headlines and surf the internet a bit.
1200 - 1300: Lunch.
1300 - 1730: Some work mixed with long visits to the tea point to chat with colleagues, more surfing the internet, daydreaming about where your next holiday will be, checking social media and searching for a new job to get you out of this misery.
I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't working 8 hours a day.
Why keep people in an office 8+ hours a day when they're only working effectively for a fraction of that time? The thinking behind the 8-hour work day is outdated and ineffective. But what's the alternative?
Well, here's one alternative that look a lot less sucky.
A ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), is a concept that was created by two American consultants. In a ROWE, employees are self-directed. They work how they want, they work when they want, and they work where they want. The only thing they have to do is deliver the required result.
Surveys show that in a ROWE, productivity, worker engagement and worker satisfaction all go up whilst staff turnover goes down.
We can find an answer in Dan Pink's book, Drive, in which he explains that when it comes to work, we are largely driven by a set of three intrinsic motivators. The first of those being autonomy, which he describes as the urge to direct our own lives.
When the how, the when, and the where of what we do is completely directed by someone else, work sucks.
3. Office politics
My dad gave me one piece of advice when I got my first office job:
"Don't get involved in the gossip or politics."
It's draining like nothing else listening to the office gossip and politics. So many times I let myself get drawn in and then hated myself for letting it happen.
Seriously, what an utter waste of your precious life spending time complaining and gossiping about the company your work for and the people you work with.
There's no office politics in my new life. It's awesome.
4. Wasted potential
Have you ever had that feeling that you have something more to offer the world? That you're not really where you're supposed to be?
Yes, I know that feeling, too.
That feeling exists as a constant reminder that you have something important to contribute to the world. And it won't ever leave until you listen and act on it.
Whilst you're sitting at your desk, day after day and week after week doing work you don't enjoy, the world is missing out on your greatest gifts and untapped potential.
If you've ever had that feeling that you've got more to give then please, for the love of all things holy, commit to exploring that feeling and unleashing your true potential into the world. We will all be better off for it.
Work seriously sucks when you know you have something way more beautiful to contribute to the world.
5. Number twos and the secret real reason I left my job
Shhhh, BIG secret...
The real reason I left my job isn't because I lacked meaning and purpose. It isn't because I was fed up of having to fit into someone else's box. It isn't even because I knew I had more to give to the world.
The real reason I left my job is because I couldn't take a dump in peace and quiet. Tweet that.
You think I'm joking?
Along with two of my colleagues, we even named one particular bathroom in our office The Poo Loo (PL when we were speaking in code). It was the bathroom that everyone used for their number twos because it was separate from all the others.
But every time I went to try and do my business, there'd be a continuous string of people trying the door handle. Obviously they wanted to take a shit in peace and quiet, too. Sometimes they'd just hang around outside, huffing and puffing, putting an end to any hopes I had of relieving my bowels in private.
Self-employment means that I can take a dump in peace and quiet any time I like. And that, my friend, is the greatest joy of all.
Over to you...
Blog posts without comments are like campfires without toasted marshmallows - not anywhere near as satisfying an experience. So add your voice to the comments below and share:
- Are you (or were you ever) in a job you realllly don't/didn't like? What are/were the biggest reasons it sucks/sucked for you?