Hey everyone. I hope you all had a great long, labor-day weekend. Wow…I can’t believe how fast the summer has flown by. It just seems like yesterday that I was looking forward to a few months of seemingly long, endless days of doing practically nothing and just enjoying my time.
While we still have many days left of really nice weather, the seasonal shift will soon be upon us and the days will quickly begin to get shorter. And while I do love Autumn, I am not looking forward to the cold days of Winter!
It may be kind of ironic, but this time of year is my favorite. Not because of the changing season, but because everything is returning back to relative normal-ness. Elementary and high schools are back in session. The university down the street from my place is bustling with new and returning students. The few coffee shops around my area are teeming with students and educational workers. Basically, the area is once again alive! And I’m happily enjoying it from the sidelines.
That wasn’t always the case however. I remember when I was living through the 9 to 5 lifestyle, how depressed I would feel around this time of year. The relaxing summer work days were done for another year. The half-Friday work day throughout the months of July and August would be put on hold for another year. My yearly two week vacation was all used up and there were no mandatory holidays or long-weekends on the horizon until mid to late October. Basically, my life went back to sucking (remember, I was only in my 20′s back then so everything was a little more over the top)!
If you’re experiencing similar feelings about getting back into the 9 to 5 routine, I have more than a few suggestions that might help make your work day a little brighter
Now, before I begin, a slight disclaimer.
I personally don’t judge anyone for working and sticking to a regular 9 to 5 job that they wake up hating to go to each and every morning. We all have our own way of living and surviving in this world and you need to do what YOU need to do! How I live my life won’t necessarily jive with how you want to live yours and the last thing you need is for some relatively anonymous blogger dude telling you HOW you SHOULD live YOUR life and that you SHOULD quit your job because that’s where all of life’s riches are to be found. And while I think this to be true, it is my own experience and may clash with your life perspective and/or personality.
That being said, I truly feel strongly about living your life on your own terms and while not everyone can do this, there are some who may be looking for a different life than the one they currently live. If that’s the case with you, then allow me to speak – or in this case, write – freely with you in mind. And remember, this is just a guide, a way of viewing if you will, an alternate reality that just might make you feel a little happier or better about your current situation.
So here goes.
If you have to work a day job…
Befriend one or two co-workers: You might be surprised at how having one or two close friends at the office can really perk up your mood once you step off the elevator or walk through those front doors. If it’s possible, once or twice a week, set up a morning coffee routine an hour or half an hour before work. This gets you both in a joyful frame of mind and just lightens up the impending day. And having someone at the office who you can rant or “bitch” to can really help you maintain a firm grasp on your sanity and vice-versa. After all, your kids, boyfriend and/or significant other won’t be able to fully relate to what your feeling since they got their own things they are dealing with particular to their own situations.
Every job I have ever worked, I had one or two such friends and even after thirty years, I’m still very good friends with a couple of them, which is very cool. Mind you, there may not be anyone who you would want to be friends with at work so don’t push it. If it is to happen, they’ll most likely gravitate towards you if you’re open enough.
Stay out of office politics and office gossip: This is obviously a no-brainer! You have enough to think about without having to get deep in someone else’s baggage or silly office games.
Do only the work that you were hired to do, no more, no less: This one is a tad tricky unless you have an iron-clad job description. But if you are hired to keep the books in order or deliver mail, focus on just that. If the boss asks you for a favor, well, then you will have to decide then on how to proceed, but until then, keep your work simple and on-point.
Back in the mid 80′s I worked at a publishing company. My original job description was to pick up mail at various post offices and then deliver it when I got back. End of story…or so I thought. I ended up becoming a driver for not only the boss, but also his wife and their children. It wouldn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, if my boss called and wanted an apple from a very particular fruit store, I had to hop in the car and get it for him toot suite! If his wife wanted jumbo shrimp for lunch, I had to step on the gas and get it to her pronto! Because I was a wuss, I never said no and I never stood my ground, so I became the family errand boy instead of what I was hired to do in the first place. AND I still had to the original job I was hired for along with everything else! This really made my job extra stressful and yet, I let them walk all over me, so do I have a right to even complain?
Start a “leave your job” fund: Presumably, if you are working at a job you hate, you feel trapped because you need money to live and survive, so forget about being able to quit, let alone get your life back! If it is at all possible, putting away a small portion of your pay each payday will not only be your job quitting lifeline, it will also make you feel better knowing that you are taking steps to reclaim your spirit. So if you can, skip the morning latte’s, or only splurge on one or two a week. Brown bag your lunch (except on Fridays). Look for whatever money saving avenue you can take and bank what you can. It might start small, but with incentive and motivation, it will grow.
Begin the weekend early by enjoying a nice (cheap) Friday lunch out of the office with your co-worker friend(s) and if you can, do as little work possible until it’s time to leave for the day: I used to do this a lot and believe me, it helped pass the day nicely.
Do not take work home with you: Another no-brainer, but one that is hard to do for some depending on the type of job responsibilities they have. If you can, leave your work at work so that your time can really be YOUR own. Chances are you’re not getting paid enough to do double the work at the office AND at home. Plus, if you have a husband or wife and children, it’s not fair to them to sequester yourself in your home office after spending 9 or more hours away from them in the first place. I know…easier said than done, but at least it is something to consider.
If possible, have your lunch hour from 1PM to 2PM: You would be surprised how much a one hour difference makes on your mood when you get back to the office knowing that you only have a short three hours left
If you are just starting a new job, stay away from the “exciting and enticing perks” if at all possible: Sadly, the more dependent you are on your job, the less freedom you will have to let it all go. Back in the late 70′s I worked for a very wealthy and affluent big business family at one of their holding companies. I was “just” a mail-boy back then so there was no signing bonus when I was hired. There was no stock options, company car or golf club membership offered to me…thankfully…but there was for those who were hired in middle and upper management positions.
I remember talking to quite a few of the managers over the years I was there and I was always surprised to learn that the company owned their homes, their cars, their country homes, their club and gym memberships. The managers owned nothing but owed everything! Truth be told, the company owned their lives and sure, they could leave anytime they wanted to, as long as the multiple loans they had with the company were paid up in full…WITH INTEREST!! Yikes! How horrible to realize one day that you were stuck. That your life as you knew it, was owned not by you, but by the company and indirectly, its shareholders! So please, unless that’s the life you are truly seeking, stay away from the “perks” and make your own way!
Start some side hustles and build them up slowly: This is inline with starting a leave your job fund and can be your ticket out of the rat race. There are many wonderful bloggers out there who are currently doing just that so check them out. It’s not easy and requires that you have skills that are “bankable”. However, you can also learn such skills at your own pace until you’re ready to go it alone.
One of the jobs I had in the late 80′s was working for one of the major three accounting firms in North America as liaison between the firm partners and the filing/mail room. There was a woman there at the time who was in her early fifties. Throughout the months that I worked there we had talked off and on and she once told me that she soon would be quitting the job to follow her dream. Turned out, her dream was to work in film and for the last ten years she was taking one class a semester at a local university in order to obtain a degree in film studies with a minor in communication. It took her ten years but one day she came into the mail room and shook my hand. She was leaving that day because she had just gotten a job at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). I was so happy for her and it was one of those aha moments. No matter the barriers, they can be overcome through determination, hard work and focus. She never lost sight of who she wanted to be and did exactly what she needed to do to take back her life.
So…if you want to be a writer, find out what that entails and figure out a way to make it work for you. If you’ve always dreamed about being a voice-over actor (In a world where…), then figure out what it takes and do it. If it takes one year, three years, five years, ten years, do it one day at a time, one week at a time, one semester at a time, one year at a time, whatever you can do to make your dreams a reality, but just do it. It may seem futile at the present moment, but if you begin, time fly’s by and you’ll one day find yourself living YOUR life while your coworkers are wondering when theirs is supposed to start.
The last suggestion I have up my sleeve is a simple one really, and is one of my favorite quotes: “I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury
My way of looking at this is as follows: if you are unhappy with your current job, or even all around life choices, start anew by first jumping off that cliff (ie: quit your job, walk out of that abusive, dead end relationship) and then as you fall, build your wings on the way down (ie: find it in yourself to get a better job, work on your side hustle skills, investigate what you need to follow your dreams and then do so).
It’s not easy and there will be plenty of hurdles for you to jump across and through, but what is the alternative? What do you deserve out of life? Who are you right at this moment and who do you truly want to be in the next?
I have gone through these same hoops. I have questioned and re-questioned my life and who I am more times than I can count. But at the end of the day, I am free to be me. I am doing what I love to do.
When I “retired” back in 1992, I didn’t have the guts to jump off that cliff, but thankfully I was pushed off by being laid-off. Would I have quite my job to follow my dreams? I would like to think that yes, I would have. But who knows. Back in those days, there was no Internet, no one to inspire and motivate me. My world was tiny and everyone was like me, working and surviving. It’s a different world now and I for one, am truly grateful because seriously, there’s no excuse
I wish you nothing but all the best.