What (Not) to Hate About Your Job

Mother Nature is trying very hard to bring us Spring in the UK, so the clocks have changed, mornings are lighter and there is a general sense of relief in the air. We are thinking that the worst is over and are starting to look forward to life again with renewed energy and enthusiasm. We Brits are known for nothing if not our love of weather talk and the slightest glimpse of sunshine through the office window brings much excitement for everyone.

Monday Morning Blues

But we are still stuck inside. It is Monday as I write – the most depressing three words of my week. Chained to our desks, we have an entire work week to get through. And we are certain that by the time the weekend comes, that smidgen of sunshine will be gone. Collective sigh….. you can hear it ripple across the office as we turn away from the windows, sadly put our heads down and get back to work.

Is This How We Want To Live?

For those of us still in the accumulation phase of our financial independence journey (or for those who have not started it yet), this is our reality. And a large proportion of us go through the same cycle of Sunday night dread – Monday morning misery – Tuesday to Thursday survival – Friday relief – and only the weekend really living. Who wants to live like that?

Its been said many times, the journey to financial independence is a marathon not a sprint. Unless we are willing to write off 5/7ths of our life, we have to find a way to make peace with the fact that – for now – we have to work.

But is everything as it seems? Is it really so terrible? It is so easy to get caught up in a negative mindset; to perpetuate the idea that we hate our jobs. I read somewhere that we are what we think we are. So if we constantly indulge in negative thinking, if we concentrate on the downsides, the everything-is-bad things, then indeed – we are guaranteed to be miserable.

I started thinking about all the bad things and all the good things about my job. Time for a list 😊.  All good financial independence seekers love lists, don’t we?

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These Are Some Of The Things I Hate About My Job.

  • The lack of freedom and the feeling of being so shackled. Having to be working even when I don’t feel like it no matter how tired or run down I feel or no matter how busy I am in my personal life. No matter what, turn up and work.
  • Having limited control over my day. Living by the corporate clock instead of my own body rhythm. Having to attend meetings I have no interest in, watch corporate presentations I don’t care about and diligently work through other people’s to-do lists.
  • The monotony of the daily grind – the endless loop of rushing from alarm clock, to school run, to office, to meetings, to getting a meal on the table, to homework to bedtime routines, to late night conference call, to sleeping through another episode of Grey’s, to jolting awake to the smell of another glass of spilled wine as the credits roll.
  • The people I have to interact with whether I want to or not. This is probably the hardest for me. I’m the first to admit I am not a people person. Yes, I can turn it on and be the confident and effective communicator I am paid to be but the sheer effort involved leaves me drained and craving solitude. And while I do have friends at work, what about the idiots / scumbags / bitches / *insert your own brand of despised human here*? The people who make our skin crawl or whose bitchiness steals our confidence or whose bad moods permeate the office? We can’t avoid them – a typical workforce is less birds of a feather more prison inmates; artificially pushed into “working groups” with people we can barely tolerate.
  • Being forced out of my comfort zone – having to give presentations and make myself heard in meetings when I would rather be squirreled away somewhere quiet with my head in a book. One company I worked for arranged for us all to have our psychological profiles analysed. A classic line from mine reads: “Would rather engage with the conversations happening in her own head than any in real life.” So true 😂.
  • The travel – only people who rarely or never have to travel for work would ever consider it glamorous. The reality is fiendishly early mornings and many wasted hours sitting in traffic and airports and planes; generic hotel rooms and restless sleep despite travel fatigue. Being away from home means not only losing my work-time hours but my evenings too – either stuck in a hotel room or worse – socializing and in “work mode” for even more hours of the day. And since nobody does my day job when I’m not there, the work piles up ready to greet me on my return, as welcome as a drunken spouse.
  • The distraction from what I would really like to be doing – writing, hustling, learning, being active and generally having time to take more care of my family and my health.
  • Having to pay to outsource things I could so easily do myself but don’t have time.
  • The Corporateness about it. The mission statements and the global initiatives to take on and the annual appraisals and the blah blah blah of it all.
  • The lack of boundaries and intrusion into my home life. The constant requirement to check and respond to emails at all hours and the expectation that I can abandon any personal plans at a moment’s notice if the job demands.

 

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What I don’t hate about my Job

  • The environment – hardly a coal mine, it’s about as pleasant as they get. A modern office building with lots of natural light, located in the centre of town with free parking right outside.
  • The commute – 15 minutes from home; 5 outside rush hour
  • The salary – the benefits, the perks, the organised flu jabs for god’s sake, even free food. When I was at my first ever job, we all had to contribute “tea money” to cover teabags, coffee and milk for our communal kitchen. Now I have free bagels, scones and fruit for breakfast and fresh smoothies and coffee on tap all day. Spoiled is not the word.

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  • The freedom – I know, I know, I have just complained about the lack of freedom but compared to other workplaces, I have it really easy here. I can take breaks when I want, within reason I can take time off when I want and I (usually) get to prioritise my own day.
  • I can work in the office or at home or at a different office. Subject to meetings and travel needs I can choose where I work nearly every day as long as the work gets done.

What I Realised Writing This

  • The likes list seems a lot shorter than the dislikes list! It is easier to rant on and on about everything that’s wrong with the world and not focus on what’s right.
  • I haven’t mentioned one single thing about the actual work. I don’t dislike “finance” at all.
  • It isn’t the job I hate at all, or even the company – it’s the obligation of having to do things I don’t want to.

My Employer Is Not My Enemy

This machine, this corporate giant – airy fairy mission statements and all – is what pays my bills and keeps the roof over my head and food in my children’s lunchboxes. It pays for the high savings rate and the sheer privilege of being able to curl up cosy and warm on my sofa at night.

It is not the enemy, it’s my ally.

What I’m Not Going to Do

I sometimes wonder if I should change job, jump ship, move somewhere else. But all the thinking above has made me realise it wouldn’t make any difference. I could move to something a bit smaller maybe – a bit less corporate. But then I would lose some of the things on my like list too. If we constantly think the grass is greener somewhere else without understanding why we are feeling that way, we risk going through all the pain of starting again somewhere new only to find we feel the same sense of dread every Monday morning.

What I Am Going To Do

Sticking to my financial plan which will allow me to escape from all jobs is the most important thing for me now. The end is in sight – I need to focus, double-down and get out as quick as I can. I’m going to focus on the positives and stop living in the negatives. I’m going to re-read this post whenever I feel low about work and I’m going to monitor the green day black day tracker to keep things in perspective.

Play the game, smile and wave, turn that frown upside down. All the way to the piggy bank. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

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Join the Discussion

Is your hate list longer than your like list? What do you do to make things more bearable? What’s on your “Things I Don’t Hate” list that you can focus on to keep you going? Maybe you love your job – do you have advice to share for those of us that struggle?

 

16 thoughts on “What (Not) to Hate About Your Job”

  1. I think my big one is flexibility. I’ve had a bit of a cold the last two weeks. So what did I do? Worked from home for two weeks. No one batted an eye or was concerned. My work got done. The occasional free food also doesn’t hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep a piece of artificial green grass (a sample I was once sent) on my desk so whenever I feel I want to leave I am reminded the grass is greener here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for this post – it’s rare for someone in the FI community to even mention the positives of working. In particular the young crowd who want to retire by the time they are 30 – I can say that I’ve enjoyed the majority of my near 30-year career, so feel that they could be missing out on some great years!

    On the few occasions where I’ve ‘disliked’ a job (as there’s never been a job I ever ‘hated’), I’ve just switched and moved onto something else. However, I’ve always valued job satisfaction over higher remuneration.

    I’ve always been able to focus on the pros rather than the cons of a job because to do otherwise for me would just make things a misery and unbearable. In my mind, I have to work to get paid right now so why not just make the most of it? I’ve mostly been able to switch off easily and don’t take my work home with me.

    At my last job, even the average 40 min – one hour (each way) commute on the motorway had a pro – driving was my thinking time, plus a time to listen to music.

    With my current job, the commute on public transport allows me to read, so I focus on that, rather than negatives such as delays, crammed carriages and of course, the British weather!

    If you work for a corporate, then there is no escaping corporate BS, so I never let it really get to me. I’ll admit that it annoyed me much more when I was younger – perhaps I’ve mellowed with age, or just don’t care so much about it because I know raging about it won’t achieve anything.

    I’ve been most fortunate to have worked with some great people during my career, some of whom have become life long close friends, who I continue to meet up with on a regular basis. Of course, there are also the idiots, the lazy and the bitches/arseholes but such is society, you don’t have to be at work to encounter these!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Weenie – thanks for such a thoughtful comment. You definitely are a glass half full person. With everything except my job, I am too and with my job I am trying really hard to be.
      I’m curious about how you found the FI concept and community – usually it’s when people are really miserable at work and desperately searching for a way out that they come across it, which probably wasn’t the case for you.
      As for corporate BS – I think more and more that if you want all the many perks that go with working for one rather than a small company, you have to accept the BS that goes with it (however hard to stomach sometimes).
      Good point about the people – I missed that. I have also met a few who have remained friends for many years, that’s definitely one for the likes list.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can honestly say that it was a complete accident that I stumbled across Mr Money Mustache’s Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement post whilst Googling…something or other, I can’t remember what exactly.

        The fact was, I was happy with my job, it was before the company I worked for was taken over, before there was any mention of redundancies, so I wasn’t looking for a way out. I was in a good financial position (or so I thought), with no debts, enjoying a good life, two holidays a year with a good social life. Retiring early however was not an option.

        MMM’s post just opened a floodgate of opportunities in my head, opportunities which I thought didn’t exist for someone like me. The rest is history…well, 4 years of history! 🙂

        And yes, I do believe in luck, in that I was lucky to have come across MMM, at a time when I was open to the whole FI concept and in a position to do something about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Cool post – I’m a big fan lately of looking on the positive side – life could certainly be a lot worse, and hey we get paid to work, hence I’ll do whatever they want.

    Your 15 minute commute is tiny, that’s so quick. I’m just over an hour, and I like it as I get some exercise and air, and get to read / listen to podcasts etc. Useful time to decompress and get enjoyable things done.

    And for my tastes you need a few more male adjectives to describe colleagues you don’t like as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ms Zi You – thanks for commenting!
      Noted on the male adjectives – there are many that spring to mind 😉
      I know my commute is tiny which I’m really grateful for but sometimes I’m sitting at my desk feeling like I just rolled out of bed! Sometimes a longer travel time does have its advantages.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The positive attitude is a big one. Our office based workers absolutely detest the fact we sales guys get to work from home. They seem to think we are all sat around in our pants watching Jeremy kyle. They don’t see us starting at half 7 as we don’t have to commute or the pressure we have of targets. They get to finish at 5 and switch off. I don’t even switch off on holiday though i try and restrict my phone and email checking to once every other day. My response to them generally is they could find another job or apply for ours. They generally say o no we wouldn’t want the responsibility lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – it’s my experience too that people that can’t work from home can be jealous about it. But it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be, there’s definite arguments for both sides.

      I think many people think “sales” have an easy life. My opinion is they may have a more flexible life. But as you say, if you’re not selling, you won’t last long. Playing devil’s advocate, the office based people have targets too – they are just different but they come with the same pressures. Imagine the uproar if the payroll department missed payday. Those payroll people would not last long either.

      Like

      1. O yes equally alot of people in. My position treat admin staff as second class citizens. Mine get taken out for lunch and bottles of wine at Christmas.and then they wonder why i get favours done when i need things last minute 😀

        Like

  6. Good for you, you have it sorted. I don’t understand why more people don’t get it – nobody works in a vacuum, people help people. One of the sales execs took my entire team of admin people out for dinner once when he closed a big deal. Recognition that he didn’t do it alone, with a dose of basic human decency. It goes a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

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