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?
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.
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.
- 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.
- The green day black day tracker is mostly green
- 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.
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?