Ten Ways to Make Working in an Office Less Soul-Crushing

After reading this post:   What makes “the office job” such a predominant soul crushing monster?    on reddit.com, I came up with this list of ways to make the office job less “soul-crushing”.

1.  Work on side projects and hobbies – We spend too much time at work, thinking about work, commuting to and from work, dreading coming back to work, etc.  Spend some time on your own interests.

 2.  Care as little as possible – This doesn’t mean do nothing at work or do a poor job.  By all means, do the best job as possible while we’re stuck here.  We just have to learn to stop thinking about it once we’re out of the office.  We have to stop bringing things home.  Don’t worry about anything.  If it needs to be done, get it done, but don’t worry about it until absolutely necessary.

3.  Talk to everyone – We need to spend as much time socializing at work as possible.  This will help pass the time and make the day more enjoyable.  Even if the people are terrible, it’s not that hard to bullshit with them for five minutes a day.  By socializing, we become friends with others and generally enjoy the day more.  It also helps build confidence and will eventually help to make more money.  And hey if we have to have our souls sucked out we might as well make decent money.

4.  Take breaks – Stop eat lunch in the cubicle.  We have to get up at least twice a day to go for a walk around the building or outside.  If the smokers can do it, we can too.

5.  Cut down or cut out the caffeine – Caffeine makes people antsy and pee a lot.  It makes it hard to focus on work.  When I drink a lot of coffee, I will eventually drink more and more of it until I’m hopelessly jittery.  It’s expensive too.  And we’re trying to save money to quit our soul sucking jobs so we might as well stop blowing it on caffeinated water.

6.  Sit as little as possible – I know this is hard.  Like above, take breaks and walk around.  Get a small water bottle and fill it up often.  Go to the bathroom.  Print from the printer across the room.  Talk to people.  Do anything to spend as little time sitting as possible.  Our bodies will thank us.  There are tons of studies out there now about how sitting kills people slowly.  Most of us can’t get a stand up workstation or a treadmill desk.  Standing up just to stretch helps too.

7.  Eat healthy and exercise – The only thing worse than sitting at a desk all day is sitting there stuffing our faces with junk food.  Eat as healthy as possible.  Exercise regularly.  Check out r/fitness and start lifting weights a couple times a week.  This won’t counteract the sitting, but it will help.

8.  Decorate the cube – Get some nature pictures up there.  Cover the gray.  It’s terrible.

9.  Play pranks – This is just fun.

10.  Don’t sit when at home – This is a big one.  Stop watching television before 9pm.  Cook some real food while standing.  Go out and exercise.  Walk around the neighborhood.  Play with the kids.  Basically do anything but crash on the couch.  Our bodies will feel better.  This also helps a lot with feeling like we’re not wasting our lives.  When I sit all day and come home to watch TV, I feel like the time flies by and makes the office job suck even more.

What else can we add to this list?

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Everything is Temporary

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that everything is temporary. Everything good or bad in our lives and everyone else’s lives is only here for a short amount of time and then it’s gone. All of our problems are really just temporary problems.

I’ve been frustrated with my job a lot lately. The cubicle can really be draining. Poor management decisions are annoying. Not having enough money is depressing.

But in all reality, all of that can and will change. I can change these things on my own of course. I could find another job or ask for a raise. Not all of the options I try will work out all that well, but something will. Things could even get worse, but if I keep in mind that they are only temporary, I can keep looking for a way to change them.

This works both ways unfortunately. You can’t hold onto the things you love most in the world. Everyone you know will some day leave you or die. Your great friends will some day not even remember you. You might not remember them. The love of your life may leave you and marry someone else. Or die in a car accident. Your parents will most likely die before you.

The question is, how can we keep this from depressing us? We love the idea that the bad things in our lives are temporary. Everyone has said, “Someday when things are better, xyz will happen”. It’s a relief to think about that. Someday I will make more money or have a better job or find someone who loves me or move to a new city. But we hate the opposite. The idea that we will lose everything good in our lives is hard. Death and loss are sad. They hurt us and make us cry.

So where’s the balance? Maybe if we think about the fact that everything is temporary regularly we won’t be as sad. Maybe when something good happens, we might think that someday it will be gone. Maybe then we’ll appreciate it more. When something bad happens we can do the same. We can realize that it’s only a matter of time until it’s over.

I think once we realize that everything is truly temporary we can be relieved. Everything our lives won’t be perfect. It never will. Change is happening constantly. Every day something new can happen. Don’t hold on to your loves and hates. Just recognize them and enjoy them for what they are.

Once you realize that things just are you can truly grow in life. You make your own happiness. The events that occur are just a part of life, but if you aren’t happy inside you will not be able to weather those events.

Big changes coming soon. Not sure if they’ll be good or bad, but they are going to happen.

Regret and how to make big decisions

I had a really interesting idea last night. I’ve been struggling with some big decisions lately and am really at a loss of what to do. I think I’ve figured out why. Regret.

I’ve realized that I have a lot of regrets about things in my life. I think everybody does. I’ve also realized that the reason I have such trouble making big decisions is that I constantly worry about whether or not I will regret the decision. This leads to indecision and countless hours spent worrying about something. In the end, I make the decision and end up regretting something regardless.

I think this is a good process to make big decisions:

1. Thing about all of the big decisions in your past. What do you regret about them? I have regrets about moving to Minnesota. Moving to San Francisco. Women. Taking certain jobs. Going to college at UF. Buying a condo. Buying a crappy cell phone. Even buying little things like clothes or shoes. I think about these decisions and realize that I have tons of regrets.

2. Now think about if you’d made the opposite decision. What regrets would you have then? If I’d stayed in FL, I would regret never leaving. If I’d stayed in MN, I’d regret never leaving. If I’d dump my girlfriend, I’d miss her. If I’d taken a different job, I’d regret missing the one I got. If I’d kept renting and not bought the condo, I’d regret not living downtown. The point here is to realize that you would have regrets no matter what you do. We all try to justify how perfect and awesome our lives would be if we’d only made a different decision, but the reality is that we will always regret something.

3. Now you can realize that you would have regrets no matter what you do. We all try to justify how perfect and awesome our lives would be if we’d only made a different decision, but the reality is that we will always regret something. Life is short and you can only do so much. You can really do anything you want with your life, but you can’t do everything. You can only live in one place at a time. You can only have one job (or maybe 2) at a time. You have to make decisions and pick one thing over another. And sadly, you will always have feelings of regret about not picking the other option. This is human nature we always find things that we don’t like about our current situation and wish we had another situation.

4. This means you can stop worrying about whether or not you will regret your decisions. No matter what you choose, there will be something you don’t like about it. By realizing this, you can free yourself from worry. You now know that there will definitely be feelings of regret in life. Why worry about it? They’re going to happen anyway.

5. Decisions will still be tough to make though. You will still wonder which option you will regret less. So, start with a list. Write out a big list of all of the things you might regret about each option. We always like to get caught up in the good things, but forget the bad. So what will you regret about each choice?

What will I regret if I move back to MN? I will regret not having warm weather, working in the tech industry in SF, living in a great city, being in California, being on an adventure, being close to the mountains, being able to see all kinds of neat stuff on the west coast.

What will I regret if I stay in SF? I will regret not having the close friends I once had there, not seeing my nieces grow up, not being able to easily go camping during the nice months, being further from my family in MN and FL, being able to live in a house, having a car, being able to save more money and become financially independent, going fishing in Canada, going to the BWCA, having more vacation days.

There are more on both sides. The point is to make a huge list, but focus on what you will regret about each decision. Then weigh which will have more regrets. You should start leaning one way or the other. Combine this with the gut feeling you have and you should be able to make your decision.

6. Make the decision. Realize that you will have feelings of regret about that decision. But also realize that you would have regretted the other option too. It doesn’t really matter which one you chose, there are always downsides to both. Now you can live with the freedom and peace of mind that either decision wasn’t perfect.

Big decisions are tough and I haven’t made one yet on this. But I have truly realized that I can stop worrying about what I will regret because I will always regret something. Without the worry, you can make a clear choice and leave the stress behind.

I should do something

How many times have I said this?  How many things have I said this about?
I should eat healthier.

I should work out.

I should be working harder.

I should be doing something fun today.

I should be doing my laundry.

I should do the right thing and not the wrong thing.

It’s always the same thing.  I’m constantly telling myself what I should be doing and thinking about what the right or “perfect” thing to do is.  I’m starting to realize that this is wrong.  Why am I not doing what I want to do?  Why am I thinking about what I should be doing.

It’s weird when you think about it.  Is there really a point to it?  I think I should be acting, eating, dressing, doing things, sleeping, breathing etc a certain way.  But there is no right way.  There is no right or wrong.  We just do things and are a part of what we do.  Who cares which way I decide?  As long as I’m not doing anything to hurt someone or get me put in jail, does it really matter?

Should is one of the worst words you can think.  It means that you wish you were doing something, but know that you don’t actually want to be doing it.  I say I should work out.  This isn’t because I want to be fit or healthy.  It’s because I feel like it’s the “Right thing to do”.  Why don’t I want to work out?  I do want to be fit and healthy, but that’s not enough reason to do it for some reason.

Maybe I’m not doing it because of the “shoulds”.  Maybe knowing that I should be doing something makes me not want to do it in itself.  Maybe if I just really fucking wanted to work out, I’d do it like crazy because I’m doing it for myself instead of doing it because I should.

Why do I constantly do this?

It’s the same with the words “would” and “could”.  I would have done something if something else was just right.  Well yeah, but it wasn’t so who cares?  I could have done this thing perfectly and everything would be great right now.  But what does that even mean?  I didn’t do it that way.  Maybe I should have, but who cares, I didn’t.

There are a million things that you should do, could do or would do that will make your life better, but if you don’t do them what does it matter?

 

Maybe if I don’t want to do things, they’re not worth doing.

How to quit smoking

 

It’s been 1,000 days since I quit smoking.  It’s amazing to realize that I’m truly no longer a smoker.  I haven’t had any nicotine in any form in over 1,000 days now.  I don’t miss it at all. 

 

A few thoughts: 

 

The toughest part was understanding the difference between the mental and physical addiction.  Then splitting them apart to tackle each on its own.  They are both pretty easy on their own, but if you don’t recognize what is what, you will struggle.

 

Physical:  They physical addiction to nicotine is horrible.  It causes you to need the drug.  You have a smoke, chew, dip, gum, whatever and the clock starts ticking.  You feel great right away.  But then it slowly starts to wear off.   You start sensing this and get uncomfortable and irritable.  You start thinking about smoking.  You smell someone else and it smells so good.  BUT, you don’t smoke.  You’re detoxing.  Every minute, you don’t give into that craving is a minute towards not needing the nicotine.  Your body slowly clears the drug while screaming at you to have it.  Those first few days go by and you hate everything. 

 

But then there’s a day where you don’t need it.  Your body has gotten used to not being dependant on a drug.  You’re free of the physical addiction.  It feels so good. 

 

Mental:  But then there’s the mental.  For me, this was two things. 

 

Friends & family who smoked.  There was nothing better than popping outside to have a smoke with your buddies outside of the bar.  Or with some family while at a boring holiday dinner.  The nice cool air outside and a warm smoke are always nice.  Well the easiest way to get over this is to just go outside with them.  Smell the smoke, but don’t join in.  Tell them you’ve quit.  But still have the same conversations you would.  Still smell the cool air outside.  Crack a fresh beer if you’re at a party.  Smile and remember that you’re kicking the physical addiction, so there’s no need to inhale a drug that will make you continuously want more. 

 

Stress and celebration.  When something went wrong, I smoked to get over the stress.  When something went right, I smoked to celebrate.  It’s funny how you can justify both.  Realize that you’re just using this event as an excuse to get your drug.  The drug you’d get anyway because you could also justify it as being bored. 

 

The key here is to realize that there is no reason to smoke besides the fact that your body is craving nicotine.  All of the mental things are just excuses to get the physical drug.  And the only reason you want the drug is because the last hit of it is wearing off, but hasn’t worn off enough to get out of your system yet. 

 

The goal is to focus on being your physical addiction while coping with the mental addiction.  The physical is easy.  Just don’t smoke.  Give it a few weeks and you’ll be over it.  The mental is easy too.  Just don’t smoke and be open an honest with others that you’re not a smoker anymore.  Don’t use ANYTHING as an excuse to get your fix.  3 weeks later and you’re done.

 

After that, it’s easy.  You start to realize that you aren’t a smoker.  You smell how bad other people smell.  You see how sad it is to watch them inhale a drug that is known to be bad for their health.  You realize that in an hour, they’ll be craving more.  Forever. 

 

You quickly become glad you don’t smoke.  You wonder why you ever did.  The years start flying by.  You still like the smell and think about it from time to time, but you’re never really tempted because you know what it is.  It’s a drug that controls every day of your life.  And it really does taste like shit, smell like shit, and make you feel like shit.

 

When it comes down to it, the truth is that you lie to yourself every day.  You tell yourself that you need a smoke because you are stressed, tired, celebrating, with friends, drinking, camping, relaxing, happy, sad, bored, busy, worn out, etc.  It’s a million different things and they’re all lies you tell yourself. 

 

In reality, the only reason you smoke is because the nicotine from the last one is wearing off. 

 

Once it’s out of your system, you body won’t be in withdrawal anymore.  From there it’s all easy. 

The absolute worst thing about an office job

Having nothing to do. As much as work can be annoying or difficult or frustrating, there is nothing worse than have nothing to do all day. There is only so much surfing the internet and checking your email you can do.

Sure I try to get involved in other projects, but there are some days that are just dead. It would be the perfect time to just go home or chill in a park somewhere. Even just a small nap would make the time go by quicker.

Man sometimes you just run out of stuff to do.

California is Great

Strange how time flies when things are changing.

Well, I got laid off in February.  I knew it was coming.  They told me back in November that it was going to happen.  I was really unhappy about it at first.  But over time, it was freeing.  I was given until Feb to look for another job.  Which was pretty awesome.  I didn’t find one during this time, but shortly afterward, so things are okay.

But I did something crazy and interesting.  I moved with my girlfriend to a big city across the country.  San Francisco to be exact.  It’s been awesome.  We’ve been here since Feb and I’m really enjoying  it.

I found myself another exciting cubicle job.  But this time I’m looking at it a bit differently.  I’m not just surviving the cubicle anymore.  I’m thriving.  I’ve had a huge change of perspective over the past 6 months.

I’ve realized that I’m never going to quit the easy office job and do something crazy.  I’m getting older and have really realized how nice it is to have a paycheck.  What I am going to do is take an active role in building my career.  No more will I sit around and wait for someone to recognize my greatness and give me a better job.  I’m going to work hard and make sure I get that better job myself.  There is no more time for waiting for good things to happen.  If I don’t take control and make it happen, it never will.

Another thing I’ve been realizing is that your location really does matter when it comes to being happy in a job.  Back in the cold winters I felt like crap going from a warm bed to a freezing walk to a boring office.  Now I get to be in beautiful weather and see awesome views every day.  California is great.