I feel sorry for the humble desk job. It’s taken a bit of a beating for some time as being drab, undesirable. How many times have you come across an article or blog post online enticing you to quit your ‘boring office job’ and go creative full time? Probably loads (I’m a stringent researcher).
Anyway, I thought it was about time someone stuck up for our desk jobs. I go to work five days a week in an office, 9 to 5, or near enough. Some days I sit fidgeting, hardly able to wait for home time when I can get back to whatever I’m working on. I yearn for a life with more time to do the things I want to do, to pour energy into getting things off the ground and making more money from my art. But it doesn’t work like that, not for me. I think I need to be taken out of a creative headspace, in order to be creative. If that makes sense. Some of my best ideas occur at work. I take a little notebook everywhere with me, and if something great pops into my head, I write it down, then go back to it later. So, motivation to create is almost never a problem.
Besides, instead of heaping scorn on a job that gives us routine, regular pay, office chatter, dodgy coffee, we should try to look for the positives. After all, anyone can love their job when it’s their ideal job. I think the true triumph lies in deciding to love the mundane, the humdrum, the same old.
I can’t speak for everyone, but in a world of deadlines and acres of tedious admin, I do manage to find reasons to be really glad of my humble office gig. Miranda Hart in her recent book reminisced joyfully over her days as a temp. I just loved that. She could have whinged and sighed about the long, arduous road to fortune and fame, but instead she looks back at those years with real fondness, and lists the top ten things about her office years. Here’s a couple of mine:
I get to dress up
There’s no dress code at my work, and it’s really easy to slouch in wearing jeans, which is quite nice on some days. But at least two days a week, I make an effort to go in looking nice and professional. It feels great, and when I started this ’twice a week’ thing it actually made me like my job better. I dig out the nice shoes, a pencil skirt and accessories. I’ve met freelancers who lament having nothing to get dressed for.
Some argue that you’d never spend your time with these people if you didn’t work with them.. Maybe true, but you have to be pretty unlucky to not have a single person at work that you like. I have lasting friendships forged in mundane jobs. Work binds us together, creates camaraderie. Office parties and drinks can be planned and looked forward to. Peeking over the edge of the cubicle to gossip about last night’s TV, whilst checking emails and munching on toast is a pretty good feeling.
So, it’s out there. I like having a regular salary. It’s reassuring and helps me to plan. And if I want more money, that’s when I need to get up off my backside and make my other projects work harder. Security is not a sin. In these tough economic times I am truly grateful to have a job, and a salary. It’s sadly an all too rare commodity nowadays. Blessings are well and truly counted. Of course, things change, who knows what the future holds?
Just because your job seems boring, it doesn’t mean YOU are
We all try to define ourselves by something. What defines us? Is it our marital status? Our children, or lack of? Our job? Often we look to these things to define us, and so there is a temptation to big our jobs up, or to be ashamed of them. I say no more! My office job allows me to solve problems, to work in a small team, to have a laugh, to pack interesting lunches, to shop for smart skirts and funky jewellery. My office job gives me somewhere to go each day, and stops my home from becoming a prison where I’d go stir crazy. Maybe one day I will leave this job, maybe one day I’ll pull a Miranda and be doing something completely different and ’exciting ’. But I vow never to write off the office as a boring place. It’s only boring if you’re not looking hard enough. And it will never define you if you don’t want it to.