Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Job satisfaction

"I sit in a cubicle and update bank software for the Y2K switch. See, they wrote all this bank software, and to save space they used two digits for the date instead of four. So, like, 98 instead of 1998. So I go through these thousands of lines of code and, uh... it doesn't really matter. I don't like my job, and I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.

This "day in the life" piece comes from Dors of Whatever Works. Dors is a new bloggie friend of mine who lives in the UK and recently started a new job. I liked how brutally honest this recent post of hers was. It takes guts to be so candid and publicly admit that your new career isn't all rainbows and unicorns:

The first day of work is like your first day of school...at a new school. You are hoping you are going to like the classes, the teachers and your classmates. But in the back of your mind you know damn well that you are just going to have to study a lot of things you don't want to, that all the time that school consumes could be spent doing something so much more fun (like sleeping!) and that you're probably going to dislike a lot of people there.

Same for work, just substitute classmates for colleagues, teaches for bosses, studying for actually working.

Yes, today was my first day. I woke up at 6 am. 6 am! It should be illegal. Against human rights or something. And it is so cold in the morning I could see my own breath (come on, it's spring!), then the train, changing the train, catching the bus. And I managed to arrive there late.

Right. I spent all day long in front of the computer, with my boss by my side, guiding me through the painful process of getting to know their computer software. I was looking forward to every little break I could get. Drinking water, coffee, a blessed soul even brought donuts for everyone today. And lunch time.

It was so much to take in, and the more I did my tasks the more I got confused. So.many.little.details. My under-eye circles got deeper and darker as each hour went by. I finally finished my first daily dose of torture. I caught the bus home, then the train. I slept in the train. I never sleep on trains, buses or airplanes. But I did today, I was exhausted, I even set my alarm so I wouldn't miss my stop.

I came home at 6:30 pm. More than 12 hours of my day. Wasted.

Yes, wasted, because why the hell would my life be improved or become any more significant if I learn how to use a company's computer software? Am I really helping people the way I intended (once upon a time) by processing wine orders and organizing deliveries?

I think some people are not meant to have a boss and a routine and I am one of those. Some will say I'm lazy or spoiled, or both. However I truly think that we limit our life so much by having a stated time to even have lunch. We think of it as normal, but is it?

When I met those actors at the wine tasting I saw people brave enough to just do what they wanted. I envy them. I am a coward. I fear failure.

And if you tell me you love your job and you are extremely happy with it...Well, good for you. I hate you.

(Note: This was written out of tiredness and utter frustration. I do apologize.)

Ed. note: What about you, reader-friends? Are you satisfied with your current job? What would make it better? How important is job satisfaction to you? Have you ever asked "Is that all there is" after a 40-hour work week?


Linda said...

I do like my job, I went to school for it, and I am good at it. However, I am given some space to work ont things by myself. When I have to share projects and they don't go my way, I hate it!

Sigh, I guess the thing I hate about a 9-5 is that I feel like I am going to jail every morning. I wish I could just rebel and do whatever the hell I wanted every day...such is life.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, I want to be a SAHM. I want to make my own schedule. It's one reason I couldn't be in a sorority--I could NEVER stand someone else telling me where to be and when and what to wear and how to act. But at the same time, I wonder if I will find personal fulfillment enough in staying at home doing chores all day? I don't know. I want the freedom to find out, and I do know that if I continue to work, I want to do something that has as little to do with a desk and fluorescent lights as possible. I just don't know what it is that I would do!

Sustainable Life Blog said...

I ask that not only at the end of every week, but just about at the end of every day. I dont really mind so much the things that I'm doing, I just dont get enough of them to do to occupy my time. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. Another thing I dont like is the pay (but that's probably true for everyone) and the fact that I have to drive 50 miles one way to work. Staying closer to my house and making less money would make me much happier, and I know it.
Right now, it's tedious and I just work to get to the end of the week. Unfortunately, this leaves me little time to build a side business or develop more skills.

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I do love my job, even if there are things in it that I don't like or even want to do. That's what happens when the economy tumbles and everyone has to pick up the slacks after a layoff.

But I still believe in my non-profit and our mission - if only we could seem to stick to that and not expand it every five minutes. That's what gets frustrating sometimes.

Andi said...

As you know, I left the 40 hour, 9-5 career because I wasn't at all happy with it.

Even though the money was not an issue, I was miserable and tired of working for people whose morals I constantly questioned.

I have not once looked back. I know that I am sacrificing money for doing what I love (cooking, working with people, learning about food), but I know that in a few years I plan to have my own business.

I do understand that not everyone can just quit their jobs and do what they love. But, for those of us who do -- find it rewarding, life changing, and the best decision ever made. :)

COL said...

Throughout my adult life, I would sit at my work desk and think to myself, "What would I be doing if I didn't have to be HERE?"

At my last corporate job, every single morning I would walk through the front door, look up the number overhead and say to myself, "I wonder if today is the day I get fired?" Nice, eh?

I've been working for myself for 9 years now. I am an independent contractor for 2 companies. It's fabulous!!!! I get up at 8:30am each morning and I have a 10ft commute to my desk. I can take an afternoon off if I want (which is what I am going to do next) and do whatever I want. I never have to ask for time off. The only curse is that I have to set the timer on the stove sometimes so I actually STOP working... I like it and can work into the night sometimes. I like that I don't have to go to an office and put in time just being there... it is like jail like Linda said.

The best thing is that I haven't once, since I started working for myself, asked myself what I would rather be doing because I'm lucky enough to be doing it. Not every day is easy, but the fun days outnumber the non-fun ones!!

dors said...

crystal you adorable woman, thanks for that! i loved that you called me bloggie friend, it made me smile. it's very interesting to read your follower's comments too. their stories are quite inspirational, maybe it won't take too long until i get the courage to do what i truly want. am loving reading your tweets, btw :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, New reader here. This post hit home. I am currently very unhappy in my job, but am currently very stuck in my job (husband just graduated Law school and i have been sole income for 2 years now). But after these two years I think I have learned what it is that I hate most. Its a large private, corporate company. I dont know everyone I work with, and they dont know me, or care to know.... all of the jobs in my past, I have been close with coworkers and felt comfortable going to work everyday. It rarely felt like work.
Where I work now, I feel expendable. Like I make no difference. And thats hard to swallow. I hope your job starts to improve. I know its hard going to a job you hate everyday. And I hope you can find something to do everyday that gives you some personal satisfaction.

Chris Rodell said...

As I said back when I had to wake up at 6 a.m., anything that gets up that early ought to be milked.

The kind of torment you described fueled my drive to depart it as soon as I could. Freelance writing now for nearly 20 years, there have been lots and lots of lean times, but that's been mingled with lots of golf, lots of laughter, and many, many Happy Hours in bars and happy hours with my wife and our little loved ones.

I hope your current miseries motivate you to find an escape. When you do, it'll feel like you've busted out of prison.

Don't quit your writing! Ever!

Good luck.

Chris R.

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