Something old, something new

I think one of the biggest reasons people have for going back to the office is face to face communication.

There is this idea that instead of continuing to embrace and further develop what was created from having to work from home, we should regress back to the way things were.

But I think there’s something to be said about those that choose to embrace change and move forward.

Pre-pandemic wasn’t necessarily better it was just what we were used to. And right now as we move forward, we have the opportunity to consider what works well and embrace something new.

Security over happiness

There’s a choice to be made that sometimes ends up being a sacrifice.

It’s possible to have security and happiness but people often make choices that prioritise one over the other.

They do this for reasons such as fear, a lack of self belief or because they have people relying on them.

It becomes difficult to choose to pursue something creative where you know you’ll go through a period of low finances and you have people to support. In cases like the choice is security because if you pick happiness the people that need you are now at risk.

Sometimes in life you do have to do things you might not want to do but it’s important that you do it for the right reasons. Choosing a path based on security because you have children to care for is very different from choosing security because you’re trying to appease your parents or impress other people.

5 reasons to quit your job

I think that what we do for a living matters. When you have to wake up everyday and do something that you don’t enjoy, interact with people you don’t agree with, work late to meet deadlines and give your time and energy to work that you don’t care about, maybe you should be doing something else.

I think we’re lucky that we’re liberated enough to have some choice about what we do. We have options. We have the opportunity to change our lives if we’re not happy with where we’re at.

And so here are some reasons to quit your job and move on to something better:

  • You no longer enjoy it
  • It requires more than you’re willing to give
  • You could get paid more at another company
  • You’re constantly saying you want to quit
  • You want to change careers

Value in the workplace

When you go to work, you want to feel like you’re of value. Perhaps not to the point where the whole place would fall apart without you but at least like what you contribute each day matters.

When a person wakes up, gets ready and goes to work, if they feel like they don’t need to be there or as though everything would seamlessly continue if they walked out, the person won’t take much care in the work they do.

And deep down or perhaps just beneath the surface we all know that often the care comes before the feeling of significance. It tends to start with taking pride in what you do and then the feeling of value or making a worthy contribution comes after.

But what if you’re doing your best and that feeling still never comes?

I think a big part of feeling of value in your job can come from external validation. This isn’t about knowing that you’re working hard and doing a great job but your manager or boss is undervaluing you. This is about how you feel about yourself and the role you play.

I think when a person doesn’t feel like they make a valuable contribution at work, they also start to feel a loss of interest in their work. When it seems like what you do doesn’t matter, what’s the point in caring?

If you don’t see the value in what you do and you’re not interested in it anymore then chances are you’re not happy either. And so the next step is to think about whether or not it’s time to move on to something new or to find a way to make things work.

The resignation daydream

When a person finds themselves in a job role they don’t want to be in, it often takes a while to leave.

They may regularly have the thought that of handing in their resignation, being in a job where they feel valued or starting over in a new city. However, they don’t take these thoughts seriously enough for them to result in taking action. Instead they consider them to be like a sort of daydream.

And this can go on for months or even years until they finally decide that they’ve truly had enough.

Or sometimes they’re pushed by unfortunate circumstances.

I guess the point is that if you’re unhappy and you know exactly what the cause is then you should do something about it. Happiness is possible, it doesn’t just have to be something that you daydream about.

Separating work from home

If you’ve found yourself working from home over the past 16 months, chances are that at some point the lines have blurred.

This happens when you don’t create clear boundaries. As much as working from home gives you more freedom and flexibility, you’re still working.

And so being curled up on the sofa with a blanket and ginger tea might seem like a good idea but in reality it’s not really the suitable space for writing up a report.

Back to the way things were

Around 18 months ago, the idea of working from home full-time was not an option for many people. However, last year it became our reality. Suddenly we had to adjust to new ways of working. We had to make space at home to work in the same way or as close to how we would in the office.

The world didn’t stop, we showed that it could in fact be done. But it happened because we were forced to rather than companies allowing it or wanting it to happen.

And now, as we get closer to getting ‘back to normal’, a lot of companies want the traditional ways of the 9-5 to return. However, many employees have adjusted to the new way of life and don’t want to go back.

They now save time and money spent on their journeys into work, are less likely to buy lunch, have more flexibility over how they spend their day and more.

For others, working from home may have brought less routine, more distractions, less productivity and a loss of culture/community.

I don’t think it’s a case of picking working from home or from the office but instead acknowledging that both options can work well and then finding a new way.

We don’t need to just go back to the way things were but we don’t need to totally abandon the office.

Short-term pros

When making a decision you might find yourself making a pros and cons list.

The choice you make in the end is likely to be based on whether the cons make the benefits worth it.

But sometimes we focus too much on the short-term. Making a particular decision might be great right now, great in 6 months and even great in a year. However, in 2 years or 5 years it will end up being something you regret.

Or, perhaps we allow short-term pros to outweigh long-term cons.

It could be taking a job where you earn way more money but isn’t in a field you want to progress in. Maybe the alternative was a job in the field you’re interested in but you passed it up because the salary is lower and the commute is longer.

In the short-term you’re earning more money and you’re journey to work is shorter. But in the long-term you’re progressing in a job you don’t want to be in which probably means you’re not as happy as you could be.

On the flipside, if you’d chosen the other job in the short-term you’re salary would be lower and your commute would be longer. However in the long-term, your salary will increase, you’re progressing in field you’re interested in, you may choose to move closer to work and have a shorter commute or perhaps you now work from home 2 or 3 days a week and best of all you’re happier.

3 things to do if you’re bored at work

For when your 9to5 starts to feel a little blah…

Work with what you’ve got
Find a way to bring more to what you’re already doing, how can you make it more interesting or do it better? When you’re giving your day to day tasks the bare minimum it’s no wonder you don’t feel good about them. It might help to think about the bigger picture, the contribution you’re making or why you went for the role in the first place.

Speak to people
Ask who needs help on a current project and let people know to keep you in mind for anything they have coming up in the future. Talk to your manager and let them know how you feel (maybe use stagnant or rut instead) and ask them for advice.

There’s a quote from a book called Linchpin that really struck a chord with me ‘You think your boss won’t let you, at the very same moment that your boss can’t understand why you won’t contribute more insight or enthusiasm.’ You might think there’s no opportunity for growth and newness in your current role but your manager might be waiting for you to let them know so they can help.

Look for a new job
Maybe the reason you feel bored is because you don’t want to be there. Luckily for you you don’t have to stay. A lot of people end up spending half a decade in a job that was meant to be a stop gap. It’s fine to stay longer than planned if you’re happy with where you’re at but don’t let laziness, familiarity and fear of fresh starts keep you stagnant.

I’d advise starting at the top and working your way down.

The simple life

I recently came across a short story that got me thinking about the way that we live. The gist of the story was that other people will try to convince us that instead of living a simple life that we are happy with now, we should be working hard so that we can live a simple life that we are happy with later.

We’re told that we should chase money and success until we can chase no more then we should settle down and enjoy life, finally reaping the rewards of our hard work.

But what if you could enjoy life right now.

Many people want a simple life but they’re taught that it’s not enough, they’re told that they should want more. And so they they sacrifice internal happiness for external validation and then they end up on a path that they don’t truly want to be on. But they plough on and on with the hopes that one day they can break free and live life the way they always wanted to. Often that time is retirement when you’re no longer required to work.

But if all you want to do is live in a little house by the coast and grow food and flowers in your back garden, why wait until you retire. Why not do it now instead of later?