April 3, 2008

Office Jobs: The Tipping Point

Update – 7/28/2015
It has now been more than 7 years since I wrote this post! If anyone is interested, I am finishing up my degree this summer and am now getting ready to apply to graduate school this fall. It has been a long and tough process but I have learned a lot along the way. I now have a much better picture of the type of career I am looking for and hope to pursue a job that allows me to work outdoors studying our planet. While it will require some time at a desk, it is far more interesting to me than my old technical support position that I had when I originally published this post. Good luck to everyone out there that still follows this comment thread!

Update – 3/5/2014
Wow, it’s almost the 5 year anniversary of writing this post!. I just want to say thanks to everyone that keeps commenting, it’s really interesting to read what other people are feeling. If anyone is interested, I decided to go back to school a little over a year ago to pursue a new career field that allows me to work outdoors. So far I am really enjoying it. I think the key is to keep trying new things until you eventually find something you enjoy doing.

Update – 12/7/2012
It’s been more than 4 years since I wrote this post, thought now would be a good time to post a quick update. First off, I am still amazed by how many people have commented on this post! Over the past 4 years I’ve been self-employed as a web developer. It’s been fun and I have learned a ton about myself as well as business. Believe it or not I sometimes miss working in the office and having co-workers to mingle with. I’ve realized that I really disliked technical support as a career, which is why I hated my job so much. However, I do enjoy computer programming because it allows you to be more creative when finding solutions to difficult problems.

I think the point has almost come where I have had enough with the office jobs. I cannot stand sitting in cubicles pretending to be busy all day. I hate the fact I get paid for the time I spend here, rather than the amount of productivity I provide.

I swear, some weeks I do 40 hours of work and others I do 5. Either way I have to sit here for a minimum of 40 hours just to get a full paycheck. Not exactly the ideal work situation.

Now I know a lot of people may say I wish I had a job like this, which is fine. But honestly, I feel like I am wasting my life away by sitting here bored all day thinking of things I would rather be doing and places I would rather be. Everyone says you only get one shot at life, so why should I spend mine this way.

Sure It Pays Well

I know the job may pay more than other jobs, but I am not a money driven person my any means. Matter of fact, I am sick of the whole rat race. It seems like people here in America keep trying harder and harder to make more money so they can accumulate more stuff they don’t even need.

I barely own anything since I move so often, but I still feel like I own a lot of stuff I don’t need. Things like televisions and cable boxes are something I never need. I barely watch TV, so why have one. I am perfectly happy with the two suitcases I moved out to Hawaii with. A few sets of clothes, my MacBook, and a few other essentials. So in the next few months, I plan to sell more of my stuff. The only tough thing is going to be the car, which I only bought so I could commute to work with.

Time To Say Goodbye

So at some point in the very near future, I am going to kiss this “perfect” job away as some would say. I would rather work a job I enjoy and just be happy with what I have. The only stress in my life is caused by the combination of getting up early, commuting to work, sitting at work, and commuting home from work. Other than that, I am a very outgoing and happy person.

Back in college, I was broke almost the entire time. But you know what, I was never stressed out about anything, not even money. I used to give plasma just to have some beer money to go party with my friends. I lived off of oatmeal and rice and am willing to do it again if necessary. So obviously money is not the problem, but the fact I spend so much of my waking hours at a job that I have no motivation to perform well at.

I Don’t Even Want To Be Promoted

What is even worse about this job is when I look at the people of above me and realize I wouldn’t even want their position. So if you do not even want to move up to your supervisors position, why stick around? I never want to get a promotion or I’ll probably go even more crazy.

I am not real sure exactly what type of job I am looking for just yet. I would like to work outside that is for sure. Maybe a surf stand or cleaning boats or windows, who knows, just anything outside of an office. I used to do freelance work and loved it since I could set my own hours and wages. I also enjoy writing and hope to make some income off of this blog at some point.

Photo Credit: darkpatator

444 thoughts on “Office Jobs: The Tipping Point

  1. Jesse

    I’m absolutely loving these comments! Some of these remarks hit close to home! I have a pretty typical office job, but it differs from most in that I have more freedom to leave and come back as is required. But even with this flexibility, I feel trapped and isolated. I work as an arts and entertainment reporter for a small newspaper in western North Carolina. I spend most of my days calling different people so I can write stories that I couldn’t care less about and I’m fairly confident my readers feel the same.
    Even worse, if you stay at the same newspaper for more than a year, you will begin to write about the same things repeatedly… If i have to write one more story about some old man that predicts the weather by counting beans and looking for black squirrels, I’m going to break!

  2. Amy

    Me again! Just updating you all on my life outside the office. Boy, I was missing out! Life is beautiful. I am in medical school and I am traveling to Jamica, Guatamala, China, and various of other places. I am living my dream and I love it! Life is so much better outside the office, so I encourage you all, if you can to follow your passion. I am glad I did, best choice ever. I know how you all feel about working in an office. I was unhappy and wasting a huge chunk of my life doing so. Enough was enough when I became sick from all the stress and irritated with the lack of advancement and backstabbing coworkers. I am freeeeeee!!!! XD

  3. jack

    I am 28 years old with a Bachelor of Science degree in Enviro Sci. I am also a certified technician (C. tech). At age 17, I was told that going to university to get a degree is the right decision and the next step in life after highschool. Instead of thinking for myself, I followed the crowd and went to school, passed and now I have a office job that I hate and a pay that hardly shows how hard I have worked in the past decade.

    I have been working my ass off in this field and it seems like I am making no headway. I absolutely hate the office environment. I am stuck sitting at a desk staring at the computer “looking busy”. There is nothing for me to do and I have NO passion in any projects.

    I feel like I am getting dumber by the minute. I am not utilizing my brain at all and I feel like a zombie. My girlfriend thinks I am going crazy and I feel like I am losing my memory. I believe its from lack of brain activity from 8 – 5pm. I have a hard time snapping out of my zoned out zombie phase after work. Socializing is difficult because Ive spent the last 8 hours talking to no one and staring at a google page.

    My real life starts after work at five, when I rush to the gym, rush home at 630, rush to cook dinner, rush to clean up. By this time I am completely exhausted and worn out that I just want to go to bed and repeat the same process the next day. For what? To make a mortgage and truck payment?

    My week is dreaded. I start out the week with a positive atitude and by wednesday, I am ready to go nuts. At this point I look forward to friday and on the weekend I utilize my free time to recharge from my rushed work week. Sunday night rolls around and I dread going back to the office wasting my life away, being unproductive and miserable. I listen to my cooworkers bitch all day about their kids, husband, house etc etc and I could give two shits about it. One co worker has a kid and another on the way. her husband is lazy as shit and they are buying a huge house together. She always complains about the office and bitches about everything. SO BITTER. She keeps burying herself in debt and I watch it unfold before my eyes. I am glad I am not this dumb.

    I set myself up to not be as dependant on fulltime work. I sold my expensive truck and bought a more affordable SUV (no more car payment). I made my basement into an apartment and I am renting it out so right now I am living mortgage free. I am watching my expenses like a hawk and I know exactly where my money is going. I have determined that I need $1000 per month to live and enjoy the things I am doing now. I am involved in alot of travelling, bachelor parties, stags, gifts, weddings, etc THIS SHIT ADDS UP QUICK. My plan is to quit my full time office job this summer and return to college for an electrical technician program. I am hoping that a job in the trades will get me moving more and using my talents more. I have always been a hard “hands on” worker. I dont mind getting dirty and I like to see accomplishments. I want to socialize. I want to listen music. I need something laid back with less pressure. I wish I would have put some though into my career choice instead of following the pressures from society.


    1. Favian


      You and I my friend are nearly identical in our viewpoints. Please reach out to me, would like to discuss further.


  4. Jim

    Hi Justin, I also had an office job and I hated it. You said that you are pursuing a new career. I am very curious what profession you are wanting to get into?

  5. Kristy

    Hi. I’ve stumbled upon this blog with curiosity. I love that I have found people who feel the same about being trapped in a non stimulating environment. Though I have a great paying job for someone with no college degree, I am an outdoors sun, sand, ocean lover and need to set myself free. I get anxiety and anger everyday I have to go to work. Then my depression sets in and I rack my brain on ideas that would free me of an office job…….3 years later I’m still seeking. I don’t know what to do. I would like to start a website pertaining to one of my passions. Any thoughts or advice?


    Hi, just read your blog and have to say it is very similar to me. I think offices and particularly open plan offices are the most unproductive places to work. Too many distractions/noise, meetings that prevent you from doing your core work objectives etc. etc.. It is a privilege to work outdoors summer or winter. I went to Uni got a degree in what I do now-building surveying. I actually enjoy the surveying bit because I love old buildings/technology etc. But I need a career change after fifteen years. I worry that I’d be throwing all the hard work and study away, but at the end of the day surely happiness/joy/laughter and hard work are precious commodities too.
    Best Regards
    Paul UK

    1. Aeron Rees

      Hi P Philips

      Very similar position to the one that you were and like you, would like to become a building surveyor, I’m currently a town planner, how did you make your transition?



      1. paul

        Hi Aeron,

        With you already being a town planner its much of a leap, you prob know loads already.

        TBH you might need to do a course in building hnc or us equiv, or apply for graduate positions then work up they are usual quite well paid even a grad level.

        Or just apply for building surveyor jobs and knock their socks off at interview!

        I’m sure you’ll get something mate, all the best keep in touch.


      2. paul

        Hi Aeron,

        With you already being a town planner its not much of a leap, you prob know loads already.

        TBH you might need to do a course in building hnc or us equiv, or apply for graduate positions then work up they are usual quite well paid even a grad level.

        Or just apply for building surveyor jobs and knock their socks off at interview!

        I’m sure you’ll get something mate, all the best keep in touch.


      3. paul

        or apply for a building surveying job with day release to college.

        Another good way to stat as a building surveyor is to do stock condition surveying of social housing, schools or hospitals.

  7. Christine

    This is encouraging! I dreaded the first day I walked into my office job fourteen years ago and drag myself on every morning. The last five years are the same cycle every single year, I can’t imagine repeating it for the next 20. I made a decision to change and gave myself 12 weeks to find something and do something about it.

    Next month I will be starting my training for a commercial pilot licence. I am so excited and have not felt so many exciting feelings in a long time – scared, nervous, excited, anxious – in a long time.

  8. feelinglow

    I have been searching the web for months, probably even years now looking for people who feel the same as me about… well… “normal life”. I graduated from Art college in 2007 and since then have had several ‘careers’ in offices which I have stayed at for a year here, 3 years there, but never truly felt comfortable and ended up moving on. I am very much an outdoor person. I love animals and children but never followed a career with them. I guess I assumed I needed more from life?
    This year I got engaged, bought a house and now having to stash thousands of pounds away in the hope to pay for it all.
    Through all of this stress, I feel like the office job I currently hold (which pays very well) should be exactly what I want in life,… but its not. I feel claustrophobic, and have lost all care, and recently been feeling so unbelievably depressed. I am sitting at my desk right now writing this, as my job is unbelivably slow Im sure no one even knows im here. This morning, I couldnt even get up. Im usually an early riser, but today, nothing. I am in a very bad way and worried quitting my job so close to the wedding can be suicide, but I feel like if I stay here, I might have a breakdown. After a stressful evening last night of thinking about work and what I should do, I had an immense dizzy spell and throbbing pain in my head. I couldnt speak properly and felt very disorientated. I’m only 29 years old for gods sake!
    I know I need to make changes in my life, but is it too late? I just want to be free. I always thought this was weakness and my lack of drive for a career, but I cant help being this person… i dont want a career to define who I am, I am not made for this life.

    1. Paul


      You are not alone.

      I too went for a ‘credible’ career that unfortunately involves some time in an office.

      I find them counter-productive, un-user-friendly spaces to work. Where even the slightest error/thing gets magnified ten-fold.

      I too am more comfortable working outdoors.

      I too feel bad about this, like i am somehow not professional/competant/strong enough to work in an office.

      I am constantly considering a career move into something that doesnt involve office work.

      Most of the jobs pay less, which is a factor. But what price happiness.

      I have battled for years with distress of working in offices, tried hypnotherapy etc.

      At 29 you are not too old to change career, i am 40.

      Best of luck in your decision. You need to trust your gut-instinct and truly do what you consider to be right for you, and no-one else. Not parents/wife/family/friends/colleagues. You.

      Life is too short to be unhappy. Work takes up much of your life. Worrying about it takes up all of it.

      We will both do the right thing mate. I am in the same boat as you. Lets both do the best for ourselves!!

  9. Daniel

    Hi Guys,

    It’s been several years, almost 4, in fact, since I wrote my first post here. Still in the same job as I was back then. After sometime I thought that eprhaps I just needed to grow into it, and get adjusted. I’ve always given my best, despite my personal feelings towards it, and was even offered a promotion that would give me a much better dalary and oerks… I turned it down!

    Just the tought of keep doing this for more and more years with the pressure, and the dramas and so forth, adding to it the complete “I could care less” feeling that never went away, I immediatly felt trapped, falling down a hole. All the family and society pressure for keep reaching for a higher profile job, to earn more, moeny and respect and so on, could all go to sh*t at that point for all I cared. After the proposal I got physically and mentally sick, just for the proposal in itself, because I was feeling obliged to take it.

    I had na epiphany during that time… Enough was enough and I was having no more of it. For too long I silenced my inner voice while I listened to others, so, for all intents and purposes, so far I had always lived based on someone else«s choices and view points, not mine.

    Last September I enrolled in an osteopathy degree finally putting me on the path to a health related career where I have the flexibility to be my own master and help people, while making a decente living. Since I turned 30 last year and alreayd had a degree in business, it’s not an easy change, since I have to keep my work while I study, leaving little free time, however, finally I talk about what I’m doing and learning with a passion and looking forward for the next 3 years, for my graduation. It’s not all happy faces and rose petals, since I still feel a lot of pressure from family to resume my previous path, not to mention that I often ask myself if I’m already to old to change lanes or not, with all the risk that envolves. With this said, however, I had to choose between a life I think is worth living or a life of unhapiness and work to pay the bills.

    I finally said F*** it and went with my gut!

    My advice to everyone out there looking to do the same… shut out the voices in your life that say “No way, you’ll never make it” , “Nah, I tried that didn’t work for me, why would it work for you”, “you’re crazy, you have a great job that provides for your family”, ” You have a stable paycheck, go with it” The arguments are plenty and more or less always the same. Search for what path would provide you with goals and entusiasm, do a lot of soul searching and research for retraining costs and schdules and oportunites but always remeber, for each day you delay the begginign of this process, it’s an extra day you didn’t change anything about your tomorrow. Don’t feel bad if your inital searches don’t provide you results ( I took about 2-3 months to finally decide where to go next), just keep going at it, keep thinking, keep searching and above all, keep silent, the less people know about it the better, as most likely, you’ll be surrounded by nay sayers.

    Go after your goals and keep strong and dedicated to them!

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Thanks a lot for posting an update. I took a similar path and returned to school a few years ago in order to pursue a new career that I am passionate about. I’ll be turning 30 soon as well and hope to have my degree finished up this summer. While it has been a lot of working going to school and working, I can say that it was definitely worth the effort. I also discovered that going to school as an adult was a lot better than the first time I went to college since I am much more driven and am able to apply skills I have learned from working to my studies. Good luck!


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