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. mayank

    i am looking for some job which involves physical work,technical wor,good food,good money,and involves meeting people…..can any1 please sugget me….i have done engineering in electronics n communication in 2008
    pleasse give suggestions

  2. RobS

    I think most people would agree cubicles are awful places to work! Even more so if you have a particularly bad one. For all the cubicle-dwellers out there – check out the Pimp My Cube competition currently running at http://www.contestfactory.com/pimp/
    Your terrible workspace might just win you a cubicle makeover!

  3. Frank

    Few years ago, after finishing law school, I found a good profesional desk job. After a few year of gaining weight and stress, I left a good job. From that day until today, no more desk job and my focus on a first place is my happiness. To do and to live doing thing you like is very important in life. Personal opinion. The ” Profesional Ego ” of the desk was an issue. Now is resolve. It will be very good to the person who can keep a balance between both worlds.

    1. Will


      If you don’t mind me asking, what do you do now? I’m curious because I’m considering law school.

  4. Rajesh

    How is the idea to become a freelancer? I love web designing but got 10 hrs per day job at Accenture. I ditched the job, now I am going for full-time freelancing at 22. :)

  5. Aubrey


    I do indeed feel the way you do and have for a long time. Being a wage slave is one of the most dehumanizing experiences anyone could endure, yet we subject ourselves by the millions to it, simply accepting our life sentences for the “crime” of being born because, well, hey, that’s always the way it’s been.

    No one should have to work in order to live. Isn’t Life supposed to be one of our unalienable rights? If it is, then why do we have to “earn a living”? We don’t have to earn our other rights, do we?

    I encourage everyone I meet/speak to/have anything to do with to check out the Zeitgeist film series at http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com and get involved in The Zeitgeist Movement at http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com. It is the change you want to see in the world.


    – Aubrey

  6. anna

    I stumbled onto this blog because i googled ‘i hate office jobs’ whist at work, of course. i hate everything about it, the paperwork, the politics, the routine.
    The studio where i was working as a graphic designer closed down after the crisis, there’s realistically not enough freelance work to pay my bills and finding a job in design for the last year it has been really tough (i live in London, UK – the crisis is quite bad here).
    When i found this job i honestly felt lucky… for a little while.
    I hate the status associated with office job: oh, is a good job, you must be smart, you are lucky. No other job made me feel so mind numb.
    I feel like a hamster. I actually miss making coffee at Starbucks, is that bad.
    I honestly hope to find something else soon.
    Or else, i’ll go back to Starbucks…

  7. Robo Rep

    I have been in an office job for 10 years in my current position and 8 years at the beginning of my working career. I assume that most you blogers on here are much younger than me. I promised myself years ago when I left my office job I would not ever do this again. However, I went back on my promise to keep a source of income to support my 2 children. The oldest is a JR in college and the other in middle school in the 7th grade. I am married and both my spouse & I need to work to pay the bills. I HATE MY JOB AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE REP ON AN 800 LINE!!! I feel like the computer is part of my body, my headset & phone is the ball and chain that keeps me locked in my chair in the cubical that I call a prison cell. Yes, just like the rest of you I chose the office job! For pay, benefits, and may other perks that come with it. However, I am not allowed 1/2 a second unaccounted for. Calls come in one after the other and no time in between to note an account or say 2 words to your cell mate in the cube next to you. It is exhausting and maddening and the stress that is created by the micro management is through the roof! I could go on forever, but I think I have painted a clear picture for you! To get to my point. We all have to work to survive. However, to make a decent pay in an average position you make self sacrifices to provide for the ones you love! Getting back to my early comment about my assuming most of you being younger and why I mention this. It is because most of the current working generation are not familiar with the benefits and value of a UNION!!! There are very few UNIONS left today and major corporations don’t want them because they protect people like us!!! Some companies even hold Union Awareness Meetings to keep them out. They want control & power to keep from having to provide a fair & decent pay rate and benefits. Also, the ability to terminate whenever they want or need to. WAKE UP AMERICA AND BRING BACK THE UNIONS!!!


    As i was reading that article i felt like the writer was talking about my feelings. That is exactly how i feel working behind my desk and sitting down for 12 hours a day!!!! Am so damn tired, bored and i wonder what am still doing here, I want to do something more interesting and something i will enjoy doing, like an outdoor activity like Wedding planner.

  9. seo

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  10. helpmehilary

    Just saying thanks for writing this post. I also hate working in an office. I hate how you have to have a whole pretend personality. I work in PR with lots of cliquey girls who weirdly seem to genuinely love making my boss rich. I work in media so everyone thinks I’m lucky – but an office is an office.

    Everyone is very competitive & cares about their jobs. It makes me hate it even more because I have to pretend to be enjoying myself all day and boast about my achievements so I don’t get sacked when I don’t care really. I want to actually have a real life instead. I have so many interests and passions that I never have time for – I just feel like I’m wasting my life :(

    In my last job it was a little better because everyone hated their jobs and would skive off as much as possible. Where I am now people snitch on you if you speak against the company and use it their advantage. People ask for your help and then take all the credit. People hug and air kiss and say amazing 20 times a day…people pretend to be your friend so they can devise coups over coffee.

    I hope you can find a way to escape. I spend a lot of time at work devising escape plans. I hope everyone reading this escapes! I agree with the Robo about bringing back unions. I think my coworkers would scoff at that – they have internalized the ideology of their masters and take pride in working as much as possible for little pay and no benefits. They wear it like a badge that proves how ambitious they are, how much they love the job and the product we sell. Sometimes it feels like a cult.

  11. Accountant

    I hate my job! I hate it during tax season and outside of tax season. I hate working 10-11 hour shifts and I hate sitting in the office while there isn’t any work to be done.
    I went to school for 6 years to get my MBA degree. Invested a lot of time and money into the CPA exam. It is not the accounting side of my job that i HATE, but the cubicle!!! The only time I see sunlight is when I am driving to work in the morning. By the time I am out of the office (why call it office, CUBICLE – JAIL!) it is dark. I want a career change, just don’t know what. I hate sitting behind a desk for long periods of time. It is just not me. I worked full time and went to school full time all six years of college and never complained. I actually liked school-very much. I am 26 years old and just don’t see myself doing this for another year. I think I will be done with this job at the end of this tax season.

    1. Krystal

      @Accountant: My words, exactly. I don’t see myself here for another year at all. I am going to quit in July (we have an audit and of course, they say that we should all “help out” but I am going to be the main one who has worked dumped upon her. My supervisor told everyone to check their calendars because she wants us all here. Are you freaking kidding me??? Are we like, 10-years-old?! I am tired of it and I am leaving! When she tells us the audit date, I will be quitting before hand by either taking my vacation or leaving on the spot and getting my paid vacation paid out. Either way, I win. I am tired of sitting up in a cubicle and wasting my life. It is not worth it and I am 26 too! This will be my last pointless employee review (no advancement here anyways so I will not gain any merit here. The job was never described the way I was told), pointless meetings, forced birthday parties, and passive aggressive bosses (yes, we have like a zillion bosses and this is crazy!). For my sanity, I have to leave this is not worth it. It feel like a prison, with a supervisor sitting next to me and watching my every move! I want freedom to live my dream. I will attend medical school overseas this year and I am so excited! It’s a change in my life, no more living a life of mediocricy.

      1. HK PM

        I am so happy that so many people feels the same way as I do now – I am 27 years old and had my masters and everything….for what? so i can work in the office and hating my job everyday?

        I did try to stay positive, since my work has minimal dress code – jeans and t-shirt is totally acceptable, and my co workers are great, and that work is work, it will be like that everywhere.

        I feel like I’m babysitting at office if not worst – same customer asking the same questions, the vendor doesn’t know what is going on, colleagues cutting corners and making mistakes. at least we can tell kids to have a time out!

        I am looking into doing something new – maybe teach arts and something creative; conduct workshops for parents doing crafts with their kids….27 years old, there are still long way to go before i die, I don’t want to hate my life until then.

        1. Anita

          Hey, i wrote something here, maybe a year or so ago, not sure how long this blog has been here! I wrote how i hated it in the office etc etc and how its soul destroying etc etc.
          Luckily i got the chance to be made redundant! Its good, i got the money and i ran! But i have a mortgage to pay, so i had to quickly think of a new route i could go down.
          Retail. So i did a few internships and volunteering, one was great, the other was great to start with, then i found out the manager was a liar and he ruined my confidence, and it started all over again in the retail sector this time.
          That was in Feb, right now, im looking for jobs, ACTIVELY looking. But i still feel low, because my confidence was wrecked in the office job for over 5 years and when i thought i was getting out of it, i got it wrecked again by a shop manager, a Ugandan fake rastafarian lol.
          Anyway, so he made me feel like i was useless, so what im doing now is making things. I’m being creative. I have made cushion covers, bags, jewellery made from Clay and now im making stuffed dolls.
          I want to do something creative, but be my OWN BOSS!

  12. costa mesa plumbing

    I do agree with your thoughts.I also stick to my laptop whole day and feels like that I become workaholic and just want to spend some time out of office and out of reach my laptop and PC.Looking for outdoor and interesting job that will enhance my skills in outer world.Thanks for sharing your views.

  13. amro

    hi, my name is amro. im from Saudi Arabia, i did my bachelor’s degree and Masters degree from the UK. just to get an office job, well, i got it. im the recruitment manager for a big company, the moeny is ok, but i fucking hate everything about it, eventhough i live in religious country, i drink alcohol each day, even in the morning, i make my own wine just to forget about it.

    i dont want this, i want to be free, o god i feel like crying now. i hate it!!!!!!!

  14. David

    wow, i feel like i just wrote this article myself… you pretty much said EXACTLY what i’ve been thinking for the longest time now. my job itself is pretty cool, but the fact that i spend the majority of my day (or life for that matter) sitting in this stupid effing office chair, staring at this stupid effing screen is really starting to wear down on my body and mind, and i feel a STRONG impluse to finally do something about it. the problem is, i’m not sure i could find another job in which i’m qualified for that would pay at least what i’m making now. the bills have to get paid. anyways, i’m glad i found this article so that i can see what all the other caged animals are saying on this topic. life is too short to spend it wasting away at a freaking desk…

  15. Dave

    If this is the way you feel about life then DO NOT EVER HAVE CHILDREN. If you do, this “rat race” you are talking about will gain a whole new importance. You will need money. You will need possessions. You will have people depending on your time, energy, money, and commitment to some livelihood to keep their lives going. Just don’t have kids if this is your life philosophy. You’ll be miserable.

    As an added note, its funny how bohemian philosophy’s like this always come from unmarried people and almost always come from men. Just an observation.

    1. Anita

      lOVE IT! I will never have children, as i have to make money to pay for a mortgage. Listen to this. I came home from Uni and i spent three years out there living without mummy and daddy and then i come home and i want my own place. I suggest renting, they saved so much money because i never wanted anything when i was a kid, they bought me a house instead. And cos i was working in the dreaded office then, back in 2006, i could afford to pay the mortgage! I don’t even know the first ting about mortgages. Think i got into that side of life too soon. Imagine if i had, had kids! The money i would have to make for them, the money i would have to spend on them cos you know kids want things what other people have! At the moment, until im 44, i will not have kids or ever want them really.

    2. Darko

      Maybe it’s true, this philosophy mostley comes from men and unmarried people but that doesn’t matter, I guess it’s the testosterone running true our vains. We want to accomplish something, not being a sheep like the other people who are fake as hell!

  16. pupi

    ive just started working. and ive just realised what a big rat race it is, the world that we are living in. its all about the money money money…i wish i can break free like you Justin. Will try =) wanna thank you, your blog cheers me up on bad days. =)

  17. Bathroom Renovations Perth

    Yes, it may be true but their are always pros and cons of different jobs such as if you are in field job there might be chances to be late in the field or you may have to work in odd hours.So it depends on person to person nature what his/her interest is.

  18. Tammie

    After spending 8 hours a day under flourescent bulbs, so many hrs staring at a computer screen, and driving home, the energy is GONE and what quality of life is left…..believe me…..there are more of us out there than even we realize….I plan to make a change….one reason I am reading to see what others are doing and saying. I wish everyone could escape cubicle hell, at least for a portion of the day. Is it any wonder the US worker is less productive….many are lucky to have a week’s vacation a year and the employers just don’t get it. I am more fortunate, I get two whole weeks….

  19. Stephen A Grant

    I agree with this whole article and I’ve only been in the job one day as an intern. Sadly I don’t think I’m qualified to go and get a job somewhere else until I get at least a years worth of experience

  20. D87MAC

    wow… reading everyone comments is like if i wrote my own personal journal.
    Is this really my life? I have been depressed for about a month now and it all stems back to this job. I do not know what to do anymore.. I wake up feeling sick because of the thought of going back to place but i still go..drive here in traffic..get here, open up my email to read about issues that i could care less about.. drive home.. in traffic.. get home, lay in bed and dread about tomorrow. really? is this what life is about?
    The only thing i enjoy about my job is that it makes me money and i got to buy a car. But is staying here feeling like this worth it? The movie Fight club had it right.. The things you own, end of owning you. I work at a shit job i hate to pay for the things i own, but really, what owns what?

    what am i doing? I dont even make a ton of money for this crap.. im still living pay check to pay check after all my bills are paid. but yet, here i am, sitting in this chair. working i job i hate to buy shit i dont need.

    In all honesty, i like staying late at work. WHAT! you say? because thats the only time of the day where i am alone, and no one around me bitching and complaining about shit i could care less about. I get to do work at my own pace with out the stupid morons around me acting like they love this place and love their job. HOW CAN YOU LIKE THIS? i just dont get it. then i realized, they like this because this is all they have in their lives; this is it for them. for me? no, i hate it because i know i can be better and i deserve better. but here i am… stuck.
    time is passing by, and i am wasting the best years of my life sitting staring at a screen. Everytime i hear someone here say “OMG! i cant believe its March!” i think, wow.. another month is past and another month i wasted. I swear im not staying another month… but, here i am…
    I get zero sense of accomplishment in this shit hole. I finally get something done and then 10 seconds later BAM! the same thing lands on my desk just for a different day.. WTF!!! how can anyone like this f-ing job? how can you sit here and smile and say THANKS!! i cant wait to do this.. AGAIN! but everyone around me does that… smiling, going out for lunch, making stupid jokes that are not even close to being funny, but.. everyone throws on that stupid fake laugh.. at everything. I swear if i have to hear “omg guys its noon, what are we like getting for lunch? or when the bosses door is shut hear all these tools complaining on how they hate the boss and then the boss comes out and all you can hear is lips smacking together because there kissing the bosses ass so hard… im just gunna snap.

    Office space had it right “its like everyday i am working is worse than the day before it, so everyday you see me, thats on the worst day of my life”.
    But what can i do? I spent a lot of money on school to work in this industry.. what was i thinking? so now i took out a loan to go to school to get a job and make money. but now its a job a hate and im only hear to pay off the schooling it took to get this job? WTF!! UGH..

    I look over at all these people next to me and there all laughing having a great ol’ time in there little high school like “clicks” and groups “hey guys, lets get all this work done and go out for lunch tehehe!” oh fuck off… jezzzzusss… your so fing fake.. i do not care what you did last night, i do not care what “healthy” food your getting for lunch (cleary its not working) i do not care what you ate for dinner last night or what stupid not funny thing your kid did last night.. but theres everyone else, fake lauging away like they have never heard something so funny.
    but.. here i am..

    sorry for the long vent, but i needed to kill some time in this day so i can go home and prepare my body and brain for another day exactly like this one… wheres the beer?


    1. Darko

      The biggest problem is not being able to be “yourself”. With that ass kissing culture, it’s so depressing people are like that.

  21. Angela

    I have worked for 27 years and was in a layoff about a year ago. I have been looking for a job and have had a couple of interviews but really wish I could think of something besides going back to the cubicle or office world.
    About three weeks ago I had an interview and walked through an office of cubicles on the way to the conference room for the interview. I had been away from it awhile and when I walked through my stomach just sunk. I thought do I really want to be stuck all day in a cube again. No Windows nearby. All the people were just staring at their computer screens and papers didn’t even look up at me. I am kind of glad I didnt get that job.
    I have to go back to work eventually. I have been getting unemployment but it is about at the end and I have tried and tried to find something. I just want to be HAPPY in my next job. I wish I could find something that there was a little bit of office but alot more walking around and doing some physical errands even if it is delivering mail and paperwork. I wish I could think of my own business to open if I could afford it.
    Then I look at the gas prices and having to drive back and forth each day. I think why does American have a FIVE-DAY work week and two days off ( if you are lucky to have weekends off) You would think that companies would start just working four-day work weeks to save on gas for the employees and enviroment. I would be willing to work an hour or so more a day to keep from coming in on a Friday or one day a week to enjoy MY LIFE and FREEDOM.
    I am glad to have found this blog. I was thinking maybe I was the only one in the world that thinks like this. I look around and no one else seems to care or complain about it. I say “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OR RATHER THE CUBE” (Cubicle) ha

  22. Anon

    OMG you have no idea! Wait, yes you do. I’m an engineer. I love solving problems, complex problems. I like spending hours on end mulling over a problem and how to solve it. What I don’t like is when my performance goes unnoticed or unappreciated (or appreciated in a very hollow way), and I am still stuck at the office regardless of what my workload is like. Right now I feel like my boss is spying on me… not to see what I’m working on but just to see that I’m still at the office. Bullshit. Let me go. What does he gain from having me at my post all day? If you want me sitting there, then give me something cool to do, and give me the freedom to actually get it done. Problem is, you stop wanting to do stuff when you aren’t rewarded for it or you’re micromanaged so much you can’t pursue a path you know to be the right way.

    I really want to start my own business someday. Despite how hard it is, I would much prefer a hard road that I forge on my own than deal with the bullshit of working in an office. I could be the smartest, most productive, best ass-kissing worker in the office, it still doesn’t change the fact that I have to be there for 40 hours a week and deal with my boss lording over me.

    1. Darko

      Here you got a point. You should try on your own being your own boss. Then your not unwillingly drained is some company-culture you don’t like

  23. paul

    Amazing article, exactly what I feel
    I get cabin fever (as someone I met who once worked in an office told me)



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