My tips for surviving a dull office job

July 30, 2014

Over the last year and a half I worked in an office that was beautiful on the inside of the building, so at least I had something nice to look at over my cubicle wall, but the work was very repetitive and most of the time, mind numbing at best.  The turn over rate was high, and lots of employees walked around jaded and angry. For a while there, I was one of those jaded and angry people too but it took me a year to find this job so I wasn’t about to quit. But eventually I discovered a few little things that made a big change in my attitude that helped get me through the day in one piece.

1. Your iPod will become your new best friend
If your job allows you to listen to music without being distracting to your task, you will want to keep your iPod LOADED with music and podcasts. Hour long podcasts were a life saver for me. Plus, I discovered Pandora has a stand up comedy station that had me cracking up. I must have looked crazy laughing at the computer by myself. Be sure to keep your charger with you.

2. Be friendly with your cubicle neighbors
Having someone to talk to, to break up the monotony of your work for even just a minute, will make the day more bearable. Plus, you can vent to each other about office life and it’s like free therapy.

3. Make a snack schedule
This was probably the most life saving tip for me. Doing this gave me something to look forward to each hour or so because I freakin love food. For me, I’d get to work at 8:30 and would anxiously wait to enjoy my fruit flavored tea at 9:30. Then I’d eat my breakfast (muffin, bagel, or cereal) at 10. Then I’d have a yogurt at 12:30 which would get me through till 2:00 which is when I’d take by 30 minute lunch break. Then at 3:00 I’d have another snack like fruit or crackers. And then at 4:30 I went home. All the while in between, I ate life savers and other small hard candies to wake me up and give me something to enjoy in between. Plus, having these little snacks gave me an excuse to get up from my desk to stretch my legs and throw away any garbage.

4. Take a late lunch
Because by the time you get back from break, it’s almost time to go home! All these little snacks throughout the day kept my blood sugar up allowing me to take a late lunch. Taking late lunches made the day feel like it flew by for me. By pushing my lunch break back, it gave the illusion that it was still morning only it really wasn’t because I’d get to swipe out to go home 2 hours after my lunch.

5. Bring air freshener or a light perfume for the bathroom
The ventilation in our women’s bathroom was HORRENDOUS and because of this, I tried to avoid high traffic times like before and after lunch. If I had to use the restroom though, I’d bring a tiny bottle of air freshener or body spray to the bathroom with me to spritz in the stall before I went in to help keep my gag reflex in check. The person who uses the stall after you will thank you. I had no idea how disgusting some women’s hygiene habits were until I worked in an office.

6. If you’re really bored and can’t take it anymore, clean your desk
We were provided with Lysol wipes to wipe down our desk area and I must have had the cleanest most disinfected desk in the entire building. I took the opportunity to clean my work area any time I was about to snap from boredom, which was frequently. Cleaning gives you an excuse to take a break from your work without getting in trouble, it makes it look like you’re busy, but your mind will get to take a rest.

7. Learn a new task
If you’re able to get training on a new task, take it. It will break up the monotony of your job and give you something new to focus on and alternate between. Plus, the time spent training was actually fun because I got to interact with another human being and not have to really work.

8. Don’t look at the time/make your tool bar disappear so you don’t see the clock
I know earlier I mentioned to start a snack schedule, but I only started doing that once I finally got used to not looking at the time every 10 minutes. One of the buttons I had to click over and over again at my job was right near the clock in the tool bar, so I put a tiny piece of paper over it so I wouldn’t constantly think, Gees it’s only been 2 minutes since I looked at the time last? That certainly made me feel horrible. It’s like putting blinders on a horse.

9. Eventually you will become numb to it all
There was a period of time about 5 or 6 months into my time there where I was an absolute nightmare to be around. I’d get angry at my coworkers for not doing their fair share of work, I was tempted to walk out and quit, I’d take short breaks without swiping out just so I could rest my eyes, or I’d putz around on the computer not really focusing or doing any work because I thought I deserved better. But after a while it suddenly stopped being so hard mentally and I just kind of accepted it. I also probably just had to get readjusted to life working again after a year of unemployment. But I attribute my acceptance to coming up with these tips and things slowly got better. I just kind of got used to the dullness.

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