Some things I’ve learned in the workplace

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I have now been employed full time for about 15 years, and I held lots of part time jobs in college & high school before that. Here are some things I’ve learned through the years:

  1. If your employer does not provide an ergonomically comfortable workspace for you, find a way to get your employer to provide you with one, or find another job. Working should not be physically painful.
  2. Laziness is not the same thing as boredom.
  3. Not understanding something, or not knowing how to do something, is not the same thing as stupidity.
  4. A good boss will help you accomplish things that you have never accomplished before, and will encourage you.
  5. A boss who sexually harrasses another employee is a shitty human being and you should quit working for that person.
  6. Bad bosses generally don’t last forever. They either quit or get fired.
  7. Bad bosses don’t get better, though.
  8. Some businesses still use phones, fax machines, and other equipment from the late 1980s.
  9. Some people do not care if their office equipment is hopelessly outdated.
  10. Some people do not know that their office equipment is hopelessly outdated.
  11. Long-time employees at a company can provide a helpful context for explaining why things are the way they are. Those same employees generally do not like change. But when those employees do implement new ideas, they’re usually some of the best ideas.
  12. It’s a lot easier to come to work in the morning when you have cheerful co-workers, than when you have co-workers who are mean, gossipy, sneaky, lazy, or negative. (Thank you, new job!)
  13. Sometimes, just a simple “thank you” or “good job” makes my day. Maybe I care too much about pleasing other people.
  14. Money is more important to me than I thought it was when I quit my last job.
  15. There’s probably no job that will ever make you happy. Happiness comes from a combination of pretty good things in life, not a job. A job may be one of the pretty good things, however.
  16. The converse of # 15 is that when your job sucks, pretty much everything else in life seems to suck, too.
  17. I have become much more grateful for the good things I have at work, and somewhat less irritated at the irritating things.
  18. The nonprofit world is full of mysteries. For instance, I don’t see much of our funders’ return on investment. Maybe that’s not how we’re judged. I don’t really know how we’re determined to be successful or not.
  19. The for-profit world is also bizarre. Your employer will claim that you must be a hard worker, but at almost every workplace is someone who’s worked there a long time and is not a hard worker.
  20. For-profit employers essentially only care about profit.
  21. It’s a fact. Men still make more money than women for the same work.
  22. Having a pay freeze for 2 years sucks, and is a good enough reason to keep one’s eyes open for another job.
  23. You shouldn’t risk your life in bad weather to drive to work, whether you like your job or not. No reasonable employer will want you to drive in a blizzard, for instance. If you’re expected to drive in a blizzard to get to work, you should look for a new job.
  24. You usually reap the benefits of what your predecessor accomplished, and suffer for the stupid things your predecessor did, too.
  25. One sick day per year for mental health is OK. No more. (Unless you have clinical depression or another physiological-based “mental” illness, of course.)
  26.  Follow your gut when it comes to job interviews. If something doesn’t make sense when you interview, don’t take the job.
  27. As far as I’ve been able to determine, everyone is replaceable.
  28. Children do not belong in the workplace and should not telephone their parents all day long at work. Family calls and text messages should be kept to a minimum.
  29. Politics and religion do not belong in the workplace. Leave them at home.
  30. American employers don’t grant enough vacation time, or provide employees with the time to take trips and breaks, and their companies suffer for it, but employers generally don’t understand this.
  31. Drinking soda at work makes you gain weight quickly.
  32. Soda weight is very difficult to take off.
  33. Casual dress makes it easier to go to work and helps poorly-paid employees to feel better about their jobs.
  34. Business casual dress costs a lot of money for women.
  35. Most employers keep their offices too cold in the summertime by cranking the air conditioning too much. What a waste of energy.
  36. It’s better to have a job where you’re really, really challenged with do-able work, than to have a job where you already know how to do everything and there’s no room for growth.
  37. It’s better to be swamped than not have enough work to do.
  38. An office that closes at 4:30 has an infinitely shorter workday than an office that closes at 5:00.
  39. Working at home is the best.
  40. Being trapped in an office can really be a drag, but it’s not as isolating as working at home.
  41. If you don’t dread going to your job when you wake up in the morning, you’re OK.
  42. If you dread going to your job when you wake up in the morning, it’s time to find a new job.
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2 Responses to Some things I’ve learned in the workplace

  1. Monica says:

    I found your post from July 31 while searching for INTJ and boredom. I suffer from the same thing. My therapist tells me it’s a common thing with our personality type.

    I was wondering if you’ve had any success brainstorming what you’d like to do for a career/job that you would enjoy? I’ve been thinking myself with no luck. I also thought that I could go back to school. But at this stage in my life, I don’t want to accumulate more school loans paying for a PhD. Nursing? No way! I don’t have enough patience for that. My therapist is having me take a career assessment test and a personality test so we can compare the two and get a list of possible job that I would like.

    I know this is a long comment. But I just wanted to tell you, I understand!

    Best wishes,
    Monica

    • clockwatcher23 says:

      Hi Monica,

      Thank you for your note. No, still haven’t found my true vocation but I really wish you luck in your own search.

      I’ve always thought I’d love to get paid to read books. I enjoy reading and I feel like “myself” (who she is) when I am reading a good book. I guess I sort of missed my calling – I should have gone for the Ph.D. in literature or moved to New York and been an editor for a big publishing house. I regret that I didn’t, but at the time I could have done these things, I didn’t want more debt from graduate school (sounds like you) and I do not enjoy the filth and noise that is New York.

      I have learned that staying busy and being useful at a job is helpful. My current job is relatively unchallenging but at least I’m busier than I was at the time that I wrote that post. Therapy has been pretty unhelpful so far. How about you? Are you getting anywhere? I’m sending good thoughts to you.

      My therapist (kindly) thinks it is amusing that I am worried that it’s too late for me (I’m 40) to find happiness in the workplace. I’m encouraged by that.

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