The Transition to a Desk Job

Throughout life people will change jobs many times, some will do it more than they can count. I have had many jobs, not because I am not good at them but because I can’t work for others. Working for others irks me to my core, but I explained that in detail in another article. During my constant change of jobs, I have tended to work at places where I was on my feet. I have worked anywhere from restaurants to retail stores and a lot of odd jobs in between. But up until a year and a half ago I have never had a desk job. The idea was so appealing but damn was it hard to get used to.

Most would think that transitioning to a desk job would be great; said every person that had a desk job already. There are a couple of ways to think about this transition, but it is mainly physical and mental.

Physically, the hard part of a desk job was sitting. My back would cramp, throb, and send stabbing pains up my spine. I came from standing on marble floors for 8–9 hours a day, so I was accustomed to physical pain from work but this was different. I think it was pain from not actually exerting any physical energy. I would set up my stuff in the morning and then just sit. Type, sit, walk to the bathroom or to get some coffee, then sit. The feeling of this pain while not moving for hours was distracting, so much so that it was hard to get work done. At least when working retail you were moving so often that you didn’t think about the pain. But at a desk job that was all I noticed.

One would think the lack of loud noise and people demanding your attention every few minutes would be good for keeping focused, but this was not the case at first. This was the hardest part for me, getting over this transient period mentally. The slow, monotonous pace, was…well, maddening. I would get so much work done in such a short amount of time and then stare at my blue padded cube. I was used to the hustle; jump in and help the next customer followed by the nex, and every consecutive one thereafter. I quickly realized that I needed to stretch my work out over the day so it would be less mentally taxing. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but I was literally trying to scrounge up work for basically no reason. I then realized that this was kind of a blessing in disguise. I say this because I found my cadence. I worked hard, well hard enough to get my work done in sprints instead of a marathon, and with the spare time I worked on what was more important to me.

In my spare moments to hours, depending on the workload of that day, I would write an article or edit a video. I would sometimes squeeze in a deep social dive to find my next inspiration or reverse engineer a person’s page to find what they really cared about. This could take some time and I found that these moments were appropriate for that.

See, the transition to a desk job was hard and I still struggle with it years later. I still struggle with the back pain and having to find things to do with my time. But on the other hand, this has given me time to work on what I really care about. So if you are transitioning or have done so already, you may be bored and/or in some pain and this is alright. All of this is part of the transition. Look at the positive side. If you have something that means more to you, like writing your next book, planning that trip, updating your blog, or just beating that level in your favorite game on your phone; now you have time to accomplish that. Oh, and guess what, you’re getting paid for it. Just don’t tell your boss that I taught you this trick, it was the guy two cubes down.


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Originally published at mindhungry.com on April 19, 2016.

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