Working In An Office Is Destroying My Soul

Tom Stevenson
Sep 17, 2018 · 5 min read

It has been nearly 10 months since I stepped into an office environment for the first time in my life.

I had consciously avoided working in offices for the first 27 years of my life for one particular reason.

I am not compatible with an office job.

My working life has revolved around jobs that require movement. I thrive on physical jobs, where I can problem solve and think on my feet. There is something about movement which induces creativity and happiness inside of me.

My previous jobs while living in different countries involved landscape gardening, pipe-laying and teaching English as a foreign language.

All of these jobs required movement and physical activity. If you’ve taught kids before, you’ll know what I mean. They are a handful!

Working in an office seemed akin to prison for me. Sat in a chair for 8 hours a day staring at a screen, doing work that is neither stimulating nor truly important.

It was my idea of hell. Yet, I still took the job, and ten months later I am nearing the end of my time.

Normally, expectations do not correspond with reality. I was half-expecting the same with working in an office. On the contrary, I have found the inverse to be true.

My expectations were met and then some!

Office Job

In 100 years we have gone from a minimal number of office jobs, to a large portion of the workforce working in offices.

This is a phenomenal shift in a short space of time. 100 years may seem like a long time, but when you consider the previous 1000 years saw little change in the working conditions of people, you realise how big a change this is.

Working in an office has become the norm. In fact, it is what some of us aspire to do.

They are seen as safe, secure jobs. If you keep your head down and work hard, you can rise the greasy pole to the top.

Yet, how many of us truly enjoy going into an office on a Monday morning?

I struggle to believe more than 5% of the office working population, truly, thoroughly, and unequivocally enjoy going into an office 5 days a week.

For me, working in an office is a mundane experience.

You go through the same routines day after day. There is very little change to that routine.

It’s easy to go into auto-pilot mode and switch off, while you’re doing your work. I have very little need to engage my brain and think through issues while I am there.

For jobs that have been held up as ones we should aspire to, they are remarkably boring and insignificant.

The monotonous nature of the job is soul-destroying. There is a simple reason for this.

The human body was not designed to sit in an office for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week!

Whenever I look around, I see people that are out of shape, overweight. They look tired.

Why do we keep putting ourselves through this day after day, if it is making us feel this way?

There are people that have worked at my office for over 20 years, I have only been on this Earth for 28 years. The thought of working in an office for that long makes me feel ill.

I don’t know how they do it.

Escape Plan

I think the main reason people find themselves stuck in offices when they don’t want to be, is a lack of an exit strategy.

If you don’t have one, it’s too much of a risk to cut loose and try to find another job.

You need to have your strategy fully formed while you’re working there, before you can leave.

While a job is never secure, having a job is better than not having one. You have to pay bills, and working in an office facilitates that. Why else would anyone choose to go to one?

Luckily, I have my exit strategy in place. I am going self-employed with my blog in the next few months.

The experience of working in an office has taught me many things. One is that you have to have an idea of where you want to head, otherwise you will find yourself going somewhere you never intended.

It’s easy to let life take the reins, but you have to take control of your own life. If you don’t like working in an office, do something about it!

Sitting there complaining and wishing for something different, isn’t going to change anything.

The only thing that will is taking action!

In some ways, I only have myself to blame. I got myself into this mess. If I had been more careful with finances, and had a better plan earlier on, I would not have needed to work in an office.

I knew going into this experience, and I was right. Perhaps, it was a good thing.

While the experience may have been brief and unfulfilling, at least I know it’s something I never want to do again.

That is motivation enough to ensure that I give my own business 100% of my attention and 100% effort.

Working in an office may be destroying my soul, but it is also fuelling my desire to make my business a success.

There is no better motivator than never stepping foot inside one again!

I’ll keep that in mind tomorrow, when I'm at my desk!

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Tom Stevenson

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The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +730K people. Follow to join our community.

Tom Stevenson

Written by

I like to write. I like to travel. Join my email list ->

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +730K people. Follow to join our community.

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