Across the internet you can find a multitude of posts about living your life to the fullest and giving the finger to the humdrum of the 9-to-5 lifestyle. Barely a day goes by when I don’t see a Facebook update or a blog post about how to escape the office and start a life of fun, excitement and adventure. And I wonder: when did 9-to-5 office jobs become the poster child for a wasted life?
Of course there are less-than-fulfilling office jobs out there that involve a lot of filing, coffee-making and mail-merging. But there are also incredibly rewarding office jobs, that make the people doing them quite happy. No, I’m not teaching students to surf on a beach in Spain and I’m not serving canapes on a yacht in the South Pacific. In fact I’m usually sitting in my home office in London and the highlight of my day is often my trip out for my afternoon coffee. And yet I wouldn’t swap it for any of the “exciting” jobs these blog posts and Facebook updates dangle in front of me.
Why not, you may ask? The truth is that I enjoy a job that would make others want to tear their hair out. I get to spend 8 hours a day with the love of my life – technology – and I get to do some of the things I love most: rip apart processes, analyse systems for issues & solve real life problems (yes, activity satisfaction is intricately linked to my OCD tendencies). I switch off my computer most evenings with a sense of satisfaction.
Part of my job involves showing people how to use software. Often I encounter technophobes or older people who are clearly nervous and take great pains to point out their IT weaknesses before we begin. The joy I feel in explaining a concept to them and seeing things finally click into place is immense. Not only have I achieved my business objective for the day but I have made a small but positive change to that person’s life. I have challenged their notion of themselves as a “non-techie” person and who knows, maybe now they’ll give that smartphone they got for Christmas another go when they get home.
Just because I get up and sit at a desk every day doesn’t make my life any less interesting than those who spend their days on a beach, in a classroom or on a boat: it just makes it different. And for many us sitting there, just as exciting.