How To Survive the 9-5, As a Young Creative
So, it’s been a year or two since you’ve graduated University and you’re working in the real world. One day it hits you: office life is your new normal, from now until you retire at 65. For some of us, that’s 40+ years in a business setting, trading in valuable hours of our lives for something entirely removed from our creative selves. If that idea makes you recoil from your screen, we’re together on this. Being a young woman entering the workforce can feel daunting, almost like the end of an era of your life. There’s light at the end of the 9-5 tunnel!
Although jobs have adapted to the speed of modern day life, the core elements of working in a business setting remain the same. Enter an office at 9AM (however aesthetically decorated it may be) and complete tasks until 5PM, or later, depending on how much you’ve procrastinated throughout the day. This Monday to Friday routine can be draining and can take time away from development in other areas of your life.
For those with creative inclinations, work-life balance can feel like a constant struggle. Recently, I was asked: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” A simple question that made me re-evaluate how I determine success and how much I actually value my happiness.
Realistically, I may have to work for the next five, twenty, or forty years — but there’s way more to it. I’ve always envisioned future (and current!) Taja being happy. That’s what success really means to me.
The key to success (which to me is the elusive happiness) is looking at your job as a tool to accomplish what you truly want to do with your life. There is no such thing as a “dream job”. No job is flawless, there will always be elements to improve or change. Even if you decide to work for yourself, frustration and failures will occur naturally. Understand that the structure of all office jobs are very similar. The ultimate dream job is never having to work again. However, I can choose to be (and am! extremely!) grateful.
Try this: Set aside time on a consistent basis (weekly, monthly or quarterly) and make of list of your goals for the year. How can your 9-5 job help you achieve that? What are you grateful for that your job directly provides?
Start a Gratitude List
Learning opportunities – Giving access to continued learning and hard skills I can use to update my resume
Travel opportunities – I’ve always wanted to explore more of the world. My job provides access to airplane tickets, international accommodation, travel insurance and spending money.
Work / Life Balance – Most days, I can leave work at work and focus my energy on other pursuits after 5PM and on weekends. Vacation and Work From Home days are invaluable to keeping this balance
Work environment – Is your office space positive and forward-thinking? Do you work well with your coworkers? That is invaluable!
Necessities: shelter, food and access to transportation that my income provides bi-weekly
You’ll be able to see what success means to you based on what you include in your list. As the list grows, or shrinks, you can determine if your place of employment is right for you at this time in your life.
If you find that your job isn’t meeting your needs for personal development or moving you towards your definition of success, pause. You may simply need to reconnect with yourself by getting inspired again. If it’s deeper than that, consider going back On The Prowl.
Consider this perspective: your 9-5 is just a tool to reach your version of success; it is not the final destination. Use your time at work wisely and to your benefit. Work in a way that ultimately works for you.