5 Things You Never Knew You’d Miss About Your 9-5
When I worked in an office I always daydreamed of working for myself, and being able to work at home every day. No expensive commute, no clock-watching, no more office politics. There was no way on earth I would miss anything about office life.
It’d be AMAZING working from home, I was sure of it. Right?
However I know for me, and for a lot of self-employed women like me, sometimes that idealistic daydream doesn’t quite pan out like you’d hoped.
The reason is because actually, you’d overlooked some pretty good stuff that comes with just being around other people (even if you’re an introvert who loves peace and quiet, like me).
Here’s my top 5 disliked features of office work that actually, you might find you miss when you start working for yourself…
1. Making *all* the brews
Its almost par for the course that your first job involves making brews for EVERYONE. Like a really rubbish, Tetley-infused rite of passage into the proper grown-up job world.
However as your career progresses, likelihood is you’ll still be making brews, as office etiquette often dictates that you cannot be that selfish idiot who just makes their own. Instead you have to offer everyone at your desk/in your office/in earshot a brew too. So that leads to heading to the tea room, multiple mugs in hand, ready to brew up.
The bonus of this task however, is the impromptu chats that then unfold in the break room while the kettle is on, with whoever happens to be in there – Sasha from accounts, Jake from legal, Efe from production….and together you chat. About simple stuff. What you’re up to at the moment, what you’re working on, what you’re struggling with.
It’s not planned, it’s not a meeting, there’s no agenda or outcome. But it’s a little bit of fun, impromptu contact that when you don’t get – you actually miss – when you’re home alone.
Chatting to the family cat on your own in the kitchen, just somehow isn’t the same…
2. Open Plan Offices
Open plan offices are a double edged sword. No privacy, and definitely no social surfing on work time when you’re bored, as everyone can see your screen. Everyone watches your comings and goings, and there’s a tension that mounts when 5pm strikes to see who is the first to leave, no-one wanting to be the shirker who leaves their desk at dead on 5, cos god forbid you have a LIFE or other priorities outside work. Staying late and being seen to do so becomes a badge of honour, and its even easier to spot in the open plan office where your timekeeping is on show for all to see.
So when you work for yourself and that kitchen table doesn’t clock you in or out, it may feel like heaven for a while. That is, until it comes to making decisions, sharing big plans or getting support for new projects…
Those trusted coworkers who were cursed for watching your every move were also on hand for that feel-good boost too, to say that new idea is fab, and to motivate you to get started. They were able to hook you up with so-and-so from marketing who can give the help that’s needed. They would gently lift you up, when you’re basically having a down day.
So dammit – you do miss them sometimes!
The dreaded Team Meeting. The weekly hour of your life that you never get back. Wondering agendas, waffling chairs, bad coffee. I never had much love for meetings.
What I do notice is missing from self-employed life, is HR-style feel-good annual reviews. Those meetings with your boss where they give you that pat on the back and recognition you deserved. Even when few and far between, they happened none-the less. They’re needed, and they were there for a reason – because we can’t change what we don’t measure, and because like it or not, everyone wants to be told they’re good at their job.
Celebrating and recognising wins is majorly important, and without that person who cares as much as you do, thats an awful lot of solo happy-dances round the kitchen to be doing whenever something goes right.
Deadlines are typically seen as a source of stress. Often unrealistic, sprung upon you and annoyingly non-negotiable. You had to meet them, so that meant you just cracked on with that task at hand, regardless of how tired or quite frankly can’t-be-arsed you were feeling that day.
Now? You set your own deadlines, or don’t have any. Which means that timelines you had envisaged slip away, there’s always something shiner or more fun to take your focus, and you get to the end of the day with that big project STILL not chipped away at any further.
How did that happen, again?!
The pressure to step up and deliver out of your comfort zone, that slowly pushed you to grow – it felt uhhhhh horrible at the time, but looking back you’re glad it happened – as you actually kinda love delivering presentations/running workshops/meeting clients now, don’t you?
When you’re self-employed you are in charge of all that. And that’s HARD!
- You have to motivate yourself
- Set targets.
- Congratulate yourself.
- Get a cheerleading support network.
- Find your own leverage.
And its when you’re missing even some of this stuff, that the 9-5 suddenly starts to seem appealing. You crave simplicity, routine and boundaries. You even miss the often unreasonable expectations and crazy pressure to deliver…
But before you dust off your LinkedIn bio for the first time since leaving corporate…
You KNOW that you’d hate it, and you also know you left and started to work for yourself for a reason, and a bloomin good one at that.
There are ways to access ALL that support, even when you work for yourself.
You can piece it together, bit by bit, and that just means spending time, energy and effort doing so. Joining networking groups, finding business besties to Skype with over a virtual brew, and spending ‘CEO-days’ setting your own goals, rewards and incentives.
Or you can come and talk to me about the coaching support I offer through 1:1 and Group programmes, and get all that good stuff, put together for you in an environment designed to support your success. Book in a call to talk about the options here.
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I’m Lucy, a Business Coach, and I help women who work for themselves to create beautiful businesses that make a positive impact on the world – sharing their skills, talents and creativity in a way that feels good AND makes great money, too.
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