Things I learned from my desk job

So, after a year and some change, it’s officially time to move on from my desk job to hopefully get one step closer (to the edge, and I’m about to–) to my “dream achievements.” Mind you, I still intend to work this same job remotely, but there’s something about the office environment… It certainly brings a few changes to a person. So, after over 360-some days of going to the same desk, the same chair, surrounded by the same people, I’ve learned a few nuggets.

Data entry is the most potent form of brainrot.
I remember reading an article on Thought Catalog about how data entry is just, seriously, mind-numbing. In a bad way. In a comatose, never-going-to-recover way. In a my-eyes-are-bleeding-someone-please-help way. Honestly, I have to admit, sometimes I like doing data entry. Those are mostly days when I’m too hungover to muster the energy for real work, but they do exist. Naturally, I am healed within ten minutes of doing the task, which may actually mean that data entry has medicinal qualities. But don’t be fooled; data entry is like the Hair of the Dog in this situation. Not good. The thing is, most jobs have a large percentage devoted to the duty. You cannot escape it. We’re all slaves to the data. Does this mean I should drink more, or…?

Cubicles are very small.
Like, really small. Like, thank goodness I’m not claustrophobic small. I’m a pretty short person so I have no problem with small, enclosed spaces. What I do have a problem with is the compression and proximity with other cubicles because, in their miniature stature, cubicles are meant to be ordered in rows. This isn’t bad when you have enjoyable cubicle-mates. I’ve got one a cubicle over who is without fail one of the comic reliefs of every day. The one directly across from me is empty. The one diagonal and behind me used to house my Work Wife before she moved onto another job. Down the aisle is a nice lady who keeps chocolates on her desk (or maybe she’s an evil, mean lady for that reason. HOW DARE SHE?). But, not everyone can be so lucky. And I’m not saying all of my office mates are the best. Some of them have reprehensible cubicle habits and qualities, admittedly. There are yell-talkers. There are hoarders (words can’t describe). There are talk-to-selfers. All I can say is that it really helps to have noise-cancelling headphones (I can recommend you a great pair of $5 earbuds that block out all noises ever — including people standing directly next to you, screaming at you) and some Spotify playlists rolling.

Money is actually really awesome.
I’m not saying I’m a loser or anything, but when I moved back in with my dad to take this job, I moved away from 99% of my friends and acquaintances. While I hated this at first, watching my accounts payable shrivel while watching my accounts receivable bloat… it was a beautiful thing. How else do you think I’m able to afford to move to New York City? Making money is a great thing. I can see why so many people suffer full-time desk jobs when they’d rather be frolicking outside. I respect myself too much to stay in that sort of situation forever, though.

A job title is a loose guideline.
I would say about 20% of my job is doing what my job title signifies. I kind of like that, really, because it ensures that I’ll stay well-rounded and be able to learn other aspects of the business world. I’ve seen this with a lot of my friends. Web designers are also administrative assistants. Account managers are also HR managers. Shipping workers help with marketing assignments. So on and so forth. I guess it would simply be naive to assume that, when you’re applying for a job, you’ll be doing only that job. That’s an okay thing, truthfully, as long as you expect it.

I have an impeccable sense of hearing.
Barring the times that I have those extremely noise-canceling headphones in, my ears really impress me with their ability. This is related to the subject at hand, I promise, because I only realized this after I noticed: I can recognize anyone in the office by the sound of their walking, I hear every sigh, some people have really funny sneezes, I hear when people curse under their breaths and appreciate the comedic relief that provides. I know when my boss is leaving because I can hear him making certain shuffling noises in his office. My senses have actually sharpened since taking this desk job. Awesome.

Sometimes people get paid just to talk.
This can go two ways. Some people get paid simply to have meetings and talk about ideas, only to assign tasks to those working below them. I guess if you’re tenured, you’ve sort of earned that right, though. On the other hand, there are the people who must simply be bored with their jobs and thus spend their entire days going from person to person just to chit-chat. And they get paid for that.

Bathroom breaks are short-term therapy.
Honestly, restrooms are like the little guaranteed temporary safe haven. If I get overwhelmingly stressed about something, I can simply walk into the restroom, sit in one of the stalls for five minutes just to collect myself, get some quiet and alone time and instantly feel much better afterward. It only takes a couple of seconds of separation to clear your mind, and the bathroom — in it’s air-conditioned and fruit-sprayed glory — is the perfect place to do that. Assuming no one else is in there actually using it for its purpose.

Fluorescent lights are silent killers.
I may have spoken too soon when I touted that my senses had sharpened. It might have just been a reaction to my eyes getting worse, because fluorescent lights are absolutely the worst. Not only is my cubicle in the dead center of the building, with no access to any windows or natural light of any kind, but there is also a woman who comes in around 11am everyday to start, and turns on all of the lights, when only half were on before. That’s just cruel. These lights are very unforgiving and bring ache and strain all evening long. If you have a window in your workplace, don’t take it for granted.

Mind you, I certainly learned more than this. I learned how to operate a working CMS. I learned some cool new PhotoShop tricks. I gained a new hatred for double-spaces between sentences. I learned about marketing automation. I learned tons! But these points, I feel, are broad enough to be related to any desk job you (or I) might encounter.

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