On the deadliness of routine

The problem with being inherently lazy and having a boredom threshold roughly on a level with that of the cats (‘Oh, that’s interes… never mind, I’m doing something else now’) is that in order to do pretty much anything in a day, I need some structure.

The problem with the 9-5.30, 5 days a week in the office structure, is that it makes my soul itch and breeds foul rebellion in my dark heart. I dislike even the necessity of setting an alarm clock to make sure that my regimented day gets off to its timely start. It’s that measuring out one’s life in coffee spoons feeling that I kick against, like a surly teen at a bus shelter. Give me back my time, you bastards, I can manage it far more efficiently and pleasantly.

I’ve been working consistently for too, too many years already and I get my  job done. Ultimately, no matter how boring, however much I really don’t want to edit that manuscript, write that email or decipher that fucking Excel spreadsheet, the work happens near enough on time. The few interesting things happen sooner, of course, but I’ve got some annoying completeness gene that won’t allow me to let stuff slide too much.

This is in no way related to any silly goals that have been set, or alleged SMART objectives, or bonus schemes, because all of that HR crap is just so much pointless form-filling. Three points here: (1) I’ll do what needs to be done, regardless of what your funny bits of paper say; (2) bonuses are bullshit, hire competent staff and then pay them well to start with:  if you need to incentivise with more money then let me refer you back to the beginning of point (2);  (3) Netflix? If that ‘Freedom & Responsibility Culture’ stuff is true, call me, ‘kay?

Getting stuff done is also not related to whether I’m in the office, at home, out for lunch or wandering round the shops. I can think anywhere, I can handle email from most places and I can write at 8 in the morning or 10 at night. Generally I think more clearly and work better between about 6am and 9am. Which is why, of course, it makes sense that I spend that time getting up, showered, dressed, eating breakfast and sitting in traffic, so I can arrive at an arbitrarily designated building just in time to start winding down for a bit.

Sing ho! for the industrial day in the post-industrial age.

Author: musingsfromthesofa

I've run out of books. Again.

7 thoughts on “On the deadliness of routine”

  1. I think we were meant to be friends. You have absolutely stated everything I hate about corporate America and what I dislike most about my current job. Inanity rules, it seems. I would love to rebel but need that damn paycheck. There really has to be a better way though, and I wish more companies would be willing to find or encourage that better way.

  2. Great post, share your views completely, though my best working time is (rather luckily) 10pm–1am… :o)
    I’m not sure I could ever return to working in an office as an employed person now. To be sure freelance work is hard, and I don’t earn enough to buy as many clothes as I’d like, but it does allow me to do the important stuff for me, which currently seems to consist of dropping off and collecting children, then feeding them and going to the park, but hey it’s a phase :o) x

  3. Dom – I do love that you think that.

    Michelle – Thanks for reading, and commenting. My US jobs were pretty flexible, as is the nature of the publishing beast. I think the first step is for companies to realise that mostly, meetings are a waste of time. Knock those out of the calendar, and suddenly everyone’s day ought to look a lot more open. Know exactly what you mean about needing the damn paycheck…

    Ruth – Ultimately, I need to get me a combination freelance/in house position, so that there’s a basic salary to pay the rent and bills. Just not sure how to go about it. Keep your freedom, honey!

  4. Ahem…could you please come to Dallas, Texas, and explain your so excellent concept to my boss? Although she is pretty much convinced that she is the only one in the company who is able to function with a flexible schedule, you could probably talk some sense into her, I bet…I’m pretty sure of that.

  5. Pat – I’ll get some cheap business cards printed and pretend I’m a consultant by charging a ridiculously high fee for pointing out the bloody obvious; your boss can fly me out to Texas, and then you and I can go out for the cocktail you apparently so richly deserve for putting up with a dumb-ass boss. Sound like a plan ;-)?

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