Finish school, go to university and get a stable income earning job. We’ve all either heard it from our parents or better yet lived through it. There are both pros and cons to working the traditional office job, and determining what works best for you can make all the difference. Working 9-5, 5 days a week for 50 weeks a year means we’re spending over a fifth of our time sitting behind a computer, at a company we may not necessarily like, doing a job we may not necessarily love. That’s a lot of hours!
An office job can deliver a stable income, allowing you to budget for your week much easier and answer tricky questions like – whether you can afford to buy the French toast over the eggs on sourdough at Saturday brunch this week.
9-5 jobs offer security through leave entitlements and superannuation contributions. This can translate to better benefits depending on your living circumstances and your perceived utility from receiving more income now versus saving for retirement.
The structure of the 9-5 model is actually quite outdated – there, we said it, with most people finding they aren’t as productive in the afternoon. We’ve all been a victim of the 3 o’clock slump where only a double shot espresso and half a packet of Tim Tam's can help us get through. Imagine how much more productive firms would be if they allowed their workers to take the afternoon off, if it worked with their deadlines, to take a much-needed break and resume work later that night.
Working a traditional office job can also lead to losing the stimulation your brain receives from being creative. Being told what to do and repeating mundane tasks can often dampen the creative side of your brain without you even noticing.
What are the alternatives to working a traditional office job?
It depends on what your life looks like now and where you see yourself in the future. Here are some alternative options to consider:
· It may seem like an obvious alternative but consider working part-time. If having extra time and freedom are more important to you than earning a higher wage, consider working less than the standard 40-hour week.
· Working part-time until you find something you’re passionate about. Use your free time to start converting your ideas in to a business and brand. Before you know it, your side hustle could be turning in to a full-time gig you’re genuinely passionate about.
· Be your own boss - working for yourself has its rewards and challenges. Not being told what to do and when to do it is quite refreshing and can actually mean you’re more productive with your time, plus your productivity is actually rewarded. If you have certain number of tasks to get done by the end of the week and you power through most of it early on in the week, you have the freedom to relax towards the latter end.
Something to note about being a business owner is that you have to be willing to be knocked down a few times, but ready to pick yourself back up and keep trying. We’re not going to lie, it’s hard work, but once you start finding your groove running your own business is both exciting and liberating.
Can’t decide on what to do for work because you haven’t found your passion?
Start by finding a job that works well with your schedule. Whether you’re an early bird who prefers smashing out work in the morning or a night owl who is more productive later on in the day, finding a job that caters to your lifestyle means you can make the most out of your day. This gives you time to figure out what your strengths are and in the long-term where you see yourself.
In saying all of this, if you’re someone who thrives on routine, structure and knowing what your week is going to look like then a 9-5 job may be for you. If you’re not, start thinking of ways to move in to what you’re passionate about. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get to where you want to be, but start by setting goals and writing out tangible steps you can take to get there. At the end of the day, try doing things that make you happy (as cliché as that sounds) instead of conforming to what society sees as the norm. If working the traditional job isn’t for you, know that there are other options out there!