How to Survive the 9 to 5
It’s said that the world is your oyster and you can be what you want to be… well that’s what we are taught at school. Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen accounts as a career but we all know that the bills need to be paid, & we can’t be children forever. Looking through my old schoolbooks, it was quite obvious that I wanted to be the pink power ranger.
So anyway, here I am… working in the accounts department of a financial print company. I have worked here for 4 years, spending two milestone birthdays in the office (18 and 21st) – being the youngest, it’s almost expected that I will be the entertainment on a Monday morning, divulging my ‘crazy’ weekend antics to my elder colleagues. Ok so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as although I hate to admit it…. I am definitely old before my time. I’m not a lover of clubbing, nor am I a lover of girly holidays (usually end in tears)… I’m more than happy to catch up on Come Dine with me with a big glass of wine after a long week. However, this is by choice, not because I have to. The same cant be said for working in an office. The only reason we all roll in at 9am is to pay our rent or fund the children’s activities. I often think how I can make working in an office more bearable… I’ve tried decorating the desks, bringing in tins of choccies, sending round group emails (yes the annoying ones - ‘it's national friend day.. pass this on’)
All ideas failed miserably and not only have I been banned from sending ‘non work related’ emails, most of the women in the office blame me for their obesity. (Excuse me but those Quality Streets weren’t jumping down your neck?!)
So yes, I’ve put together another little list for you on how you can effectively survive the 9 to 5…
1. Keep up appearances – It’s well known that the better you feel about yourself, the more proactive you are at work. You also stand out more as the well-presented employee. (always good when eyeing up that promotion) I don’t know about you, but whenever I see someone scruffy in the office, it puts a downer on my day.
2. Maintain a smile all day – It does take a bit of practice, I can’t help but frown when I see the water bottle needs changing AGAIN just as I fancy a cup. Or when my boss comes in wearing the same top as me. Why?!
But if you do manage to hold a smile all day; Not only do you feel happier, it’s contagious so it’s likely you’ve cheered a colleague up too!
3. Lend a hand – It’ lovely when someone notices you’re bogged under and offers to take some of your work load. Although it’s rare, and you’re likely to go back and re-do it… it’s the thought that counts so if you get a spare half hour, lend someone a hand. (And if you are asked for help – remember not to shout ‘that is not in my job description!!!’)
4. Play dumb - Only at the right times and I’m pretty sure this only works for younger employees. Whether you are well educated or not, when faced with something you are unsure of, instead of googling it (which would be far quicker and probably more accurate) – Ask Your Boss. Apparently it shows eagerness… I like to think of it as Ego-Food.
5. Be the ear – Not the Mouth. We all come across the gossip queen of the office, male or female… they know what and who is going down. Don’t get me wrong, I love to know the latest news and it’s wonderful when you have a verbal weapon loaded, ready to knock a colleague down a peg or two, but the boss won’t appreciate your knowledge so remember to keep rumours to yourself!
6. Do your time. I’m all for chipping in with extra work… but if you’re only paid from 9 till 5… only work 9 till 5. Your boss might see you as the hard grafting employee who stays late everyday, but he/she is just glad they aren’t paying you for it! If you do insist on doing the extra, make sure you ask for some kind of reward!
7. Share. A basic life skill really but very effective in the work place. Especially if you want to keep people on your side. Whether it’s a pot of tea or a packet of digestives… make the effort to ask others. Who doesn’t love a freebie? (you’d be surprised the reaction I get when offering out a packet of Haribo sweets, it's as though they want to see who can grab the most gummies in one handful) As for Big Jenny… I often ‘forget’ to send her the ‘Help yourselves to sweets on my desk’ email.
8. Finally… Don’t take work too seriously.
You got stuck in traffic, you’ve fallen out with a colleague, you missed a deadline or you couldn’t make it to that important lunch meeting….
Just remember, there is life outside of the office and most of the best things are free!