You Don’t Have to Live Outside the Box to be Happy

Why I love my office job

I have noticed – on social media and in conversation with people – a considerable pressure to live the most exciting and unconventional life you can. For a little while now, chasing experiences and being able to recount stories of everything out-of-the-box you have ever done seem to be the ultimate goal. And there is nothing wrong with this – it’s exciting. However, I would like to take this moment to validate anyone who is in the box.  

There are a lot of videos online of people going travelling, being self-employed and, overall, having a lot of control over how they spend their lives. This is show-cased as being “the dream” and I have started to feel that not desiring this makes me lesser than. Sure, it’s aesthetic and will be appealing to some, but some people want to settle down – have a place they can call home, a line manager to take some of the strain of their job and loved ones nearby. 


I saw a video recently of someone saying that they actually loved their nine-to-five. I was taken aback by how much I had needed someone to say that being an employee with a boss and a schedule was actually what they thrived on. I couldn’t agree more: I love my job. I love that some of my tasks are given to me by others, my week has certain regular meetings and I finish at a certain time. Office jobs have become associated with boredom and limitation but my growth and development is not stagnant. On the contrary, even working remotely, I have met new people, adopted various roles and widened my skillset. My life doesn’t have to look crazy and exciting from the outside for those things to happen. There’s actually a surprising amount one can accomplish with only a laptop and a desk. 

I do of course also recognise my privilege in my working environment. The Wellbeing Collective is a values-based company and my team is hugely supportive of me on both a personal and professional level. I am given the space and time to learn, train and potentially make mistakes. I am very grateful for this, and it is probably especially in comparison to this that the idea of working alone, travelling the world and never settling down seems so alien to me. Ultimately, I could never say goodbye to the consistent structure of a day job. 

I would describe an out-of-the-box lifestyle as independence in its greatest form (or at least appearing this way from a bystander’s point of view). Unfortunately, we then view being in the box as having no independence whatsoever and living according to anyone but yourself, which is untrue. We can make our boxes our own by reshaping them or building a bigger one, but we don’t have to constantly be kicking the walls down. There’s really no need to always be breaking out of it. 

I want to make it clear that this is not the battle of The Self-employed vs The Employees. Having a personal preference for one does not mean we are trying to overthrow the other. If you do want to run your own business, be self-employed or only have yourself to answer to, then great! If you like having a manager and working a stricter 9-5, then great! If you like doing shift-work or having a more irregular schedule then, guess what, that too is great! Whatever works for you and your lifestyle is the right thing to do. Being a stay-at-home parent, working part-time or full-time, it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy doing whatever you do. 

Culturally in the western world, we are brought up to live our lives for us. We adopt an independent mindset and put great emphasis on personal development and self-improvement. In eastern cultures, there is more emphasis on collectivism and community. Being your own boss gives you that feeling of being in charge and having full responsibility of decision-making – you answer to yourself. Working in a company, with a team and a manager, feels like you’re one of a number of cogs which, in combination, produce a product or deliver a service. I can see the benefits of both of these positions and how they appeal to different people. 

As someone who has grown up in an individualist culture, I am my no. 1 cheerleader and spend a good portion of my time working on me. However, I don’t feel good putting myself first in all aspects of my life. When it comes to my career and profession, I want to serve others. I am an employee and I work a 9-5 because I really want to, not because I’m not ambitious enough to move halfway around the world and live every second as spontaneously as the last.  

Arguably, office jobs do not meet the artsy, extravagant, visually exciting criteria that social media generally requires. The result of this is, unfortunately, that we then start to associate these sorts of things with being boring and undesirable. So, this is me raising a glass to office jobs: they may not be visually enticing, but they sure are what make me tick. #YouDoYou #PartTime #FullTime #ShiftWork #career #profession #mindset #GrowthMindset #FixedMindset



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