What If You Hate The Office Life?

…and still need to get some work done

hipster office

I’ve tried it all, open offices filled with fancy snacks and hipster drinks, co-working spaces with a spirit of elitist world-changing mission, big companies filled with white symmetric desks and black computers. I cannot stand working in offices, it makes me miserable and it makes the quality of my work questionable as well.

The longest I have ever survived in an office were 6 months. The moment I usually find myself desperately grasping for water but finding only air in the office routine is after approximately three months. 90 days is all it takes for me to start researching alternatives and planning my brilliant emergency exit. (I am really good at emergency exits, I tell you.)

The negative perspective on this topic is that I am only 26 years old and I will probably need to work something around 50 years more. I like to work. I just hate to work in an office environemnt. To be or not to be?

I hate Monday morning stand-ups, motivational posters hanging on the walls, meetings of more than two people, fighting with the printer, eating from a Tupperware while having a smalltalk, and I really really hate team parties and team-pictures (like [this one][awkward-team-picture "Awkward team picture"].

motivational posters inspirational quotes wall team acronym

Dude, this is deep. Profound even. Which one is your favourite?

Fortunately there are some alternatives. You can be a freelancer, you can work from home or you can be a digital nomad and work while you are travelling. Is it necessary better? Well, it all depends who you are and what do you want. For me, it works.

I work from home because I like my creative mornings. I like hanging around with my pijama and writing with my phone and email turned off. I like being flexible and going for a run at midday and also doing groceries anytime of the day that is not the afternoon/evening rush hour. (As an introvert I freak out in crowded supermarkets just as I freak out in crowded meetings.) I like people not watching me while I work.

Offices have some good things, which essentially can be summarised in one word: people. Assuming that you like the people, it might be cool to go to an office. But maybe I just don’t like people enough in general. I like forests and mountains much better. Just a personal preference, I guess.

If you have ever worked in Berlin you might tell me: you get all these fancy breakfast stuff with vegan, gluten-free cereals and oat milk and all the hipster drinks that are rich in caffein and low in calories. Do you really want to be paid less or give up your freedom in order to have some granola and a sparkling limonade on your desk? Is free coffee (and a professional milk foamer) worth it? Well, I don’t think so.

Before writing this article I did some research about pros and contras of having an office job. This article claims that the first pro is that you can decorate your desk. Well, if you think that decorating your desk is freaking amazing, definietely go for an office job.

I don’t say that working from home is for everybody and I believe there are three essential conditions in order to be able to stay happy & sane while avoiding offices:

  • Your motivation to work is intrinsic. (You don’t need other people running after you to get things done.)
  • You enjoy being by yourself. (It does get lonely sometimes.)
  • You have discipline. (Working from home is not about not-working.)

If you answer all of those with a positive head nod, you might give it a try. Otherwise, I hope that they’ll treat you well in the rooms filled with people and computers.