Feeling trapped by work

Feeling trapped by work


I'm a teacher and work hours are by contract. I used to spend extra time at work because I thought that was expected of me and now I don't do that anymore. I realized that my time to myself is valuable and no one cares how much extra time I spend doing things at work, in fact the more time I give the more would be expected of me. And as a teacher any extra work goes unpaid. I feel for you OP. I am a person that struggles with the hours I work and I absolutely do not work as many hours as most people. But the hours I do work are hard for me. My work is very demanding, from the moment my students enter I am "on" until they leave the classroom, I don't get down time during the day. So I'm pretty much wiped by the end of the day. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I saw all these people around me working longer hours, having kids, doing side gigs, or second jobs when I could barely handle one job and dishes and laundry. But I realized I can only be myself and I'm glad I realize that their way of living isn't something I can do. Others here have mentioned some great tips already but here are some things I do. \- Exercise before work. When I first started teaching I would exercise after work and quickly realized that I was so drained that I was fighting to get it done and not enjoying that time. I moved my exercise routine to before work. It makes me get up earlier and then I have a really nice ease into my day where I can do something for myself first thing and already feel really accomplished. Another benefit of this is being able to throw a load of laundry in before work, make a good breakfast or derp online for a bit. I also have my evening totally free for whatever I want. \- Always have something to look forward to. On the show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" episode with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she talks about, I think it was her mom, who told her always have something to look forward to. Whether it's going to see a show, taking a trip, going for a hike, meeting a friend, doing a paint by number, anything. I think we've all suffered this past year from not being able to look forward to anything, but it's the key to not feeling like life is just an endless cycle of the same thing. \- Try to find pleasure or stay present in any task that you do. In the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi", Jiro talks about making each task, each moment of his day something he is really focused on almost like a meditation, fully present. Being fully focused on a task and doing it with great care allows me to stay more present and find some pleasure in the most mundane things. I agree with people who've said that everyone has different levels of energy. I'm a really low-key person and I deal with anxiety and depression. My energy gets drained easily because I'm a really perceptive, introspective, and sensitive person. I feel a lot and that's draining. Be kind to yourself and tune into what makes you feel good. Good luck OP. Edit: Thank you all so much for the great conversation and kind words, as well as the awards! I feel loved :)


I am not OP, but I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I'm also a teacher and I feel like I could have written these exact words! I can totally relate to your experience!


This makes me feel good to know that other teachers feel the same! DM me if you ever want to connect and talk.


fellow teacher here. i’m amazed that you have the energy / willpower to put up with the kids’ energies despite being low-key. it’s vacation where i am and today i feel a strong aversion to work. really don’t want to have to do anything with the children soon


I hear ya. My evaluations always mention how calm and peaceful my classroom is. Because I am so prone to being anxious, I am really slow and calm with students. I wait for them to get quiet by just sitting there and telling them "I'll wait". This year has been totally different and I am really worried about next year. But trying to stay present at the moment and not think about that.


I second that, teacher here also!


Not a teacher, but dealing with the same low energy, anxiety and depression and can totally relate with your experience. Thanks for sharing.


Hi, fellow teacher! I’m wondering if you have any tips for working closer to contract hours. What were some of the extraneous things you were able to whittle down? Any awesome systems you’ve put in place to be extra efficient?


Hey fellow teacher :) I am not the op, but I might be able to help. I teach high school. I automate the grading of lot of my assignments through Google Forms, which saves so much time. Additionally, I ask colleagues both in school and on online groups for resources to cut down my prep time. There is no shame in using TeachersPayTeachers, either, though some resources there will be better than others.


Thanks! I’ve been moving toward automating as much grading as possible too, but with second graders, it’s a bit of a mixed bag 🤪 I’ve had to shift grades and curriculum every single year I’ve been a teacher, but for year 8, I will finally be in a repeat grade with no new curriculum adoptions. So I’m really hoping that next year is my year!


Seven years of shifting curriculums?? That's crazy! Yes, I think this upcoming year will definitely feel less hectic for you. Being able to teach the curriculum a second time will reduce hours spent on prep. You already know what works and what doesn't, and you can hopefully spend more time fine-tuning what you already have for your current group of kids. Best of luck to you!


To be fair, it’s been a combo of shifting curriculum and shifting GLs. So like this year, there was no new adopted curriculum, but I moved from 5th to 2nd grade (oh, and full-year distance learning). So, I’m really hoping next year will be better, since I’ll be staying in the same grade.


I've been teaching for a number of years, so that helps because I pretty much have my lessons sorted out and don't need to do too much planning. I also teach pretty much the same curriculum each year. Basically, no matter what I'm doing at the time I'm supposed to leave, I stop and just leave. It doesn't matter if whatever I'm doing is done or not. I leave it and come back to it the next day. I've discovered with teaching that there is almost always work to be done and that you can't ever really get caught up. Some times of the year are busier than others. I don't take work home. That's my private time and I don't get paid for it and I'll never get that time back again, so I'm not using it to do work.


thank you for all the tips and for the affirmation just to spend more time on yourself


Thank you so much for posting this!!


I’m thinking of quitting my office job to become a teacher! Have you had any office jobs? I know office jobs are way less demanding obviously, but that also means they’re extremely boring for me. Do you like being a teacher? I’m high energy, type A, so I think I’ll enjoy it


I’m not OP, but I am a teacher. Teaching is never boring. It is exhausting, but definitely more engaging than the type of office gig you’re describing. If you don’t have a ton of experience working in schools, I would highly recommend volunteering or working as an aide or something similar before beginning a credential program.


I second this. Get some experience working with kids and see if you like it. Teaching is a marathon! It's never boring and the days fly by because they are full, every second there is something to do.


Thanks! I’ve been a camp counselor and a Girl Scout leader before and I really enjoyed that


i’m high energy and type A too. the intensity of the job drains me so much. it makes simple living hard for me tbh, i barely have time or energy to enjoy the way i want to enjoy once i’m off work. the work of a teacher also feels endless because there’s always something more or better you can do for the kids… so boundaries are really important. i’m looking to finish my contract and take a job that will allow me to have a better work life balance. boring is, well, boring, but maybe it’ll help me reclaim some of my strength and freedom


I'm an early years teacher, and I used to really struggle with this balance. I always felt like I wasn't doing enough, but recently I've been researching postmodern critiques of the education system - how we are in a supposed meritocracy, work hard and you'll achieve, and achievement is valued above all else. But that simply isn't true for most people! Just as I appreciate the kids I work with as imperfect individuals, I've started accepting myself as one. You can't 'win' something as complex as teaching, you just need to embrace the moment.


thank you for sharing bout the postmodern critiques. they will be things i hope to explore soon. once the teaching fatigue wears out… truth be told, i want nothing to do with education right now … 😩


I feel ya big time.


take care


This is so beautifully written. I love this!


>boundaries are really important. This is the key to so many things in life!


Teacher here! I think you'd do very well for the younger grades with your high energy. I will say depending on your co-workers, students, and admin, the job might be very stressful. Many teachers quit after 5 years. That's a statistic to think about. I used to work at a non-profit doing data analysis. It was boring, but I could see myself doing that if teaching burns me out.


I have worked in many different jobs. I worked in a law office after college, interned in film and tv production, did some retail work. I love the creativity that comes with teaching. But I don't love the pay. Teaching is one profession where people with advanced degrees; multiple masters, doctorates, extensive training are still not paid what others in the business world are making. Longevity is the only way to make good money, but the trade off is often great benefits and the promise of a pension. Being a type A personality, you might struggle with all the factors that you can't control and your work is never really done. Your type A organizational skills will come in handy! Patience is huge in teaching and I think to be a good teacher you have to recognize meeting varied needs of your students looks different for each one and this requires a great deal of patience. I also think that you'll love teaching if you love to learn.


This is very helpful, thank you!


I am curious why your school doesn't give you down time during the day? Do you not get a lunch? Most teaching jobs you should have prep times throughout the day without your students while they are at lunch/recess, Gym, Music, Art... Why don't they give you a break?


My schedule is very tight and I'm the "prep", I teach art. I'm in a really large district so it's lucky if I get any free period during the day. I teach seven classes a day in multiple schools through out the week, usually seeing over six-hundred students a week. I do get lunch, which is mostly me inhaling food while getting ready for afternoon classes or taking care of emails, lessons, or other things I didn't get to do before my first class of the day. I also get the joy of having lunch or recess duty. I know this is not the case in every school district, some teachers have it better than others. Edit: Sentence structure.


Honestly, ever since I had a depression a decade ago, even though I'm not depressed anymore, I struggle mentally to stay focused on work for 8 hours per day. It's so mentally exhausting that I end up getting burned out pretty quickly if I maintain that rhythm. What I have been doing the last couple of years is having a job for which I'm not getting very well paid, but at least I can do the tasks quickly and don't work the 40 hours (plus, don't have to be at the office when I'm not working). Unfortunately this is temporary. I realized that what drains me isn't the work itself but my relationship with it - the feeling of "this isn't what I wanted to be doing"... With that said, I don't have a better solution than telling you (and me): just try to work towards a work/job that's more suitable for you and your well-being. For me, that will be teaching and developing some programming projects of my own. For you, you tell me :) Good luck mate!


This is exactly what I’m struggling with too but couldn’t put into words. Thanks.


>what drains me isn't the work itself but my relationship with it - the feeling of "this isn't what I wanted to be doing FREAKING EXACTLY! T\_T


I feel like this put into words something I’ve not been able to. “This isn’t what I wanted to be doing” absolutely how I’ve felt and have been fighting and clawing towards what I actually want to be doing all this time. It’s so hard.


I feel the exact same way all the time! Here are a few things that make me feel a little better: * Waking up earlier- I thought I appreciated sleeping in. It turns out setting an alarm an hour earlier helps a lot. It makes the day feel longer since I'm awake during more daylight hours, so I feel like less of my day was spent working. Maybe switch your exercise time to the morning? * I have a dog, so I'm guaranteed to leave the house at least once a day to walk him. (It would be twice a day if I didn't have a partner who shares the responsibility.) If I didn't have him, there would be a lot of days I didn't leave the house for anything not work-related. * When people ask what I want for a gift (holidays/birthday) I try to pick things that are activities instead of objects. For example my partner got us tickets to the zoo for our anniversary. That way we have a built-in thing to do on the weekend, and I'm more excited for my day off instead of just planning to do chores around the house and nap.


Great tips, thanks


The psychology behind laboring our bodies and minds towards something that doesn't matter to us -- in other words, most people with jobs -- is stunning. The best advice I can give you is that you should try to stay positive about it because change is coming. I think in our lifetime we might eventually live in a world where 6-hour shifts 4 days a week are seen as the norm. Or at least, one day you might find a company that also thinks the same. The science behind it is actually more productive and cost-effective for the employer anyway


Not saying you’re wrong or anything but what makes you say that a change is coming? Genuinely curious because if a change really is coming it would be amazing :)


Thanks for saying that in a civilized way instead of like YOU'RE WRONG lol. I just find that most people on reddit don't have debate or social skills Anyway lol, this isn't based on anything, it's simply a feeling. I try to surround myself with similar people and find them wherever I can, and capitalism and its downfalls are more than obvious. I just feel that my generation and the generations after are more and more centered toward helping others, equality, and being safe while having fun. I am trying my hardest to change the wrongs in the world so just for starters, if you're around me, you'll feel the change in the air. Haha


Truly hope this is the case, in all honesty the main issue I see is that everyone could work less and get more if only we’d think broadly about te type of work being done and the way outputs are distributed. I would say 30-50% of all office work is just solving problems that the business creates for itself. It’s just tackling self-inflicted inefficiency rather than actual concrete problem-solving. And it’s difficult to prevent this from happening as the emphasis is mostly on increasing income at any cost, improving efficiency/processes sustainably is just one of the methods to achieve this but often not the main one.


THIS!!! I work in a hospital. 99 percent of my problems come from the administration / union. The other 1 percent is actually trying to figure out how to scrape dried tube feeding stuff off the walls. That stuff is like cement!


Haha big fan of the belief. Yea I feel like you’re right in that the current generation of young people are more compassionate and believe in equality. I hope your feelings become reality


I do think the pandemic really highlighted some of the insanity in modern society, especially around the constant work, hustle, and grind culture. However, until the rest of society starts to value things other than money and it's accumulation, this will still be a long way off


I wish that were true, but we’ve been saying that for 100 years and if anything it’s getting worse. We need a societal shift in attitude, or the technology won’t matter.


Other countries, notably in Europe, have already adapted the 6 hour work day, just for example. And I feel that my generation and generations to come are more chill and normalized around the idea of not working your body to the point that it breaks. So it's a matter of faith, but I'm trying as hard as I can to make the world better and I'd like to think there's tons of others doing the same


I have this schedule and I simply don’t make enough money. It’s considered part time work so no benefits either. There would have to be an entire overhaul of how we pay people and structure hours for businesses and that’s against the interest of the worlds’ capitalists, so it makes me feel less than optimistic :(


I read somewhere that some companies in the US If I remember correctly tried to implement a 4 day work week as an experiment.


I see my coworkers more than my loved ones. Some days I really wanna give up.


I can relate to this way more than I want to admit.


I just quit my 60 hr a week job. I can't do it anymore. I was tired everyday sleeping within 2hrs of getting home. No energy for anything and my 1 day off was chores to get ready for the next 60 hr work week. I can't believe I just quit, but I will find something that isn't so grueling. The funny part is I am totally ok with having less money and the relief that I feel now is overwhelming. It's only been 3 days so I'm learning to "adjust" my mindset but if you are truly miserable in your current job take the leap.


When i was doing my med internship i could work 100 hrs a week and still have energy to go out with my friends, now i work 42 hrs and feel like dying sometimes.


I work 40 hours a week also, and it's been better while working from home, but I have a few tips. If possible, do any home related items at work that you can. I do my household budget, research things like a new mosquito zapper, read a digital book on Gutenberg dot com, meal plan, order curbside groceries, and run errands on my lunch break. That way when I'm at home I have more free time, and less dumb to do crap. Try to make your commute fun, like with audio books or podcasts. Can you sneak in late or leave early without getting in trouble? Listen to music or podcasts while working so it's less boring.


I'm glad that my one saving grace is that I can listen to podcasts endlessly at my job. I'm a housekeeper in a hospital......and no one really bothers the janitor unless there is some blood to clean up.....so I can just stay in the shadows and listen to Joe Rogan talk about aliens and shrooms all day until I go home




They’re paying for your outputs, not your inputs. Now sure, if they realise you have more inputs to give in those 8 hours they’ll ask for more output, but it’s hardly immoral to give people exactly what they wanted and are paying for. I’m a business owner myself, and if my staff deliver what they say they will, I couldn’t give two hoots if they do a few household chores at work in their downtime.




After reading your comment I had to check if I'm in the subreddit I thought I was. (Yes). So a little Profit is more important to you than a happy and healthy workplace and low turnover? On a side note, I'd wager that employees are more profitable when happy than when you're annoying them every 2 seconds that they should go back to work. Also, most office people are only productive for 4 hours out of their 8 hours, there are several studies for this.




Your mindset is very outdated and toxic for the modern organization. Most businesses and business owners are realizing that their employees have lives and commitments outside of work, and a business should be first about providing value to others, not gaining profit. If you design a workplace culture where people enjoy coming into work, they will actually feel motivated to be more efficient. I can vouch for this - the worst bosses I ever had micromanaged me all day long. As soon as I found a way out, I left. The best boss? Literally doesn’t care what I do as long as the work gets done, and goes out of their way to make work as fun and enjoyable as possible, and encourages the growth and personal development of their employees. People are human beings, not a tool for you to “turn a profit”.


So what you're saying is, you treat your employees like automated tools that you fire the literal second they do something for themselves, despite practically living at your workplace, so that YOU can live more simply?


I feel like three ghosts; past, present, and future, are going to visit you one of these nights.




You sound miserable to work for.


OP said they did those things on their lunch break, so I don't see what the issue is. But also, if your employee takes 5 minutes of their shift to take care of a personal issue, but still get all their tasks done, what is the issue? What kind of business do you own? I used to work in retail and I had so much time where all my tasks were done but my boss was sitting right there so I had to walk around the shop pretending to dust until I had a customer come in lol. I wish I could have just sat down and relaxed a bit or something like that.


I spend a lot of time at my job on hold on the phone, in small 2-5 minute chunks. I can write a grocery list or read a paragraph of a book during that time when I can't do other work. But as long as I'm getting my tasks done, the amount of time is irrelevant.


Though I agree with you, we don't know this person's career. Some jobs have a lot of down time where you need to be physically present but don't need your mental attention.


Being present is key for me. Every single moment holds endless bliss. Moments spend working aren't any different. When I get out of my head and stop worrying about past/future I get to enjoy my time regardless of how it's spend. Having something "important" going on that's not work related is also important for me. I might not have much free time (42hr workweek alternating early and late shifts) but most weekends feel like a lifetime of adventure as I spend them running in the mountains. Obviously it's not easy to do the above. I got there through years of improving my habits/discipline which got me to meditating daily, getting my life more simple/organized, wasting less time on passive entertainment, etc. It took years of trying to improve that got me to a way of living that I enjoy.


I turn up do my job and clock off, going the extra mile with free over time and being more productive only benifits the company and you will then be expected to perform to this level every week with no personal reward for your efforts. The only reward you will get is a larger work load. Always put yourself first as if you died next week the company would have a job vacancy up the minute they found out about your death.


Do you take your work breaks as breaks? And do you take your pto for actual vacations? When i worked 8-5 i spent my lunches and coffee breaks doing family stuff (scheduling appointments, responding to family emails, buying mandatory gifts, making reservations...) But eventually i learned i felt better if i took at least the two fifteen minutes breaks as actual breaks to go outside in the sun for a minute. I voted to act like a smoker and treat breaks as non negotiable. It made a world of difference


I already commented here but I’m coming back just to say how identical I feel. Literally word for word. Idk what to do. I keep telling myself I need to figure something else out but idk what tf I wanna do. I’m so ready to get out of this and I just started. I’m a recent graduate. Corporate America is unhealthy physically and mentally.


I work 32 hours per week and am pursuing a degree that will allow me to work even less. It also helps that I live in a country that gives people 5 weeks annual leave - paid.


Which country is that? 😳




Which career are you trying to pursue?


Psychotherapist - Sunday appointments are very popular. My idea is to only work 3.5 days per week, but make Sunday a full day.


A weekend therapist! Great idea!!! Alot of people work too much during the week and can't afford to take more than their scheduled days off due to financial reasons. You would make a fortune in America. We're all fucking overworked and crazy.


It's less the money than the fact that I find it meaningful and will be able to take half the week off - every week.


Mental Heath days are important to take. Leave all thoughts of work behind. Don’t worry about what the day is focused on. No work, no chores, no errands. Many people find that one day like this every once in a while allows them to be more productive and happy at work.


Forcing yourself to do things you don’t enjoy is exhausting, of course you’re tired and burnt out. The people who work 50+ hrs and enjoy it “live to work” and derive their satisfaction from corporate snakes and ladders. The trick is to find something you don’t mind doing for 8 hours a day. Do your 8 and nothing more but getting some fulfilment from the job makes a world of difference.


How do you find something you don’t mind doing? Do you have any tips or tricks for finding something fulfilling?


I say it’s finding a good set of coworkers/manager is a big part of it more than the actual job. Helps ease the stress of having to work if you enjoy the people you’re working with.


Totally. I'm in my first job in my life where I have this and the work can get a little repetitive and boring, but it's much easier to deal with with a great team


I used to feel this way (and still sometimes do on a bad week!) , but then I realized I love childcare. I LOVE kids. My classroom is an extension of my home at this point. My coworkers can get on my nerves and so can my kids. But so can my fiancé at home! Lol. I don’t make much, but I make enough to get by comfortably and go on vacation at least twice a year (one big one, one small one). And I just... don’t mind going to work anymore. I found joy in the little things. Instead of trudging my ass to work, I think “I get to see my babies!” Or even “I get to catch up on the the gossip!”. I don’t really spread gossip but don’t mind hearing it lol. I think simple living really is just about finding happiness and contentment in what you already have. BUT, if that contentment just isn’t there in this job? LEAVE. I am labeled a “job-hopper” by my family because between ages 18-22 I had about 10 jobs before I found one I enjoyed. The world is your oyster my dude. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to be content. Thanks for coming to my TED talk lol


Love this


Thank you! I’ve considered making a post about my experiences with simple living but I’m shy lol. It has absolutely changed my way of thinking, helped (but did not cure) my depression, and has just made me a happier person over all. This sub is exactly the kind of thing I had been looking for for years. I don’t want some grand over dramatic life. Just a fun decent paying job , my sister, my fiancé , my Xbox , my sketchbook, and a drink in my hand and I’m good.


I have the same issue, I have never found a fulfilling job that I like - but there are aspects of my current job that I enjoy. like, nobody bothers me at work (i work independently and my manager mostly ignores me) and that makes a huge difference to me because i don’t have to be “on” for 8 hours a day. i can work at my own pace in privacy, even though i don’t actually like the work i’m doing. so i think, if your work environment is fitting for you, you don’t necessarily need to find the perfect job.


I read a book called Finding Your Element that helps you understand your natural abilities. Then describes how to explore careers that may benefit from those strengths. I found it super helpful.


[Designing Your Life](https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Your-Life-Well-Lived-Joyful/dp/1101875321) This book might really help you. It's great


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Is it possible to do training to do something else? Something that feels meaningful, even if it’s still draining, would leave you feeling fulfilled and tired, not just tired. I was a teacher before my son for example. It was exhausting but I felt like I was doing something worthy. I also worked in a retirement home through university and the same thing. It was tiring but felt important. So I didn’t mind the tired because I knew it was making other peoples lives better. My friend works for meals on wheels. Same thing. Tiring but she gets so much out of it.


Everyone has different energy levels, people can do 40 hours a week and be exhausted or others can do 60 hours a week and be fine. It depends on what you need. Ask too see if you can do 4 days, instead of 5 days. Worst thing they can do is day no. I hope sooner or later I can find a job that's let's me do a 4 day week.


I totally hear you. Been stuck in this loop for years. Since the start of covid though I have been working from home, and will be through the end of this year. I will say at least that has softened the blow a decent amount. I have much more freedom and flexibility. That being said, I still don't love the hours (930-630 M-F) and ultimately want to make a change. I've thought about changing careers and such, but am not 100% sure what else I'd do. I tend to think if I could even find a similar role but permanently remote and shorter work week (\~4 days) that I might be happy with that, but I don't know. It's a hard balance to strike for sure. It's easy to feel like you're just stuck in this meaningless cycle of redundant work, counting the minutes till the weekend. The weekend is basically for recuperating and errands, and counting the hours down till the next week. It's got a real sense of futility to it. At the same time, I am almost 42 now, so the idea of switching to a lower paying job throws a total wrench in retirement savings et al. I think ultimately though I want to move away from NYC to somewhere cheaper, where I can afford an acre or 2 of my own, and live a more freelance life, or permanent remote part time work. Something in the order of 20-30 (max) hours a week. But it's hard to pull that kind of thing off, not to mention with health insurance and all. ​ I think a good place to start is to ask yourself at least 2 main things - 1- What do you want your day to day life to look like? Ie - are you ok working an office job fewer hours, or would you rather maybe live more frugally but have more freedom? Do you want to be free to go hiking on a tuesday just cus you feel like it? Do you want a structured job schedule at all? etc etc 2- What, if any, specific life pursuit do you have? Ie for me, I'm a musician, so for me that and spiritual practices are my primary aims in life. Those are the things I spend my free time on, and would love to open up more space for. My ultimate aim is to compile a real body of work as an artist over the years. What is your pursuit? Art, business, writing, etc? It's fine if you don't specifically have one. Not everyone does. But I think it's good to at least have some sense of a drive or a purpose. I think having something you want to work towards gives you more urgency and courage to make a leap to a simpler life of less work, if that's what you want to do. Or maybe you just want to chill and hike or etc, and that's fine too. But I think having some clarity around that helps you envision what life could be like, and as that vision becomes clearer you have more incentive to make moves. ​ tldr - I don't really have concrete answers, but I totally get where you're coming from. My main advice is figure out what kind of life you genuinely want, and plan incremental steps to get there. If your aims are realistic, then they are probably more attainable than you think.


I work like 38 hrs a week in carpentry. It’s not rewarding honestly building for rich people gets old...but the skills are great because I get to help people on the weekends sometimes. So I would say try some volunteering, good for the soul. Also mtn biking is super fun but not minimal I guess lol


That’s a good point. I feel like I have no time, which is why I haven’t volunteered anywhere lately. But maybe an act of service will make me feel like I’m doing more with the time that is mine. It’s worth trying at least.


Did your company do sponsored volunteering? I've worked places where we could go do something like Habitat a certain number of hours a year on the clock. It wasn't many hours, maybe 16 or 24 a year?


Yea buddy send it!


I feel the same. The exercise you’re doing after work is a good idea. Echo others who have said to just try to make time for things you enjoy, and try to limit the amount of energy you give to work. I do that, and am tracking my mortgage, paying it off early if I can. My goal is to someday do like 20 hrs a week at my office job. I like it, but I barely have time/energy to do chores, much less larger hobbies or projects :/


I'm the same. Everyone experiences things differently. So yes others work the same hours, or even more. But if you feel the hours like work is too much, that is fine. I also find the current standard working hours isn't my ideal of work life balance as well. Some things I've found that has helped: * Working from home is really good. I avoid the commute saving time, and I can wake up naturally and still spend 30 minutes in bed before I actually get up. So I do think being able to wake up earlier and waking up naturally helps. * Another benefit of working from home is being able to take a rest whenever I want without being judged. Usually I need at least a 10 minute break after 2-3 hours of work. So whenever I'm tired, I just jump on my bed and chill. Can't do that in the office. * Don't give a shit about work. You made a mistake? Who cares. It's not the end of the world. Whatever happens to the company isn't your problem. It's likely you haven't made the whole company crash or something. Even if you do, not your problem. You still have your life and family ahead of you. * And about not giving a shit about work...clock off when you are meant to. Don't feel obliged to stay back. Work already takes up enough time, it doesn't need to take anymore. Many tasks you can probably leave for tomorrow anyways. There's always endless work to do. Don't feel like you need to get something done today. I think lastly, if you haven't discovered it yet, look up "financial independence", "FIRE" and such. This is my only hope for being able to reduce my working hours to 9-3, and eventually going part time in the future. I do think if you try to pursue "FIRE", you may be able to work casually as a barista and baker and not worry about money, but just do it because you enjoy to. I think your experience of working as a barista/baker is valuable as it tells you you do enjoy this sort of work.


I work 58 hours a week plus 2 hours in the car each day. I try to mix up my weekend with chores, reading, exercise, show or movie, more chores, working on duolingo, reading. Just find the balance. Or move somewhere like Belize and live off $800 a month like my buddy


60hrs/week sound horrible to be honest… and finding balance with those hours looks impossible.


Its 5 10 hour days. Then remote work on weekends. I choose to do it. Mad overtime. Going to pay house off early!


I don't have an answer. I cut back to ten hours a week and what happened is all the time filled up with family and volunteer obligations and i ended up feeling super burnt out. I've taken the last month of from everything optional and now I'm still stressed and burnt out but also feel unfulfilled. Is it possible it's just pandemic brain catching up to you? I kind of think that's what it is for me, and i know a chunk of my burnout is that my kid is super burnt out and depressed and needing a ton more emotional and practical support than usual


Find work that is fulfilling to you. And the 40 hours won’t feel like torture. Or… Live simpler, smaller and eliminate the need to pull in a 40 hour salary. Find whatever low stress low obligation jobs you can get by on. Work to live, don’t live to work.


It sucks feeling miserable at work. I think it'd worth putting effort into figuring this aspect of your life out. Not looking for an escape but trying to figure out what you can do to be happy within your role. Journal on it, make it a goal to be happy at work. I know this can sound hard especially the place your in right now. you feel trapped, but if you can get a but selfish you can find things you like about your job. It's kind of integrating work as part of your life by extracting meaning from it. If you can do this it can feel like a part of your day and leas like an event you have to grind through. I'm sharing this blog post for one approach on how to be happy at work, feel free to check it out. https://pinegrovezen.com/how-to-be-happy-at-work/


You need to feel like it’s worth it in some way. I feel this pretty much the entire work day, then I get off the clock and get to enjoy my life because I have the financial security to do so because of that job. It sounds like your life outside of work is unfulfilling, which can be a symptom of depression cause by hating your job (I’ve been there). It’s a vicious cycle, I know. I have a few suggestions: - Look for a new job. But be deliberate about it, don’t necessarily pounce on the next thing that comes along. Evaluate what would make your work more bearable. Personally I’ve learned that I care less about the work I do than the people I work with and for. - Get a more balanced personal life. Sounds like maybe you need hobbies or socialization outside of work to give you something to look forward too, and to make the 40 hours feel worth it. - Adjust of simplify your lifestyle to accommodate a lower paying job that you enjoy more and gives you less stress. I know this is easier said than done, but if you need less to make ends meet, you will give yourself more options. Maybe see what you can live without, even for the short term to get you out of the funk, then reevaluate. - Talk to a mental health professional. Sounds like you could be going through depression. And in a classic chicken or the egg scenario, it can be hard to tell if your job is making you depressed or if depression is making you hate your job. Good luck and I hope these ideas are somewhat helpful! -


Learn to live smaller = less bills.


I find shift work helps me get through normal work week hours even though I don't enjoy the work all the time. I'm an EMT but most of allied healthcare is on shift work. I have the option of working 3 13.5 hour days, 4 10 hour days, or rotating shifts with both. Other people work 12s or 24s. The extra hours arent very noticable but the extra days mean everything to me. Also shift differential can double your paycheck with no extra hours put in. Shift work jobs in healthcare usually have a split between sitting around chilling and joking around doing nothing and then running your butt off. So it keeps my mind busy while we run but then I get some time to decompress after without getting bored which helps the time go faster. I get my exercise at work. And best of all I never take my work home with me, it's literally against HIPAA laws 😋




If you work a soul crushing office job, the best thing you can do is to plan something emotionally/physically revitalising to do after work, at least a few days a week. Finishing work, commuting home only to sit on your couch or start doing laundry burns you down. Take the extra effort to do something that makes you feel better in the long run. For me, that is the gym two nights a week and team sport once a week. That might not sound very "simple" but the experience of socialing and exercising makes me feel a lot better. Other options include walking a dog, waling with a friend, having a bubble bath, having a coffee at a local cafe, sitting in a park reading a book, etc. Whatever it is that makes you feel revitalised and human. Try to avoid things that might feel good in the moment but drain you in the long run e.g. spending time on the internet, eating junk food, smashing back a few beers. If that works for you, then great, but ask yourself if those things make you feel better or just help to drown out the bad feelings. Once you find something you like, make it a part of your routine. I know this advice might sound condescending, like "just have more free time lol" but I think most people have at least 15 minutes a day to do something good for themselves. Or you can even work the self care into your life obligations. For example, I have a routine I call "music fridays" where every friday I listen to a full album the whole way through on spotify while I work. It sounds silly, but I enjoy it haha. If you look at your routine, I'm sure you can carve out some sort of time to do something that makes you enjoy life.


I’m surprised this post isn’t higher up.


I truly do think people have different energy levels, yeah some people can bust out 60 hours a week no sweat, while others struggle with 40 hours. I do feel the same way, that 40 hours a week plus with stress of job, feels like takes away so much free time, and your life with two days to recover and run around to get stuff ready for upcoming work week. Maybe you can ask your job if you can work 4 days a week instead? Never hurts to ask and see what they have to say. I know my job is against letting people do 4 day, but I hope it changes in future or I can find a job that does 4 days.


I’m 29 and have been working in an office for almost ten years now. I’m at my breaking point and am very close to quitting and going to school full time to become a teacher. I can’t stand being in an office for 40 long, horribly boring hours 😭


Are you... me?


Are you doing the same thing? 😂


My plan is basically not having kids, creating deep friendships (done long term exclusive relationships and feel they aren't for me) and working the bare minimum to ensure my basic needs are met. Sure I have to make some sacrifices, but its better than the ultimate sacrifice of living a life I hate so I can appear successful to people I don't care about.


I think you describe most people's life experience. We have to grind for many decades doing jobs we probably don't love, and asking if there is something else out there. At least you tried one avenue of change and now know the barista life isn't for you. Keep looking for that job that doesn't leave you exhausted but still pays enough to avoid stress.


I felt like this for a long time, what made it better was reducing work to 30h. I work 4 days and having a three day weekend is what I like most. Friday is my additional day off and I can buy stuff/ do chores when others are at work, so there are less people around and I'm faster :) I live in Europe, so it may be easier here, but the paycheck is not that different from 40 to 30 hours! I get ~400€ less, but have less commute and lunch costs (I prepare more meals myself bc I have more energy & time) so at the end of the month it's not that different :) If you have the option to reduce hours it would be good to calculate how much you get with 30 or 32h, maybe thats still enough for you :) Also reducing stuff that I "have" to do in my free time helped. If a birthday is comming up, I don't buy a present but make a gift card for an experience. I like drawing & stuff like that, so its hobby time and I get to do something with that person instead of spending time in shops to find something to buy.


> I felt like this for a long time, what made it better was reducing work to 30h. I work 4 days and having a three day weekend is what I like most. In the park yesterday I overheard a lady saying this is exactly what she wants to do because she's so tired of 40hrs and fed up of grinding away and wants more "living time" to value. She had a kid in tow with her friend's kid I noticed and you can see the living bit for people is squeezed too much in 5 day weeks. I feel the same way and need to do 4 day weeks especially as I work 2 jobs. I will probably crack on for a few more months but then consider 4 day week heading into Winter when life gets even harder!


I also felt that working 40+ hours/ 5 days really doesn't leave enough living time, sadly many companies and managers don't care about that. Working two jobs sounds stressful, I hope you get to the 4 day week soon :)


Reduce your expenses, get a skill that allows for part time or contract or seasonal work, and live somewhere cheap. Possibly also set up something that provides passive income. It's not easy, but this is my plan. I feel exactly like you, and I simply cannot do 40 hrs anymore. Had a few jobs, good and bad workplaces. The whole issue is the time I'm spending for someone else and lack of freedom (for me). Some people can cope. Some just need to get out of it. It sounds like you were going in the right direction. Maybe bartending is not for you. Maybe you're expenses are too high. I feel like what you want is possible if you consider going about it differently.


I think the best solution is to reduce hours from 5-days a week to 4-days a week that is SUSTAINABLE in terms of: * Pay * Time to recharge, maintain your life AND be productive OUTSIDE of worktime for YOURSELF. It's pay-time balance always. In fact rebalancing so you have just enough pay but more time is probably a good solution for more people. That time can add so much more value and make you get the most out of working hours while being able to put it to one side long enough to recharge, refresh and forget it and live life as if you're on holiday each week as well as keep up with daily chores and demands. Without time, it's a constant cycle of grind along a dark tunnel with no light in life to enjoy. Part of the key with reduced pay, is reduced COSTS (Mainly accommodation and commute - reducing those) atst as having enough to cover your costs, put some money into saving and have a little money for spending.


I am at the intersection of just saying screw it at the job I am at now. Its really complex, running ICP and GC-MS with a hs education. I did a "gentleman's agreement" to stay 5 years because the training is so intense, but 2 of the 3 people I work with are "special" and are brown nosers and do little work. Me and 1 other do most of the work, its in the desert so there are few workers to be had and even fewer jobs. I am only a couple of years away from SS and my expenses are low and I could just coast until SS checks start coming in. The only thing that I like about this job is that I work Sunday - Thursday, 6 to 2:30, so it feels like you are only working four days a week as Sunday I am by myself, so it makes the day go by quick.


I vote don’t hand your honor to people who will wipe their feet on it


Totally agree! From what I understand, that "agreement" was from the last worker that left. They just stopped showing up. I might do the same, lol.


Make exercise something you ENJOY not something you have to do. Throw in some stretches at your desk or on walks to the bathroom/break room/coffee machine. TONS of desk job stretching and even mini workouts online you can do it you find yourself stiff and sore at or right after work. I found ways to exercise that I enjoy, so it doesn't feel like just another chore I have to do. Realize the goal is moving the body, and you can do that any way you like. You don't have to go to a gym. I like to play with my kids at the park. Go hiking. Ride my bike. Take nature walks where I look and/or listen for something new every day and then use an app to identify it. Sit on a yoga ball at work if you can, or, at home when you watch tv. Look at your bills and see what you can automate. Look at your life chores and see what you can schedule better, pare down, combine, etc. A balanced life needs to have components of quality time with others, time alone, time to be productive and earn a living, time to think but time to relax and let go of thinking, enough time to sleep, enough time to eat and drink and move the body. But that balance is different for everyone. So look where you are lacking and what you can shift to add it and balance better. But remember balancing is a constant act of movement. You are rarely in that perfect moment of balanced calm, but rather constantly wiggling around it. Your needs might shift weekly or daily or even hourly. Learn how to pay attention to what your body needs, including destressing.


Are you me? I'm a thirty-something, always-tired office worker who is currently considering taking a bit of a career break. Similar to your barista/baker experience, I'd be paid very little and surrounded by coworkers 10-15 years younger than me. "As much stress but in a different way" sounds about right... maybe even more stress. Still: as humans, we have the ability to adapt, and I feel like we don't always give ourselves opportunities to practice this. We settle into comfortable routines, and our potential to learn and explore and develop goes to waste. I feel like I'm getting dumber as I age. So I guess I'm attracted to the idea of an "ice water bath" for my mind and spirit.


I'm constantly feeling trapped as well, but I'm sad to hear that the barista route didn't make you feel better, because that was my plan.




I feel the same. I’m sorry, I have no suggestions at this time.


As a night shift worker I have little-to-no time at all; home at 8am, 9am to sleep if I can and wake between 5pm and 6pm if I don't want to feel tired at 4am on shift, or wake between 3pm and 4pm to have a few hours of a home life before I have to head out. I mostly see very little of the day and the hours that I am awake, I am counting down to having to put on the uniform, so relaxing or focusing on life, is hard. My days off are what I live for and I have to not sleep on my first day off to 1. Change my body clock over to days and 2. So I don't miss my first day off by sleeping. So I have my hobbies, and they are many and they vary. No-one at work knows about them or what they are. This is a completely separate part of my life away from work and remains just that. I also have a bigger goal for myself to happen in about 5-10 years down the road. I'm 50, so I can still look at the life ahead of me more-so than looking back in regret or hindsight. But this goal is what makes the shitiness of now, bearable. No matter how it is for me now, it won't always be this way, but that's because I have this plan for myself, and so I work toward it. When I'm there, I'll be debt free and I will turn my back on what I am currently doing. I can't change the mechanics and schedule of my life right now, but I can work toward saving to change it around completely at some point down the road. Working through the crap and monotony of now to get to this goal - it's worth it. I may not have much physical time to do a lot out of work, but mentally, I have all the time in the world. That, and a big goddam poster. Hope you sort it out.


I pursued an instrument because i felt the same way like you, op. Now my life revolves around music. When i feel like taking a break at work, i play my instrument. Feeling spirituality via music has helped me feel purposeful and feel blessed. There are days that still make me question the mundane lifestyle but those are rare. I am sure as more time pass, music will heal me. I suggest - meditate, pursue art and read good thoughts. Life is not meant to be a slave. Find your purpose. Have faith. Keep believing. And remember life is a journey and not destination. Enjoy your journey. Much love and peace


I don't feel the same satisfaction at home getting things done as I do at work so I prefer being there ...It sounds like a career choice issue...


You got to start running


What is your favorite hobby? If someone were to pay you the same amount per hour that you earn on your current “day job”, for how many hours would you do it? This will give you a different perspective on trying to prepare yourself for a job that you could enjoy. It may take you several years to acquire the necessary skills, but you will be doing something you love for the rest of your professional career. Find a hobby you are good at, that challenges you, and that someone is willing to pay for…


If your current job doesn't lead to something else other than a paycheque for me that would feel like I'm trapped. I worked those 50 hour + weeks to work towards financial independence and better paying/better balanced jobs. After I found a better balanced job I found I missed working and got a second job to fill in my extra free time so I went back to a busier job since it made me feel like I was better spending my time and could freely enjoy the little time I did have off completely. ​ If you're anything like me you feel trapped because there is no end in sight, you're just working without a plan to find the next thing in your life or move on to something else. Maybe you work in a company with a low career ceiling or in a job that doesn't lead to a more fulfilling career. If this isn't a step towards something you really want ask yourself what you're doing standing there.


Depends on the job, I work two jobs 8-4 Monday to Saturday and I never feel burned out or tired. But I take no part of work home with me, it’s stress free little responsibility and with a great team, I used to do less hours and feel knackered all depends on what your doing


im stuck in the 9-5 rat race too but after much thought, i figured out that mindfulness helps alot. i no longer want to die for having to work in an office. im using it as part of my enlightenment training.


I’ve been feeling this lately. I left the retail world to become a teller at a credit union; I loved it initially, but gradually I have grown to dread the 1 1/2 hr round trip commute and monotonous nature of the job. I love my coworkers and the benefits here are great. It’s a well known organization in my area, but I just feel so drained from the work. I’m dropping down to part time, which hopefully will make it better, but I’ll still have a long commute to and from the branch. I’m missing the flexibility of retail, especially as a full time college student.


If you can find a way to work for yourself, that could be the key. Whatever you decide to do, working for yourself cuts out the middle man and means more money for you. Which means less hours. Also, you tend to care more if it's YOUR business and it feels like work. Best of luck to you on escaping the rat race https://youtu.be/TEjv2bUsHh4


Hello fellow Redditor, Two pieces of advice I always follow is work/balance is a myth and fulfillment is natural. People owe it to themselves to not look at work like a chore. Not a place that you go to and have to get out of the way to enjoy life. Work should be viewed as a voluntary experience that you choose to go to. It’s still a choice and always important to remember that no one will hold a gun to your head and make you. It’s still your life you just choose to make time for work. A lot of people work with the idea of retiring and finally being able to live the life they’ve always wanted. What does that mean for you? I can only play so many video games and watch so many movies before I get bored. Then I need something else to do to keep me busy. Something that resembles work. Also, let’s say you don’t have to work anymore and just sit at home all day. Who are you going to hang out with. Your kids have school, your wife probably works, all your friends have jobs. You are stuck inside your house with no purpose all day. So you find a job and a way to make a little extra money on top of your large savings. See how this all came full circle? Work is a natural extension of looking for some sort of productive fulfillment backed by money. That’s all it should be viewed as. So to you my friend, do not feel trapped by work, simply view it as an extension of your fulfillment.


The time I could work used to be very limited. I was trying to go to college and my son had behavioral problems and was expelled from after school care. I had to work and go to what classes I could in the 5 hour window that he was in class, weekdays only. I was excited when I was finally able to work 40 hours a week. Then I took a night job and worked another 10-15 a week. Then I started doing bookkeeping on the side. Now I've dropped my work down to "just" 40 hours a week. So, I guess for me, it's a matter of perspective. I feel like I have too much time on my hands now! I do work from home, so I do a lot of my housework during breaks during the day. That way, I really don't have much to do after work. If you have to work 40 hours a week, do what you can to simplify your household responsibilities and you may find more time for yourself.


Exteacher here I've quit cause of my mental health problems and now I am jobless and in despair.




I work in a hospital as a housekeeper. The motto in our department is "Turn out 'till you burn out." If you want to work double shifts 7 days a week for the rest of your life, all you have to do is put your name down on the overtime sign up sheet and they will make you useful. While this is great when you have to pay off credit cards, or save up for a dream that you have (car / house / expensive hooker / whatever), it's not so great on the sleep cycle. However, this is the price you pay for living in an expensive city and having a disease where you will die within days without the expensive prescription drugs that the insurance covers.


My boss of 14 years retired, and the company was bought out. The new company said they would allow me to keep my 4-day workweek. It was literally right down the road from me, and the pay was a little better. Red flags from day one. We opened at 9 but had to be there at 8:15, customers were always complaining about the place, high turnover rate, and all of the staff were miserable. I was told I was needed in another office, so my commute was over an hour one-way. They started by asking me to work an occasional Friday (my day off), then every other Friday, and finally they needed me to work every Friday. The micromanaging manager did nothing, but sit in her office and watch us on camera all day, and listen to all of our calls. She looked for reasons to write people up. I quickly learned why the staff was so miserable. I was so tired all the time. I didn't get anything done around my house on my days off. I decided to leave and go back to school. My kids are grown now, and I am a little older, but I will never be a slave for a company again. I cannot believe the time I wasted with that place. I do look on Indeed now and then for a part-time job, but I refuse to settle. I would rather be poor than waste my life killing myself for people that couldn't care less about me. 4 8-hour days is all I am willing to give.


I found work that I love. I truly enjoy it. It is a big source of pride and satisfaction. I am making the world a better place.