Finding Peace and Purpose in Monotony
  • Hello friends. I currently am in a career I am not at all loving. I am barely tolerating it but I force myself to work enough (and more) not to get fired until I can quit. The good news is that I am going back to school in the fall for something I should be much more suited to! AND, this is a HUGE opportunity for me to grow. So, I ask you, how can I become more at peace and less like a caged animal when I am faced with repetitive tasks or things that require ongoing sustained effort? To some extent I mean discipline, but I think it goes beyond that. Can there be enjoyment in tedium? Currently, I feel real misery when trying to do some tasks such as data entry and sometimes tasks everyone does, like dishes, or checking voicemail/email. This is not cool with me. It leads to procrastination and causes a whole spiral of misery. How can I get past that? I don't think I'm lazy, but I feel way too unhappy over things I should be able to handle and it manifests as laziness. I believe that to be successful in my future career I will have to resolve this. Any suggestions appreciated!
    "the idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving" - Boat Car Guy
  • What do you do? Telling us would help us help you help yourself. Your problems are specific to your own life, no matter how much you try to generalize them.

    As for myself, I work in a lending agency which helps make not-quite predatory loans to people who have poor credit. I find relief from the monotony by reading people's credit reports and constructing a life story in my head based upon their defaulted Macy's cards and numerous repossessions.

    For example, last month I helped a recent nursing graduate who makes $5K/month and lives with her parents get financing for a boob job. I like to imagine that her father now stares at her enhanced breasts and she plays it down by saying she is wearing tighter clothing because she has developed a better self-image and Jesus Christ back off dad you're smothering me!
  • I guess I find that losing myself in the details helps me get through the day and humanizes the people I'm working with.
  • orgoneorgone
    I'm a Troll. Don't Feed Me.
    There are some pretty interesting insights regarding work and peace of mind in this thread:
  • Thanks for the insights. I work at (LARGE BUREAUCRACY) and organize meetings/ plan conferences but I don't actually get to decide any fun details I just push paper and coffee carts. (LARGE BUREAUCRACY) is rife with disrespect for people in my position because the people I work to help all "earned" their positions which apparently entitles them to shit on others and pass off most of their work to those of us who couldn't afford higher education (7+ years of it). I also earned my position through hard work, too. I am just about to go to work 2 hours early and will stay an hour late and will work 6 days in a row in part because these people who "earned their jobs" are not very organized and they need a LOT of help to make things run smoothly. I don't always work such long hours but it is expected during the spring/summer. The other 6 months of the year is filled with complex paper pushing/ data entry/ endless tracking and organizing smaller scale events. Needless to say I am burnt out. The other 6 months of the year is filled with complex paper pushing/ data entry/ endless tracking and organizing smaller scale events for people who are even less organized sometimes.

    I am concerned that even with a career change I will have to start at the bottom again which will mean spending another couple years getting to know these monotonous things intimately. I try to see the big picture but it's hard for me not to see it all as shit rolling downhill. While I want a job without this much monotony I am sure that no job is free of it which is why I want to learn to engage better in all tasks. My brain knows this, but I still "switch off" at the first whiff of something that's going to take hours with little result, or have to be done again and again over the long term. I can lose myself in the details on tasks I am engaged with easily... things I don't like are like climbing mountains, though, every time.

    I'll read the thread Orgone posted when i get home. Thanks again guys!
    "the idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving" - Boat Car Guy
  • Hah, I am so burnt out I repeated a sentence I had intended to just move.
    "the idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving" - Boat Car Guy
  • Having been in your position many times in my career, my advice is as follows:

    Try to ease your resentment of the people you are working for. I guess if they are really disrespectful this would be really hard, but maybe that is just your perception? The negativity you clearly hold toward them hurts you much more than they. Life isn't "fair" and if you expect it to be you will be miserable. Those people did pay at least some dues - it doesn't entitle them to treat others poorly but the fact is they jumped through the necessary hoops to get where they are.

    Secondly, with repetitive types of tasks, I always tried to make a "game" out of trying to figure out better and more efficient ways to do things and competed with myself to get better. This made the work more fun and had the secondary benefit of me kicking ass at my job, which made me feel good and ultimately helped me to "get ahead".

    By the way, just beacuse I "got ahead" doesn't mean I am happy - far from it. I "got ahead" into a position I really don't like - so keep in mind those people may be just as, if not more miserable than you! I am probably going back to school for a career change myself next year...
  • ooh ooh
    I'll let the Gita take this
    No work stains a man who is pure, who is in harmony, who is master of his life, whose soul is one with the soul of all.
    'I am not doing any work', thinks the man who is in harmony, who sees the truth. For in seeing or hearing, smelling or touching, in eating or walking, or sleeping, or breathing, in talking or grasping or relaxing, and even in opening or closing his eyes, he remembers: 'It is the servants of my soul that are working.'

    Reading that made me feel better about work like this. Just knowing people were dealing with the same problems thousands of years ago was assuring
  • Thanks, I just finished working 7 in a row and now have been able to get back and read this. Sorry for bumping an old thread but this has been my first chance to respond. @ladychef, I got a 404 on your link. I'll try to find it elsewhere. I have to say that the things I was doing this weekend were the most meaningful parts of my job, so once I got to work the time went quickly, and I was able to contribute a lot. This time my boss was grateful for my work which was nice... last time my other boss was dismissive of my efforts.

    One of my "superiors" was literally sitting and reading a book in his office while I was desperately trying to finish my work today. I realize my anger is at least a significant part of my problem, but I am not sure how else I am to take such flagrant inequality. He also came and talked to me at one point and the discussion turned to how people who can only get a masters degree are the type of people that become construction flag people... like there's something wrong with that, if in fact that would ever be the case. I also have to learn to let bullshit slide, apparently.

    I don't understand how feeling anger and some resentment *is* laziness when I am actually taking action to change both myself and my circumstances. Especially after working for a week straight I find that false.

    I don't see all aspects of my job as a chore, but I do feel that the majority of the components are chores. In my life there are things I am fine with doing, like cleaning the bathroom. Doing the dishes is depressing, though. So that is what I need to spend the summer working on - developing the (discipline? drive?) to power through what makes me miserable, I guess. Maybe forget about the "light at the end of the tunnel" altogether and just realize that life is this over and over again in some way and it's not good, bad or whatever. That said, I really do think I am in a career that is almost opposite my nature and if you've been there you know how tough that can be to turn around when not in an objective place. Furthering that, though, I realize it's not just how I do the stuff I like, I have to learn to kick ass at the stuff I don't like, too. I'm hoping that as I move my new career I'll be able to become stronger and better at these mind hurdles. I am currently stuck in a mind hole and I can read that I am just going in circles here. Guh. I'll try again later.
    "the idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving" - Boat Car Guy
  • Thanks ladychef. The exact reason I am here is that I know any job, no matter how dreamy, will still be a job. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to drop all of the things we don't enjoy as much from our work. And nor do I want to. I'm trying to turn a weakness into a strength. I appreciate everyone's advice.
    "the idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving" - Boat Car Guy

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