Why Does Working Suck So Much?
Who Doesn't Like Complaining About Their Job?
Sometimes job complaints are a cathartic thing we do to pass the time. Sometimes job complaints are serious things that drive us to drink. They're the things at work that drive us crazy. They make us stand around the water cooler and prattle on and on. One day, we're going to stab ourselves in the eye with a fork if somebody doesn't enforce the rules. Everybody who works has job complaints. Oh, sure, many people just hate work. But I'm talking things that make work nearly intolerable and seem omnipresent no matter what the job. Some job complaints are universal. Some job complaints are very specific. No matter what the job complaint, it's a commonality shared by all working people. So let's talk about what makes work suck.
Below are some ways work really stinks!
Everybody probably has a different definition of micromanaging. But for argument's sake, let's define it. Micromanaging is the process of managing whereby the manager controls even the smallest detail. Good managers let their employees make decisions. They provide them with guidance and then trust them to make choices.
Bad managers control every decision their employees make, no matter how small. If you work for a micromanager, their control issues frustrate you every day. Your manager might feel the need to weigh in on your desk chair. A micromanager might comment on what screen saver you are using. Or what you eat for lunch or what you wear. You might be in a situation where you have to run every decision you make by your manager. Because you know if you don't, you'll hear about it. Ultimately, if you work for a micromanager, you work for a unit that isn't functioning well. And it probably drives you crazy.
A needy co-worker is like a mosquito flying around your head. You are just waiting for the perfect opportunity to clap your hands together and squash it. Needy co-workers use work to fill some gap in their lives. I've seen male co-workers who follow their attractive female co-workers around like lost puppies. I've seen co-workers sit in the offices of others for hours on end talking about nothing. Some workers need to walk around for no good reason. Others need your advice on every decision they make (the opposite of micromanaging). Annoying co-workers probably fall into this category because their annoying characteristics are the result of some innate personality flaw. They talk too much because they don't have the opportunity for conversation at home. They need constant praise because they have low self-esteem. No matter what it is, needy co-workers are time-consuming and detrimental to a productive day.
I can't figure out why so many people think that work should be more like a cafeteria. People keep food at their desks. There's food in the common office area. Then there's food in the employee break area. Then there's the refrigerator, where bad food goes to die - and grow mold. The food that ends up in the workplace is almost always junk. So it makes for pauses in work and bad health. Then to top it off, your co-workers sit around wondering why they're sick or don't feel well or are overweight. Hmmm, might be that extra thousand calories they're consuming in candy every day.
It's the lucky person who gets to go to work and do something different every day. Unfortunately for most of us, we sit at the same desk. We look at the same computer screen, and file the same papers into the same filing cabinets. We think we've been working for ten hours when we've only been working for ten minutes because what we do is so boring. Monotony is the worst. It's a soul killer.
It's amazing how many people have this problem. We have modern HVAC systems, but apparently we can't keep offices at consistent temperatures. Either that, or your manager likes it hot and you like it cold. Or the other way around. No matter, keeping a constant temperature seems impossible in an office. Then, of course, there's the battle to control the thermometer. There's always that one person who needs it to be a sauna. Then some other person wants it to be a freezer. And whenever you turn around, somebody is turning the thermometer down or up.
Do you hate your job?
If you work in a cubicle farm, somebody farts, and it just wafts everywhere and nobody knows who did it. However, farting is hardly the worst problem in the workplace. Sometimes it's vents that bring in smells from the outside. Or sometimes it's somebody's rotting food. Sometimes it's just the guy next to you who forgot to shower that morning and reeks of b.o. In my case, our entire air duct intake system vents to the outside. Often, workers stand to take their smoke breaks. Occasionally, a diesel truck sits while the engine runs. Whatever it is, you probably have had an experience in your workplace with a smell that practically drove you to quit. And that's if you're lucky. Some of us have to put up with foul odors all day.
You know how this one works. You've got a deadline at 4pm for a twenty-five page report. You've worked all week on it. It's 3:59. You hit the print button on your computer. Nothing. Again, you try. Again, nothing. The printer apparently isn't working. You call your IT guy. Oh, wait. He left work already. Who's going to fix this thing? Maybe it's not the printer or the copier. Maybe it's that new piece of software your company just installed. They said it would make everything easier and solve everybody's problems. Except it doesn't work at all. Of course, the manager has to insist it's great because he just invested a whole bunch of the company's money in the thing. Whatever the case, technology failures are often the cause for some poor co-worker ambling about the office, trying to pull her hair out.
There's nothing worse than being in an office with a lot of productive people and one slacker. It's even worse when the slacker has one talent. And that's explaining his way out of any situation. Sometimes the do-nothings sit there and surf the internet when they're supposed to be working. Sometimes the do-nothings take long breaks and long lunches. They never seem to be at their desks. Sometimes they're out on the golf course and then claim they were working. Whatever the case is, everybody hates those who scam the system. And it's amazing how their supervisors never seem to notice.
The 40-hour work week must be some kind of myth invented by some very heartless person. Who only works 40 hours a week anymore? Most people I know, at least in the private sector, work 50, 60, 70 hours a week. They have no hobbies, no time for their families, and basically no life outside of work. How many of us know what it's like to be in the office before the sun rises or hours after it sets? And this sort of work day is the new normal.
Of course we rely on our customers for our very existence at our jobs. No matter what job you do, you probably have customers. And it's a beautiful thing when we do our job well. It's great when our customers are appreciative and happy to compensate us appropriately for our work. Unfortunately, we seem to live in an age where unrealistic expectations are the new norm.
If you've worked in retail, you know that customers basically want things for free. Try explaining the nature of cost and retail and customers give you a blank stare. Why do you have to charge more for something than it costs?
Most customers are great, but it's the ones that blow our minds with their ridiculous requests. Then they have insane concepts of fair that drive us crazy. My favorite personal story is of a guy who ran into my place of business a minute after we closed. It was at the end of a special two-week buying period. He asked us to dig through several pallets of boxes because he had accidentally sold us his daughters textbooks and she needed them. When I said no, he went ballistic. Customers are mostly out best friends, but when they're our worst enemies, it can be infuriating.
We all have a creepy Larry in the office. Sometimes his name is Bob. Sometimes his name is George. Nevertheless, there's always some guy who creeps everyone out. He's that guy who never covers his mouth when he coughs. Or he seems to stand outside the women's bathroom all the time. Maybe you suspect that he's the one taking people's food out of the refrigerator. Or somebody took a dump on the bathroom floor. You know it was Creepy Larry. He could also be that guy who just says the weirdest stuff. Anyway, Creepy Larry bothers everyone.
That Jerk IT Guy
It's pretty rare that the person in IT you need help to fix somethings isn't a complete jerk. Sure, people are asking him for stuff all day, but that doesn't mean he has to treat everyone like crap.
I worked with a four-person IT department. Three of the four were great people. But there's just always that one IT guy who is impossible. In my case, this was a guy who made the nicest woman in our office cry. How do you do that? And, of course, nobody will fire him. He's just so essential.
Whatever. It's always everyone else accommodating this guy's bad behavior. Always.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Allen Donald