Guys, let’s talk about why work sucks. Actually, let’s take a step back before we talk about why work sucks. In reality, work isn’t all that bad, there are worse things like a root canal. I mention that because I have an appointment for one next Tuesday. You want to charge me $1000 to do what? Thanks Mr. Dentist.
Anyway, I want to be reasonable here before I tell you why I think work sucks.
First, let’s get the good things about work out of the way so you don’t think me a negative person.
- You get the moneys and you can use that moneys to buy things. Like N’Sync said “Thank God it’s Friday night and I just got paid, money money X 500.” Lyrical geniuses those fellas.
- Sometimes you work with cool people and it allows you to be social. Let’s be honest, if I weren’t working, there’s a 10% chance I’d become a Howard Hughes recluse type.
- There’s a learning and growth aspect that can be rewarding. In other words, we’re meant to grow to find fulfillment or whatever. Work can allow you to do that. That’s pretty cool, thanks WORK!
- Benefits are pretty cool. Example, 401k plans are neat because I can pay less taxes. Also, subsidized health and dental insurance is cool so I can avoid bankruptcy when I go to an ER for 13 minutes and get a prescription for anxiety medication cause it’s all my head!
You can see that I’m a reasonable person. We’ve established that I see both sides of the issue. I should run for political office because I’m so rational. My platform, work sucks and we should do less of it! Oh yea, let’s get back to that, here’s my list of stuff that sucks about work.
Before we start, please note that I work in a cubicle job so these asinine silly complaints about the job that I’m lucky to have apply to cubicle jobs. If you don’t agree with them or think me immature then you’re probably right. I am 100% lucky to have the job I have in a first world country but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain on my online first world blog! Here’s 5 reasons why work sucks in 2019.
Work Sucks Reason #1 : You Have To Put On Pants
Listen, I like putting on pants as much as the next guy. They keep you warm when you go outside and they can make your butt look good if they fit right. There’s a time and place for putting on pants. However, one of the best feelings in the world is having that choice. Should I put on pants today or should I not?
Work sucks because it takes that choice away from you.
Putting on pants is fine and has a time and place. The problem occurs when that time and place is EVERY DAMN MORNING, 250 days a year for 40 years.
It’s not even the pants people. It’s all the other stuff that has to go with the pants. You’re beholden to the pants gods because pants require you to put on socks and underwear too. You can’t wear pants with no shirt. Restaurants won’t let you in after all. No pants, no shoes, no shirt, no service. Shit, now I gotta put on shoes too?
And fuck, if I don’t shower, my pants and shirt will smell so I gotta do that too. How long does this all take? What about makeup and fixing your hair and all this other bullshit? It’s such a colossal waste of time and it’s all just because I have to put on pants every morning.
Now, I’ve showered, put some pants on and eaten a quick breakfast. Now what? I gotta go the car and actually head to work.
Reason #2 : Traffic
Everyone else put on pants so of course there’s traffic. Don’t get me started on that crap guys.
For some reason, every company in the world decided that 7-9 A.M. is when we have to get into work. On top of that, most companies in the world decided that they should all have an office in the same area of the state.
That means that a bunch of unhappy folks who just had to put on pants are doing the same thing as you are.
Oh wait, it’s winter and I gotta scrape the ice off my windshield before getting on the highway and taking the 38 minute 7 mile ride to work that should take 10 minutes without traffic? JOY!
Yea, my job is like 7 miles away via highway. However, there’s suddenly a thousand cars on the road and there’s a spot where three lanes become two for some reason. On top of that, there’s a spot where there’s an exit and an on-ramp on the same side so everyone merges in and out. Who designed these asshole highways anyway?
What, there’s a small accident? Of course, we all have to slow down and gape which forces everyone behind them to slow down. Also, this other guy has to merge between lanes every 17 seconds slowing everything behind him.
Hey, how about we take some side roads? Well, those are jammed too and really there’s only one good one to get to work unless you want to add another 13 miles to your commute.
Then there’s those days where there’s a bigger accident and entire lanes are closed. Forget about that day, you’re not getting in to work for at least an hour even if you live ten minutes away.
The average american has a 26 minute one-way commute. That means an entire hour of your day is wasted on average just going to and and from work. Talk about a waste of time. Sure, you could listen to some podcasts or a book on tape but wouldn’t doing that at home with no pants on be better?
But you can’t, cause work and now that means it’s been over an hour between putting on pants, getting ready and driving in and you just got into the office.
Why the hell aren’t we working from home anyway? I could have been an hour into my 8 hour work day already but I’m just rolling into my cubicle.
Reason #3 : The Cubicle Farm or The Open Office
Hey want to hear your neighbor talk on the phone or chew his food or clip his toenails?
WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE FOR THE NEXT 8 HOURS.
The spirit of collaboration in the office has taken office design down a path of openness. That’s great if your team is awesome and fun but that’s not always the case.
Sometimes, the people you work with suck. That’s not a problem if you can avoid them but now you’re in an open cubicle or even worse, an open office where you can see and talk to everyone.
How am I supposed to surf the net for 8 hours if everyone can see my screen? Want to know about Bob’s failing marriage? Well, you already do because you can hear his awkward phone calls from two rows over.
Sure, most offices have some private rooms but there’s like three of them. And Stacy from accounting has one booked 24/7 cause she wants her own space. The three dudes with an office on your floor never leave it and your main source of motivation to get into upper management isn’t the money, it’s the privacy you might get when you get there.
Also, there’s one bathroom for 180 people with two stalls and a urinal and the two overweight guys with the worst diets in the world are creating poisonous gasses in the toilet. Hurry up with the peeing Frank, I gotta go too.
Now it’s lunchtime and someone has microwaved fish in the kitchen. Ah yes, the fine aroma of warm tuna really makes the depressing lunch room with one fridge, old coffee and a microwave shine.
How about that natural lighting in the office too? Wait there is none, it’s just those weird lights every damn office seems to have that seem to beam depression straight into your eyes. Also, Bob is sick today and he’s coughing up a lung. You can bet your ass you’ll be sick pretty soon too but you don’t want to use your 10 days of PTO on being sick.
You watch the clock tick down and hope the burping lady isn’t in today as you look out the window at 4 and see that the highway is a clusterfluff again. Oh well, you put in your 8 hours already, what’s another 35 minutes in the car before you get home.
Reason #4 : The Arbitrary 8 Hour Work Day
There are legitimate days when I come into the office at 830, sit down, do absolutely nothing and leave at 430. I say nothing but I spend a lot of time on Reddit so it’s not a total waste.
Yes, some could say my job is awesome, other would say it’s soul draining. In either case, it’s a waste of freaking time!
There are also during a busier season when I come in at the same time, am slammed all day and have to leave late.
Why the hell am I forced to be there 8 hours a day, five times a week when it’s slow? It makes no sense! I get that some jobs require access during business hours but I can do that at home/or on my phone. If it’s a slow season then why aren’t we all working at home?
Some jobs have made that change but it’s still far too rare from what I see. I understand coming into the office for meetings and when things get busy but otherwise, I can do the same sitting and staring at home, but at least there I’m more comfortable!
Unfortunately, it’s frowned upon in my office. However, let me tell ya, the days when I do get to work from home are some of the best working days I have. I don’t have to put on pants and I can do other things when work is slow. Naturally, I work hard when required but that’s not always the case. Having the option to work at home when it’s slow is awesome and understanding that sometimes a 40 hour work week doesn’t have to spread into equal 8 hour chunks is key too!
There’s also the jobs that make you stay there 8 hours a day during slow seasons then expect you to work 80 hour weeks during the busy season.
You know what it means when you’re employees are working 80 hour weeks? It means you’re understaffed, hire some more people, you fools! Oh, it costs more and eats into your profit and you’d rather abuse your workers? That’s great!
In all reality, the 8 hour work day isn’t the worst thing ever. Look a few generations back and people were working 10 to 16 hour days. That must have really sucked. We should really stop complaining. Nah, I won’t, that’s what I do best and because things are better doesn’t mean they couldn’t be even better yet! Progress bitches!
The reality is that technology has made jobs and workers more efficient. It’s also made flexibility a lot more attainable in certain industries. We should take advantage of that flexibility!
I’m not sure why so many jobs still force people to come into the office every single day. It’s crazy. Sure, there’s a team dynamic that can be nice but that’s not for everyone and not in every industry. The reality is that working at home is often better, easier and makes for a happier employee. Plus it probably saves the company money anyway as you need less office space.
After all, companies want their employees to be happy right? A happy employee given such benefits as working at home works harder and will likely overlook other shortfalls. Shortfalls like shitty pay!
Reason #5 : The 2% Raise
Ah, the 2% raise. The scourge of review season and managers everywhere. After all, HR only approved a 2% raise across the board, what is poor Mr. Manager to do? Sure, you can give your high performers a 4% raise and your low performers nothing or just peanut butter spread it to everyone to avoid conflict.
There are a few problems with all these approaches and it all comes down to the dynamic of the 2% raise being such a bullshit standard.
First, 2% sucks. It’s not a raise, it’s a cost of living adjustment. It means that if my salary goes up 2% this year, I’m making the same exact amount as I made last year. In fact, in a lot of cases, most people have been making the same exact wage for quite a while. After all, costs go up in line with your wage so if you’re getting a 2% raise every year, you’re essentially never getting a raise, you’re just keeping up with inflation.
Second, while a 2% raise generally does keep up with inflation, the inflation measure may not effectively measure all your expenses and is definitely going to impact some more than others. In some markets, the same buying power as 1980 may be awesome. In others, it may be absolutely terrible.
This is especially clear with college students who have seen the real cost(after inflation) of tuition more than double since the 1980s. That means you pay double the cost for schooling as those in the 1980s to make the same amount of money.
Good luck having the same options as your 1980s counterparts with double the debt! Depending on your housing market, you may have a rougher time finding a house too as costs in certain markets have risen at a faster pace as well. Don’t forget about skyrocketing rent too if home ownership is just a pipe dream for your debt laden ass.
Now you’ve found a job and find that your health insurance sucks so there’s even more costs. But hey after your first year, you get a 2% raise so that’s nice but it looks like the insurance premiums are going up $50 and it’s a shittier plan. Oh, well, you’re in debt and spend most of your day commuting to and from work, who has the time to see a doctor anyway.
So yea, a 2% raise and the same buying power as your 1980s counterpart may not be that great.
Second, 2% sucks because it doesn’t represent the value employers have gotten out of their employees in recent years. From 1948 to 1973, wages grew 91% against a productivity increase of 95.7%. Seems fair to me.
Well from, 1973, productivity increased a further 77%. Can’t wait for my big ass raises. Oh, wait, wages went up 12.4%? What the hell?
That seems a bit unfair? It’s almost as if these companies want to somehow make more money and are doing it at the expense of their employees? Can that be?
Well the S&P 500 did end 1973 at $536.72 in real dollars and ended 2017 just north of $2,700. Thanks productivity. Thanks employees, here’s your 2% “raise”, enjoy the 12% pay bump after 46 years while stocks went up five fold. Hope you bought some stocks cause we’re certainly not paying you more.
On top of that, we’ll give any money that does exist in the raise pool to the REAL stars of our company, management. The problem with the 2% raise is that it’s often given to the people who actually need raises the most. Between 2000 and 2016, the wage growth of the bottom 10th percentile was 2.2%. On the opposite end, the wage growth of the top 95th percentile was 19.8%!
That’s great for those guys who already own stocks and probably get bonuses and options on top of that. It’s not so great for everyone else.
The issue I have with this and the 2% raise is that in my experience, the jobs that pay more, actually require less work. Of course, that’s not the case in all industries. However, in many office jobs, the people who makes the least, do the most work and often, it’s the most tedious work.
I sure as hell worked twice as hard when I was straight out of college making nothing. Now that I’m in lower middle lower management(seriously, how many managers do we need for like 6 people!), I practically do nothing.
I don’t want this to turn a COMPANY BAD, EMPLOYEE PAID UNFAIR rant. I think companies are realizing that pay has to shift and some are doing things about it. Whether it’s because of fairness or something else, I don’t know BUT in order to keep this short, I’ll move on to the main reason the 2% raise is bullshit.
It’s a completely short term approach to team building and employee retention.
There’s so much good talent lost because of this short sighted approach to salary. The fact that there’s an immediate counter offer 99% of the time when it’s a good employee shows that employers are just being dicks, paying people as little as possible and counting on them not doing anything about it. The sad truth is that many employees don’t look elsewhere and companies continue to get away with thinking that the job is god’s gift to employees and a 2% raise is something to be thankful for.
I’ve had so many encounters with people who were befuddled that someone would leave their team. “Isn’t there any loyalty anymore?”
It’s a ridiculous statement because if a company is giving an employee a 2% raise then that employee should be looking for a new job as soon as possible. It’s a slap in the face to any high performing employee and if you are one and have gotten a 2% raise, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Job hopping is the only strategy these days and these 2% raises are the cause. A company’s employees are their greatest asset. You’ve probably heard that on various HR training sessions or management presentation. If only the company showed that with a good raise once in a while then they might retain their best people and not be left with an ever more dissatisfied and lackluster team.
So work sucks but what do we do about it? Save a lot of money and quit! That’s my plan…eventually.
Until then, here’s some tips for companies to make sure that work sucks less.
First, be more flexible with your schedule if the industry allows it. 4 ten hour days can be nice. Working at home can be nice or in a coffee shop or in a park. That way you can avoid traffic and don’t have put on pants unless you want to do that! Just make sure to put them on in case you have a call where a camera is used or it could get awkward.
If you have a busy season, let your employees take off early during slow times. Nothing worse than a stickler manager who power trips and makes sure everyone is working their 8 hours. Also, hire enough people so that the others aren’t working 80 hour weeks especially if they’re not being paid overtime(thanks salaried pay!). Forty hours of work is more than enough.
Second, design offices to be less shitty. People want privacy and they want a space to get away. Open offices suck and cubicles need to be high enough to offer some shielding for people. What if they want to surf the net? You don’t want them to be seen! And so what if they do surf the net half the time. We’re not machines who can work 8 hour days every freaking day. Understand that rested employees will be more productive.
Third and most important, pay people a fair wage. Profits are great and I like them as a stock holder but 2% should be the absolute starting point for a company that’s growing. It’s not a raise so don’t call it one. Sure, your CEO brings a lot of value and you could pay him more instead but that assclown already makes enough. I make double what I made when I started and I probably do like 1/3rd of the work. Sure, there’s more stress or whatever and I have more impact on results but do I really deserve double? On that note, do some CEOs deserve 300x the average pay of their employees? Maybe some do but their employees certainly deserve more too and that needs to be bigger than the 2% increase they are likely to get next year.
Work sucks but it’s part of life so it’s important that we all try to make it better. In the end, the quality of life is better in 2019 for many than at any time in history so how come work still sucks in 2019? Time to fix that guys!