5 Lessons I’ve Learnt From Working The 9-5


The laughs, the frustrations, the moaning, the cakes, the early mornings and the dress down Fridays are just some of the rituals shared with work colleagues. The people you spend the majority of your lives with moaning about the weather and your colleague with the big ego.

Amongst this are departments of people, some of those you will work closely with and some who you will only see in the toilets or walking round the building. The routine of your work life will sometimes feel like it’s suffocating you but there will be a few important lessons that you’ll never forget.

So without rambling on anymore, here’s 5 lessons I’ve learnt from working the 9-5:

It’s quicker to just do it yourself

No one will prioritise your work in front of their own unless they are a saintly being and don’t have work coming out of their ears. Even if you stick the dreaded high priority exclamation mark on an email to someone (and we all hate those emails) chances are you won’t get the speedy reply you were hoping for.

If you want something done that is too complex to explain over email, you may as well just do it yourself to save the grief of chasing your colleagues and having it come back wrong.

If you really need to delegate a task to someone, tell them to their face or over the phone. An email is more likely to go un-read and look less important. Maybe bribe them with biscuits too. That helps.

You can’t please everyone

This is something I just can’t seem to accept – chronic people pleaser right here. This may not even just apply to the work you’re doing but being part of a social group at work.

If you do have lots going on and people just keep piling work on you, you just have to learn to say no. That person won’t think any less of you, they will learn to take their work elsewhere. Even if you do take on the work and do it to the best of your ability and they come back to you with a billion tracked changes – just smile and try not to cry as it takes you all afternoon to change and accept all of the comments they’ve made to the document. Then promptly go and make yourself a strong tea followed by a gigantic piece of cake.

The same goes for pleasing work colleagues in a social situation. Not everyone is going to like you and there will be colleagues that drive you up the wall too. Pick your people wisely and don’t join in with the drama. (Although the odd juicy snippet of gossip is welcomed on a particularly slow day!)

Don’t always question your work

You know that piece of work you get asked to do by your boss that you think is a complete waste of time? Yeah, don’t question it, just do it mindlessly and move on. Sometimes you won’t see the value in the tasks you’re asked to do and that can be disheartening but there is no point in questioning it- it won’t go down well.

I recommend imagining throwing your laptop out the window in a fit of rage and then running screaming round the room (it will make you chuckle to yourself anyway but please don’t actually do it – you will most definitely get the sack unless your colleagues decide to join you then they can’t sack you all can they?)

Also, if systems at work to raise invoices, log your holiday etc. just don’t make sense (which none of them ever do!) moan about it for as long as you need, use it whilst swearing internally and then move on with a sigh of relief. It works a treat.

Everyone makes mistakes

I beat myself up every time I make a mistake and convince myself that I’m the only one in the history of the world to have ever been so stupid. (Obviously, I know I’m not but damn it, how did I manage to get myself into this mess?)

Mistakes are part of the learning process and even if you don’t learn from them the first time, you will eventually. They’re ‘character building’ as some pretentious training course leader will have once told you. Character destroying more like.

Although you might feel insanely guilty for making a mistake at work, just apologise and move on. You didn’t mean for something to go wrong (unless you just wanted to be a royal pain in the ass and rebel for a bit – in that case you must re evaluate your life).

Your colleagues will make mistakes too which can be annoying but cut them some slack, you probably made that mistake once too.

You won’t enjoy all aspects

You might go through phases of hating your job and just want to pack it all in and move to Australia. That’s okay, we’ve all been there. Some of us actually get to move to Australia (jealous) and some of us suck it up and get on with it because, well money and bills and don’t want to be homeless.

Working the 9-5 might feel like it’s slowly draining away your motivation and creativity but don’t sweat it. Work hard and it will pay off. Eventually you’ll be noticed for your superstar talents. Who knows, you might even be CEO…

The best thing to do is have a moan about how much you hate it to your boyfriend, family, colleagues or basically anyone who will listen, sleep on it and in the morning it won’t seem so bad.

What have you learnt from your place of work? I’d love to know.

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