How to Survive 9 to 5

Birthday Weekend! Party Time!!! One problem – having your closest friends as accountants sucks. June is time for their School Of Accountancy (SOA) in Toronto. Doesn’t that sound like a total blast? A solid summer month of quizzes, cases, tests and just eating, sleeping and breathing accounting. My best friend Hiba put it best:

“The light at the end of the tunnel is temporarily out of service. Please check back later.”

Though I’m not in accounting, I’m really feeling the same slump. I started working at 16 in a family restaurant. I’d work 13 hour shifts no problem because I was constantly moving. I started “grown-up” work at 18 as a teller in a bank. Wow. Sucked. I could barely make it 2 hours in without being completely exhausted.

You never think an office job is exhausting because you really don’t do anything but sit on your behind all day. Motionless. Trust me; I’d almost rather go back to cleaning up after screaming babies at the restaurant…almost.

Having been working for 8 years, I’ve picked up a little bit of wisdom from co-workers and friends on how to survive a 9 to 5 job because you really can’t impress your boss when you’re so tired you look hung over.

1. Get off your behind and MOVE!!! Studies came out this week showing that after 7 hours of sitting your body will lower your metabolism, raise your blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase your risk of osteoporosis1. I know you’re WAY under the age of 50, but this study was actually done by a children‘s hospital. Easy things to do are to go for walks at lunch, run up and down some office stairs, or do some simple stretches like these. A good friend of mine used to do push-ups under her desk. You don’t need to look like an idiot like that (Hi Jenna!), but doctors say just simple standing for a few minutes does the trick.

2. Take your lunch break guilt-free. When I first started at this job, I ate at my desk trying to get my work done to look like a huge keener. My dad worked down the street and he was retiring very soon so I started taking my lunch with him. WOW. Total difference in my work and morale. Before, found my days would drag on and I just wanted to get out. Afternoons were slow and unproductive because I would stare at my clock. Just doing 30 minutes to 1 hour with my dad completely changed even my quality of work. On top of that we got to do some good ole bonding. Even though he’s gone now, I still go for my walks (refer back to #1) and come back in a much better mood and work the afternoon away. You’re given a time slot for a reason; now go take the full thing!

3. Make a friend/Work Spouse. Once my dad retired I was all alone again. Single tear L. I would get frustrated with work and just bottle it up – not good for morale or work. An old friend of mine actually transferred to my dad’s work so now I do lunch with him. I think I would’ve lost my sanity long ago without him. When you have a work friend you can laugh your lunches away, complain and gossip about work and somebody to buy you lunch (Thanks, Jay!). There is a new term out there called a work spouse. In short, it’s a platonic couple who do all their boring meetings and lunches together and the relationship gets to the point that you’re like an old married couple. Having a friend at work, or near work in my case, makes your day that much brighter because they can make you laugh and understand what you’re talking about when your boss is getting you frustrated. Also, I really don’t think your significant other understands nor wants to hear you regale them with tales of finance.

4. Go to bed early: I realize I sound like your mom, but really, GO TO BED! You have to do a reality check. You have a 9 to 5 job. You really can’t be pulling “all-nighter” style of sleeping hours. I wake up at 6:30 to bus to work every day. I really don’t think I should be doing my usual 2:30 am antics. I set myself a 10:30 bedtime (Yes, I just turned 23, not 83) though I usually make it for 11:30. You can’t do a good job at work with 4 hours of sleep 5 days in a row. So just go to bed already! An additional tip to this: wake up with your alarm! Setting it for 7 and waking up for 8 is a huge waste of your time and sleep. Tons of research shows how detrimental that is for your sleeping patterns. If its set for 7, wake up at 7!

5. Coffee: Seriously. Just coffee. Easy as that. Studies show a few cups a day curbs memory loss, increases metabolism, lowers your risk of diabetes, contains antioxidants, and decreases the risk of gout for men 4. So next time somebody tries to nag you, just show them thisstudy.

Try and use some of this advice in your summer jobs and make them habits for the future. You’ve probably been on the job for over a month now: any tips from your own personal experience? I could really use them myself.

Next weekend I’ll be too busy celebrating to learn any life lessons so let’s talk about the “boss from hell”. I know you’ve all had at least one, so let’s hear all about them!

2 Responses to “How to Survive 9 to 5”

  1. Amanda

    Great post!

    Getting in the 9-5 groove was probably the hardest thing I had to adjust to once I started working after university! And I’ll admit that even after a year in the ‘real world’, I still get groggy in the afternoon and will probably NEVER become a morning person. Coffee is truly my saving grace!

  2. Rebecca

    Andrea, a nice earl gray also does the trick! And a 10:30pm bedtime is definitely normal; i’m even guilty of hitting the hay around 10 sometimes.


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