Home > Life > Things I Learned from Work Part 1: Work and Fatigue

Things I Learned from Work Part 1: Work and Fatigue

I’ll be releasing this in multiple parts, because there are many main points that I want to get across.

When you’re working a full-time job, you usually sit at a desk for stretches of 5 hours or more.  This is more tiring than it sounds.

Now, I’m not saying that school isn’t stressful and tiring – it’s probably the most stressful thing I’ve dealt with up until that point in life – but the idea that work is worse is something I never believed until I started working myself.

The problem

It’s not just the longer hours, which are debatable. At school, you are usually allowed to work at your own pace.  No one cares if you slack off or sleep in class, because it is your responsibility to make up for any such slacking later on.  As a result, you can generally pace yourself however you want, as long as you don’t let yourself fall too far behind.

This freedom does not carry over to a work environment.  Not only are other people often counting on you to finish your work by a certain time or date, but the sheer principle of staying at a work environment is different.

At school, you’re paying money just to be there, so slacking off is just screwing yourself.  At work, you’re being paid to be there, so there is the sense that you are screwing your employer if you are not working at all times.  This leads to a guilty feeling that subtly pressures you into feeling like you should be working all the time, and it is this pressure that is truly tiring to deal with in the long run.

How to deal with it

In my opinion, the thought process that brings about this pressure is unreasonable. People are not machines. We need to take breaks, and we can’t stay focused and grind out work nonstop hour after hour, day after day, and year after year. We just can’t sustain a work pattern like that. The fact that we are being paid to work does not change that.

This pressure is felt by every employee, and everyone eventually copes with it in more or less the same way; they relax. People will let themselves be distracted by various things. They will stop working and take breaks when they feel the need to. They will check non-work related websites. They will strike up conversations with co-workers. It’s okay if you do the same, as long as it’s not excessive.

There is a mutual understanding among the working class that work is tiring. One of the most common pieces of small talk that people will bring up – even among total strangers – is simple encouragement that the weekend is coming soon. Everyone (except hardasses and/or your boss) understands that we’re all just trying to make a living and that we have interests outside of work, so no one is surprised or offended if they see non-work related browser tabs open on their coworkers’ computers.

When you’re at work, you are obviously expected to get your work done, but it’s okay to stop and take breaks now and then. Don’t try to work every minute you’re at work. You need to pace yourself, or else you won’t last for very long.

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Categories: Life
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