What to do if you hate working in an office (& how I escaped)

What to do if you hate working in an office (& how I escaped)

Many of us hate working in an office often because of the fixed 9-5 timetable and the office politics we have to deal with.. But it goes deeper.

I see office jobs as the new, advanced, factory jobs with all the cubicles lined up like workers at an old Ford factory. Except now we sit with computers instead of hammers…

On the other hand, many of us have come to hate working from home after being forced due to the Coronavirus.

Traditional work from home (WFH) and emergency-pandemic WFH are not quite the same. The latter is especially challenging with distractions like kids and family, and because our home isn’t prepared for us working from home for more than a few days. 

We have no workstation or a quiet room and it feels as if work never stops. The physical movement of the commute also works a mental move that helps many of us switch between work and leisure.. Even if we hate it.

Now, there is no barrier…

Full-time WFH based on our own premise, done the way we want it and when we want it, is different and allows us to plan for it e.g. by budgeting for going to the cafe, say, every morning and working from home in the afternoon. That helps create the environment we prefer the most.

The good news is that freelancing is a great alternative to the 9-5 office job and with hard work, you might even be able to quit your office job faster than you think.

Quick solutions if you hate working in an office

In order to figure out what you want to do instead and how to make it better, you first need to figure out exactly what the problem is.

Is it because you hate working in an office or is it because you hate working with computers? What exactly is it that you hate about working in an office? Is it because you’d rather be out in nature or perhaps you feel more attracted to jobs like being a chef or tour guide?

Unfortunately, for many of us, it is the idea of it that we like and when we try it in real life, we realize that it isn’t as amazing as we first thought.

For example, being a tour guide sounds amazing. We get to experience incredible destinations full of happy people.

… but while everyone else is happy and on holiday, we are the only ones who don’t get to enjoy it because we have to help out those people — that’s what we are paid for.

In my experience, the best thing we can do is to get brutally honest with ourselves about why we hate working in an office and then try out a few different things to see what is really for us before quitting our job.

A few quick wins you might want to test out are to improve the physical environment (e.g. get a different chair or desk), get a plant or perhaps a lamp, and see if that helps.

Another alternative

One of the best things I’ve done for myself over the years has been to learn to freelance. I’ve used my skill set and experience with digital marketing to earn a decent income, not only from the comfort of my own home but from paradise.

I hate working in an office

Contrary to many other people you might see online, I’m not a full-time traveler. I’ve traveled a lot over the years but rather than constantly moving, I’ve found a nice spot in the sun that I now call home.

The weather is almost always good, things like traveling, food, my home, and other living costs are surprisingly affordable.

..and freedom! Let’s not forget the freedom.

One reader described it as:

  • Freedom from going to an office and answering to managers
  • Freedom of having your own routine where I don’t answer to a lot of people
  • Freedom to take a holiday whenever you want to
  • Freedom to work from cafes, in your shorts

I’m one of those weirdos that think freelancing isn’t the best choice as a career, for the rest of our work life, until we are ready to retire. BUT it has two great functions.

It helps us realize that we can do WAY more than we thought we were capable of and it allows us to experience a whole new world with more freedom. In this world, you get to pick which type of freedom (“freedoms”) are for you. 

You get to design your work life in exactly the way you want to but on the other hand, the challenge is that we have more choices to pick between.

Work on the beach or visit your family? 

Take an extended weekend and an impulsive trip to the beach?

Take on an extra project this weekend, so you can buy those new shoes or that new Playstation?

You get to choose.

3 things to consider before starting to freelance

What kind of freedom are you looking for?

Are you looking for freedom from office politics and having to be in a specific location? Or is it something else? 

Being brutally honest with ourselves is key. Otherwise, there is no way for us to be happy. 

There are many ways to do that. I like to ask myself why I don’t want to work in an office and then continue asking why a few times to go deeper. 

For example, why don’t I want to work in an office? Because I don’t like being stuck there for the rest of my life. Why? Because my parents dislike their jobs and I’m afraid I’ll feel the same way. 

If that’s how we feel, we have something to work with and can figure out why they hate it specifically and work to see if we feel the same.

Start on the side to see if freelancing is for you

Quitting everything only to go all in is a super bad idea. Trust me, I’ve made that same mistake a hundred times. 

And no, that isn’t an excuse for you to do the same. The goal of this blog is to help readers like you avoid the mistakes that I made so you can reach some of the cool things in life faster than I did.

What happens when we go all in often is that we do it out of excitement without realizing that it takes a while until we make it work — we have to practice like we would as we learn to ride a bicycle. 

Instead, begin freelancing on the side. 

Once you know it is for you, you can turn it into full-time income, so you can quit your job and travel or whatever else you like more.

Get some clients first to prove to yourself (and your family if you have one) that you can do it.

Save up before making the leap

Once you know it’s for you, save up 6-12 months worth of living cost before taking the leap and quitting your job.

That way you should be able to weather any storm that might come. Just like when the Coronavirus came. Imagine having just quit your job to freelance, with little savings and all clients running away.


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