The office environment is a second home for millions of people worldwide involved in many different industries, yet some have still yet to fully grasp how to survive the office environment. They may view it as a sort of detriment, an unenviable necessity they report to day after day just because it generates the paychecks needed to pay the bills. Others have had noble intentions when they first sat behind their puny desk, only to find that their position stifles their creativity and they realize they would much prefer to be in charge of their own business. Still others simply cannot stand being cooped up inside all day without natural sunlight, or perhaps must labor alongside co-workers they despise.
Every office worker has their own unique story, and every situation warrants a different set of concerns both valid and contrived. Historical fact has shown that high-rise office buildings downtown and other cube-set formations evolved over decades of humankind’s attempts to strive for the most efficient, productive setting. Some might say that sitting between two cubicle partitions is barely a step above standing on the assembly line, but the situation persists. For those yearning for an escape but cannot yet leave, they can at least try to cope with their surroundings as best as possible, and try to figure out how to survive the office environment, perhaps even thrive.
There is an old saying that says something along the lines of, “In a room of ten people you will find eleven differing opinions.” It is even a cliched notion that committees are remarkably inefficient ways of making decisions, that bureaucracy works notoriously slowly to solve any problem, and, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Too many cooks in the kitchen may sound like an old-fashioned quip, but as every office is comprised of multiple human beings all with varying agendas, desires, orders, tasks, training, experience, and other characteristics, the only true constant is unpredictability and change. In order to master the mindset behind how to survive the office environment, an employee will have to develop his or her skills in improvisation and adaptability, because changes both big and small will always be a part of the workplace culture. Those who actually do strengthen their flexibility muscles may not only find the office easier to handle, but also may be viewed in an increasingly favorable light by supervisors.
For countless longtime business warriors, the job is of foremost priority. Sometimes there is an enhanced predilection towards this view that comes with the position; for example, a doctor has to be rather invested in both passion and education for their calling to make any sense, and rarely does someone choose to be a police officer without acknowledging that their duty will become a large part of their life. There is a danger, though, in becoming a human being that is defined by their professional life, rather than their personal life. The stories persist of the man who scorned all around him in order to profit as much as possible, only to end up rich but unhappy; or the upwardly mobile businesswoman who, in an attempt to get ahead, sacrificed her ethical ideals in order to exchange inappropriate favors for an advancement or raise. In order to know how to survive the office environment, one has to form a healthy separation between work life and home life, and hopefully through balance in moderation find happiness in both. If the job becomes everything, then emotional health tends to erode as a result. Those who find little else to cling to may only need to find the right hobby to suddenly be reinvigorated in all aspects of their livelihood.
Ultimately, even if someone is unhappy with their stake in the corporate culture, they must have a reason to stay or they would quit and go elsewhere. Such situations are rarely so simple though, in a world with shifting economical strengths, limited job prospects, and a seemingly ever-increasing emphasis on the need for personal income. As trite as it may sound, the best and only situation for some workers is to acknowledge that as long as they are stuck in their lot, even if undesired, they might as well make the best of it. Working hard and intelligently, while seeking to find every little way to incorporate original ideas, and forming the healthiest peer relationships possible, can all contribute to finding value in work; or, for those who have been suffering from burnout, a renewed approach to being on the clock. Those seeking for solutions on how to survive the office environment may have missed the point all along; sometimes, the problem is a pessimistic or negative viewpoint, and this would result in restless discontentment no matter where the person was placed. Finite human existence is already inherently about making the best of what little everyone has, and one’s job is no exception as part of that.
For the worst-case scenarios, career counselors, life coaches, and even clinical psychiatrists almost make entire careers out of helping people deal with their careers. For most, however, a refreshing change of pace, perspective, or priority is all that is needed to be a step closer to knowing exactly how to survive the office environment.