Special treat today, readers! Taylor Landis of Skutchi Designs has the mic. Get this: Skutchi is a designer of office cubicles. Zoinks! Talk about letting the fox into the hen-house… Don’t worry, we’re not trying to sell you guys new cubes or anything (this is NOT a sponsored post!) But I figured it’d be a royal hoot to hear from a cubicle marketing rep who has a different take on Millennial Job Survival. Taylor, take it away!
Retirement. That’s something you think about when you’re in your forties, you’ve worked behind a desk your entire life, you’ve worked hard over the years through late nights and early mornings and now it’s all paying off. You imagine yourself in a sports car driving up the coast of California, far away from your dreary commute and other cars going far too slow.
But, believe it or not, that high-class, luxurious lifestyle doesn’t just land in your lap on your 62nd birthday. This is a lifestyle that requires planning. And that’s not even the most challenging part. The true horror story is the simple fact that you have to spend forty years hidden away in an office cubicle.
Unless, of course, you’re overly ambitious, you dream big, and you’re well-connected. Oh, and I’m sure a bit of luck comes into play as well. I strive to be one of those people.
But, for the time being, I’m just a regular cubicle chimp. I sit quietly in my little space, staring at my screen, typing away for hours as the words flow from my fingertips like a cascade of Millennial Fury (is there a blog name taken for that one?)
I’m a writer. Compare my quiet, private space to the alternative; a loud, distracting, crowded open-plan office, I easily prefer my tranquil, undisturbed cubicles.
I’m able to focus on the thoughts in my head and transform them into sentences, paragraphs, and complete a piece without distractions from inconsiderate belching, stealth-farting, and YouTubing colleagues around me. (Love you guys if you’re reading this? Brownies???)
The ideal would be a corner office with stupendous sliding glass doors and vast windows ushering in natural sunlight. However, yeah, that’s not my current situation. Still, I’m making the most of what I’ve got. That’s how I will make it through the next forty years of this hamster wheel, right?
Cubicle Survival Requires Day Dreams
I want nothing more than to be driving with the top down and enjoying the salty air, watching the clear blue ocean from the porch of my Malibu beach house every morning. It never hurts to dream. And then that f@cking alarm clock goes off…
You snap back to reality and the article in front of you. You know, the one that has a measly paragraph written? The little devil that doesn’t care about your headache from those godawful fluorescent office lights?
As you’ve discovered by now, I don’t want to spend my entire life in an office. I’m 22 years old. The thought of spending the next forty years sitting behind a desk terrifies me. I want to travel, explore, and go on adventures just as badly as the next millennial blogger.
The thought of missing out on some foreign adventure because I don’t have any more vacation days is petrifying. So, how do I plan on making it through the next forty years, without ripping my hair out?
Let’s put the hair down for a minute. We can all agree that it’s difficult to be productive and work efficiently if you’ve got little to work towards. Neglecting to set goals? Then what’s the point of torturing yourself at work day after day?
Contrary to what you’ve probably been taught, there is no right or wrong way to set goals. I’ve heard and read enough of “be specific,” “give yourself a time frame,” “keep yourself focused and on topic,” “make your goals quantitative,” blah, blah, blah.
One of my goals is to live in (or near) a beach town. A second is to travel. Another is simply to be “successful.” All of those, especially that last one, stray far and wide from the so-called “guidelines.” It doesn’t matter. They’re MY goals. Non-quantifiable, non-specific as they are.
If I can define what “successful” means to me, then who cares whether anyone else understands it??
The purpose of setting goals is to give you a reason to keep working hard and hauling yourself through another day at the office without giving up. Buck up, right?!? Goals make your work worthwhile. For myself, that’s enough reason to push forward. (That, and my boss doesn’t know about my secret blogging empire and day-long tweeting behind THIS cubicle wall! Muhahahaha…)
Strive for Improvement and Do Work You Enjoy
Seeing is believing. Recognition of high-quality work each day motivates supremely well. I love praise. I feed off of it. When I’m praised for doing a good job, I strive to repeat, time and time again.
I’ve witnessed my improvement and how it relates to my financial well-being and self-esteem. I show up to work every morning ready to write (on my Skutchi blog too – don’t judge), working towards short-term goals and longer terms ones, like promotions, of course!
If you enjoy your job, the next forty years won’t be such a drag. To be clear, I didn’t just say it wouldn’t be a drag it all, just not “such a drag.”
Don’t be miserable for the rest of your life. Few of us sane chimps want to work in a confined cubicle. Not when you could be spending time with family, or lying on a beach somewhere. There’s that beach again… Whadificould design a cubicle set in sand, with seagulls perched on the cube wall. Sans poop. That’s nice…
Remember Your Purpose
Understand and remember why you do what you do. Ideally, you’ve landed a career in a field you enjoy. And ideally, the work gets your butt out of that cube more than 50% of the time!
Your purpose is undeniably influential because this is what makes you feel important and worthy and goes hand in hand with the goals you’ve set. Is your purpose aligned with your company’s stated mission? Maybe it’s simply an ongoing series of improvements through all aspects of your life?
Is it to reach a goal of owning your own company one day? Early retirement? Whatever your purpose may be, it’s the most important secret to surviving the next forty or so years behind a desk.
I might not be part of the movement of millennials who dream of retiring in their thirties. I want to live a luxurious lifestyle. Even if that means I might have to work longer and possibly harder than others in my generation.
But I’m okay with that. And whether you plan on retiring at 35 or 65, some extra motivation and determination to get you through those draining cubicle years will, I’m sure, be appreciated. These are my little suggestions only. But hey, if they inspire you to figure out your purpose, maybe, just maybe you can survive your working years.
Survival not simply in terms of getting by, but survival filled with happiness and dreams of a comfortable (and early?) retirement. Whenever the moment is right for you.
Writer by day and equestrian by night, Taylor Landis leads the content marketing division for Skutchi Designs, the innovators in cubicle solutions. By day she writes on everything from interior design, architecture, blogging tips, and small business trends. By night she teaches horse-riding lessons to her fellow equestrian team members and competes regularly in national horse-riding competitions. You can check out all her latest posts at www.skuchi.com/blog.html
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