Human beings, almost as a rule, secretly enjoy complaining about their jobs. Though voluntary and oftentimes rewarding, working falls under that unfortunate subset of obligations that, while necessary, rarely ceases to make us miserable. And that, I think, is exactly why we do it.
For the average person working for the average company in the average office building, there are eight hours a day where the prime directive is to earn a living. That’s forty hours for week roughly fifty weeks a year doing work that may not actually signify much beyond the eventual paycheck.
But it just that reality that makes work so beneficial. In an era where personal choice and freedom are cherished above most else, having stretches of time where our choices are made for us is, in its own way, immensely therapeutic. Our dull 9-5 widget-making and spreadsheet-filing, then, is actually a vacation from the pressures of What To Do Next. We are liberated by our cubicle prisons.
That should comfort you, and if not lift your spirits at work, at least make your non-work time that much more compelling and enjoyable. Consider your free time a canvas, and how your spend it the brush and paints you’ll use to adorn it. Van Gogh would be proud.