14 May 2014

50 Ways to Get Inspired at Work

Or How to Get Inspired at Work Without Constantly Vomiting

I swear if I have to read one more listicle about how to get inspired at work I'm gonna throw up.  Most jobs are not anything to get inspired for.  If you work at the bank or the sporting goods store well it's nice if you can at least smile for the customers and not give off the 'This job is a death sentence now how can I help you?' vibe … but inspired?  Maybe if you're some kind of social worker or speech therapist making miracles like Jesus then okay, but if you work in the purchasing department of a large snack food conglomerate, say, and you're walking around with this glazed smile because you're inspired by your work (after all you’re fighting the good fight, keepin’ families fedTM), frankly I think you should be a little concerned.

Let's look at some ways commonly employed to get inspired at work.

Drink coffee.  Coffee gets you so amped up you just wanna do stuff and it actually feels pretty good to be surfing forward through a sea of work.  Coffee is the number one way Americans inspire themselves every morning, it dominates the market for safe crazy socially acceptable buzzes both at work and during off hours.  Alcohol, while it can provide inspiration in certain contexts, is not generally compatible with quality workmanship.  Other drugs may of course be of use to the uninspired employee, depending on the user’s occupation, personal biochemistry, and so forth, but these are never to be discussed openly in polite society.

Actually do your job well.  Exceed expectations, go above and beyond the call.  As long as you’re amped up on caffeine you gotta do something, and actually doing your job in a professional manner can provide a modicum of self-satisfaction as well as, depending on your situation, earning extra cash to pay for interesting getaways that make the thing seem worth it.  For a while anyway.  Sadly however, for most this provides only a short-term solution, as soon enough comes the realization that they are pouring heart and soul into this and for what, for what I ask, someone else is making most of the money here, for a few measly crumbs I’m selling my life?

Live for the weekends.  Expend enough energy to keep your superiors and colleagues content but not much more.  Work quickly in the afternoons and then race out the door at quitting time to get on with something more interesting, something that makes you feel alive.

"Personalize your workspace."  No list of office coping mechanisms would be complete without a shout out to slapping up some photos of the kids, your heroes, exotic getaways, etc.  Do they let prisoners hang posters in their cells?  They should.  It does help.  

Escapist fantasies.  Dream of your next vacation.  Count the days until retirement.  What would you do if you won the lottery and suddenly had $40 million, or $22,500 monthly for the rest of your life?  Make a detailed plan for how you’d spend it.  Check bungalow rentals in Montenegro.  What if it were only, say, sixty thousand, maybe you won it on a game show … what would you do with 60K?  Make a spreadsheet, that way it looks like you’re busy working.

Get some plants, and/or a fish bowl.  Something, anything that is alive, dammit.

Plot your next move.  What are some other jobs you could do that might be better than your current gig, i.e. jobs that pay more and/or feel better?  How do people get those?  Is it worth trying to get energized to make the switch, or would the new job probably suck just as much once you got settled in and had time to get sick of it?  Always a tough call, but one that must be made every single day of your precious little life.

Go nuts.  If it looks like you’re stuck there for a while, for whatever reason, there are many psychological games you can instigate to liven up your workday experience, for example lying and rumor-mongering, stalking, even voodoo doll type stuff.  Spite, practical jokes, petty machinations, messin’ with people’s minds, all can help pass the elongated hours between when you drag yourself in and when you fly the hell out of there.

Surf the internet.  Look for lists of ways to get inspired.  Do some of the things they say to do, maybe something will work but if you fail to feel inspired you can create long ranting word documents expressing your feelings on the matter.  Again you’ll look busy, plus it makes you feel better.  Speaking of which…

Work on your blog.  If conditions permit, you should spend one to two hours of every work day hard at work on your blog.  It’s a harmless outlet if nothing else.  If your company monitors your computer use, it’s hard to beat blogging on a nice yellow legal pad.  If they take that away you can stay in the bathroom extra long and record your musings on a tablet device or paper towels.

And that is about enough about that.