How to make work a bit less excruciating /EN/
I've realized I've been quite radical in re-evaluating my attitude towards work. Well, I kind of had to. It is work that has the greatest impact on me as a person both mentally and physically. It is work that can make me laugh one day and fall into a massive depression the next day.
Whether you cringe, shrug or smile when you think of work, it sure shouldn't be just an activity that provides money for bread (they say). The word work has many connotations, among which there is also the negative one. For some people it can even bear a pejorative meaning - like, work? Why? While for other people (yes, I've heard there are people like that) it can be fun. For most people, however, it is work where they have to deal with many nuisances besides the nature of the job itself, be it the annoying talker sitting next to you, the boss who is simply an asshole, or pointless tasks and impossible deadlines.
Being at work takes up the most of the day and preoccupies most of your thinking so how could we turn it into something positive? Well, they say you should do something you love, not for other people, not for the money, but for the passion from doing the job itself. I don't think it is that simple. Have you noticed how your hobby might turn into a chore once you start doing it for a living? It is the pressure you feel when going to work or when meeting deadlines that can make you eventually dislike it.
There are many other factors playing an important role. I ended up waking up with a tremendous aversion to my job. Not because I hated the job itself but simply because someone who is only formally qualified holds significant power over me and tells me what to do. After years of working being a subordinate to people who lack any managing skills my job has taken its toll. I've become depressed and burnt-out. There were times I wondered if I was born for work since I felt so empty after having opened my eyes every morning. Apparently, with my reluctance to go to work I must have been a member of aristocracy in one of my past lives, I also wondered (lol).
Regardless of aspects that obviously can't be influenced, is there anything within one's power that can help turn the chore into an enjoyable activity? Quite surprisingly the key isn't hidden in the deepest lake behind the highest mountain. My childhood behavioral pattern can in a sense be analogous to my present situation. I remember actually enjoying going to school (which I believe can be compared to going to work) despite all the 'atrocities' brought about by the inherent nature of institutionalized education. What is that specific thing that allowed me to perceive school as a fun institution nonetheless? One of the things besides friends, handsome guys or the actual desire to learn new things that made me excited about going to school was organizing my pencil case, notebooks and all the necessary school supplies. I might now seem to have been a geeky student (no, I wasn't) but I've realized I've been using the same strategy in my adult life as an employee.
I started to attach a lot of importance to my home office. I've set up a nice working corner and decided to surround myself with pretty stuff. It may appear rather superficial or even pointless, but if you think about it, it makes sense (kind of). If it is the environment that shapes you, stimulates you or holds you back, why not give it a try?
Being a person who doesn't have the money to throw down the drain, I naturally turned to Ikea for the main piece of furniture - the desk. My ambivalence towards the design and practicality made the whole process a tiny bit slower since I wanted a desk which would tell you: Ok, I enjoy minimalism up to a degree (until I clutter the place up with magazines, books and stationery) but I am also a queen of functionality (as I hate the sight of cords and cables).
The vintage portable typewriter was a perfect find for next to nothing in a mint condition. This one was made in Germany probably around 1935 by a company called Wanderer.
Being a kid who spent more time daydreaming than living in the real world, I fantasized about becoming a best-selling author. I've fulfilled my childhood dream and my hunt for a perfect vintage typewriter turned out successful. I had actually got one for my twelfth birthday. It was far from pretty but it worked. It drove my parents nuts from the incessant typewriter click-clacking but made me feel as an aspiring writer with a bright future. I can't help the nostalgia whenever I look at it.
I wanted, no, I needed to add some extra storage so I went for a simple wall shelf designed by Hay studio for Ikea. It can hold a few magazines, thin books, cards or even a lamp (in this case Bollard lamp designed by ShaneSchneck for Menu, bought at Designville.cz).
Other essentials I literally cannot live without even though they aren't necessary in my or any other person's lives at all, but they're pretty, you know, is the Le sac en papier (paper bag) by Be-Poles and two bamboo traysby House Doctor both bought at Laladesign.cz
For the grid notice board I decided to typewrite (because I have the typewriter and have to make it useful) a few cards with quotes (how cheesy, right?) by famous architects and designers, such as Harry Bertoia, Arne Jacobsen, Charles Eames, Marcel Breuer, Alvar Aalto or Eileen Gray.
"A house is not a machine to live in. It is a shell of a man, his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation."
- Eileen Gray -
What I frequently do to fight the routine is change the chairs for the desk. I only have three options - a black Vitra Eames DSR chair with a black "Eiffel" base (Design Propaganda), a J110 grey chair designed by Poul M. Volther in the 50s-60s now manufactured by Hay (Stockist.cz), and finally another vintage find (thank you, Letgo) in the form of a Mart Stam cantilever S34 chairdesigned in 1925 and made around 1950s in Italy.
Whether you are a workaholic or an idler (a way too strong word), it is important to have a place which might actually make you want to work at least for the tiniest second. While chaos works for some people, it is neatness, organization and certain order that allows me to feel good even when in the process of working. Lots of people ask me if my place is always this neat and I always have to answer that it is. I am not doing it to make anyone feel bad about themselves nor do I insist other people should live like that; it simply makes me concentrate and be creative. If my place is messy, my mind tends to focus on clearing and organizing rather than on the work itself. If this sounds familiar, could you please leave a contact? There's something that tells me we could become best friends.