As you know, I’m a receptionist at a commercial talent agency in LA. I’m one of the lucky ones that has a pretty flexible job. I just answer the phones. I don’t have to file things or do any “real” work really. I get to meet some interesting people like Malcolm Jamal Warner and John Stamos (I died…LOL). I’m able to use the internet freely, which lets me work on my blog all day at work.
So why do I want to smash my head against the walls sometimes?
I don’t think it really has anything to do with the actual work I do. Answering the phones is easy. What’s not easy is sitting in a windowless lobby for 8 hours a day. What’s not easy is knowing I’m leaving in 8 months but wishing I could leave now. Dealing with crazy people calling about chupacabras (true story) and selling themselves to you on the phone isn’t easy. Some days I go home way more exhausted than I should be. I feel trapped. I’m psychically trapped because I can’t leave my desk, and I’m mentally trapped because this job isn’t what I want to be doing with my life. Some days I get such intense anxiety I have to leave the office for a few minutes and breathe. Sure, I’m basically getting paid to work on my blog, and my job is a lot easier than most people working in an office, but I really do feel like I’m losing brain cells sometimes.
Besides working on my blog, there are a few other practices I’ve managed to come up with to keep me sane at work:
1. Stretch, Walk, Jump, Move around
We all know the effects of sitting anywhere for 8 hours in a day. Every hour, I get up and move. I’ll walk around my desk, stretch my back and legs, do some jumping jacks, basically anything to get the body moving. I come back to my desk refreshed and my mind is clear.
2. Do not eat lunch in the office
I only get one hour of free time in my day, so you better believe that I’m not spending it eating in the office. Even if I bring my lunch, I’ll go outside and eat it. On my lunch break, I usually take another brisk 10 minute walk or I’ll just find a sunny place to sit. Sitting in the sun does wonders for my energy.
3. Don’t take it personal
When an actor or casting director calls and is rude to me on the phone, I used to get upset about it and complain. I’ve slowly learned to not take their crappy attitudes personally and just let it roll off of my shoulders. It’s not my fault, and I’ve done nothing to them. I make an active decision to not let if effect me, and in turn I don’t want to throw the phone across the room.
4. Listen to Pandora/iPod
I know this might not be possible for everyone, but thankfully my job allows me to play my own music on my computer (as long as it’s work appropriate of course). Music is one of my favorite ways to de-stress, so I always make sure my iPod is updating with all the latest music!
5. Call out sometimes
I know this is controversial, but it’s okay to call out “sick” sometimes. Not often of course, but sometimes you just need a day off where you can finally finish the laundry, read a book, take your dog to the dog park, walk around the mall, whatever you want to do. It’s okay to need a breather now and then.
I’m counting down the months until I leave, and in the meantime I’m using the above tips to keep myself from pulling my hair out and screaming. Do you have any tips for surviving the office?