Pros and Cons of a 9-to-5 Lifestyle
The 9-to-5 lifestyle hasn’t had the best PR as of late. The phrase “nine to five” is an idiom for a boring, unfulfilling, and soul-sucking job. Comedies like The Office and Office Space have mined corporate doldrums for laughs, and survey after survey show Millennials are abandoning such set ups in favor of controlling their work destiny.
But is the 9-to-5 life really that bad? That depends on you. For some people, it’s an oppressive slog that makes getting out of bed feel like a round of circuit training. For others, the 9-to-5 provides a comfortable, sturdy foundation to build a career on.
Trying to figure out if you should go traditional or strike out on your own? Here are the pros and cons of the 9-to-5 lifestyle to help you decide.
Routine security or monotony?
If you’re looking for career security, you could do worse than a 9-to-5. You show up, work on your assigned tasks, and get paid a wage. The work is consistent, the pay guaranteed. A good routine also allows you to practice your craft every day, giving you the time to perfect the skills employers find valuable.
But that’s a huge con if you crave novelty. Working for yourself, you can switch up your routine as you see fit. Does an aspect of the job not appeal to you? Change it. Want to work remote without having to ask? Fine. Work at home today, a coffee shop tomorrow, and the local park when its sunny. Outside of the 9-to-5, there’s no one to tell you “it’s just part of the job.”
Structure or lack of options?
With a 9-to-5, you know exactly where you’ll be every Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The office. This schedule is great for people who need consistency to feel comfortable and to stave off procrastination.
It also makes planning easy, as you have evenings and weekends off. Those without such a regimented schedule have to be diligent to prevent work hours from intruding on socializing and family time. Even then, it’s no guarantee.
But the 9-to-5 is less than ideal if your lifestyle requires flexibility. Rearranging your schedule without requesting permission can be extremely helpful when the unexpected happens. Shifting the work day to suit your needs is also great for the extreme night owl or morning lark.
Oh, and not being stuck in traffic with all the other 9-to-5ers is simply the best. Simply. The. Best.
Community comforts or a lack of individuality?
Good companies foster a sense of culture. Coworkers socialize, cut loose at office events, and participate in team-building exercise. These social bonds ensure team members have each other’s backs, helping the group to succeed as a whole. If you enjoy working with people, those nine hours fly by.
But hell is often other people in an open-office environment. Focus can be difficult to muster when everyone is trying to start a friendly chat. The 9-to-5 community can also make it difficult to put your individual stamp on any given project. For some people, these kinds of social environments stifle their sense of ownership in their work.
Carrots or sticks?
Good 9-to-5 jobs motivate employees to do their best work. Quality work is incentivized with raises, bonuses, promotions, and equity in the company. Goals are clearly defined, as are the consequences of not meeting those goals. Do well, and you’ll reap a bounty of carrots while fending off the sticks.
But what if you’re not into carrots? Too bad. The company sets the goals, the benefits offered, and the consequences for not meeting objectives. You may have a little wiggle room within those larger goals, but the path has been laid out for you. Do you want to define your own success? Then the 9-to5 lifestyle won’t be for you for long.
Is the 9-to-5 lifestyle right for you?
As you can see, the difference between a pro and con isn’t a hard line between right or wrong. It’s all a matter of perspective.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys security, a sense of community, and structured routine, the 9-to-5 job is a good fit. But if you crave novelty, want to be your own boss, and have the personality to push yourself, you may find more enjoyment working outside the office grind.
Be honest with yourself about what truly motivates you and what you want out of life. Do that, and you can find contentment with your answer to the 9-to-5 dilemma.