The Joy of Simple Work

I’m just settling in after a couple of long and wonderful weeks of visiting with friends and family who were in town. It’s so nice to have a taste of home out here on the west coast, but there’s something to be said about getting back into my (still new) routine and actually getting some major work done.

Working from home

Work has been one of the reasons I’ve been in such a funk lately. I do data entry and content quality editing from home, and there is no denying that my work is simple. Sometimes the solitude and low-level of brain power involved in working from home gets to me and I start searching for something better.

But then I realize I’ve got it made, at least for now. There should be no shame in doing simple work, as long as it lets you do what you really love.

As a woman who left a tech/marketing agency last year, I feel like I should be launching myself into other office jobs, leaning in, breaking into the tech scene and climbing that corporate ladder. I should be carrying a bat with me so I can break the hell out of that glass ceiling. Right?

Thoughts on the Corporate Ladder

If you are a professional woman (or man!) who’s kicking butt and taking names when it comes to the corporate ladder, I applaud you. But in the past year I’ve started to wonder if that’s what I really want for my own life. And I know others are thinking it too.

I liked my job, some days I even loved it, but I always knew that I still wasn’t in the right spot. I’d come home drained and I was only interested in watching Netflix until bedtime. I felt no spark.

I was wasting my energy and brainpower on something that didn’t return value to me.

So, I quit and I started doing the “piecework” that I do now. Guess what? My creative energy started coming back. The circles under my eyes disappeared.

Climbing the ladder towards those executive positions is a wonderful aspiration, but it is not and should not be the goal for everyone. Sometimes, it’s more productive to direct your energy towards a passion project and work mindless jobs to pay the bills. Don’t be afraid to take a “lesser” job – we are not defined by how we make money, but by how we choose to use our energy.

The zen of simple work

I couldn’t resist using the word “zen” because there are some days I fall into a productive, calm rhythm. My brain isn’t working too hard, but is still functioning at the right level, and I can work for hours straight. These days are rare, but beautiful.

Simple work helps me connect to simple pleasures. If I need to get up and pet the rabbit sitting by my feet, I can. If I need to get out of the apartment, I can.

Work from home desk

This is my experience working from home, but there’s something to be said for all the different “simple” jobs – one of my favorite jobs was as a minimum-wage barista. I loved serving people at such an important part of their day. If you’re tired of a mindless job, see if you can reallocate some of that negative energy to something more positive and productive like a hobby or side venture.

The future of simple work

I imagine I’ll be doing these things (and maybe some other freelance projects that come my way) for the foreseeable future. I might end up doing these things indefinitely, or I might change my mind.

In a month I could be working a 9 to 5 office job. But here’s the best part of simple work – it can be there for you until something wildly better comes along. I have the freedom to search, interview, and choose a job that’s right for me while the simple stuff pays those nasty bills.

I do know this: I was able to see my friends and family for two weeks and squeeze work in while they were out, or after the 3-hour time change had them in bed by 9PM. I didn’t have to miss a beat, and I still feel rested as if I were on vacation too.

It’s time to take a stand for those of us who find peace outside of the rat race. For the women who choose to lean in in a different way. For the men who don’t feel like suits and ties are suitable workwear. For anyone who’s life has called them into a simpler line of work.

There’s no shame in taking on simple work – it might be the greatest thing you’ll ever do.

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10 thoughts on “The Joy of Simple Work

  1. I worked online/at home for a year before starting grad school and have been in the corporate world for 2 years. I really like the line, “we are not defined by how we make money, but by how we choose to use our energy”. Great post, I hope you write more about the topic.

    • Thanks Mandy! I’ll definitely keep it in mind as I’m working and meeting more people who are doing the same thing. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • That’s awesome Krisi! My own mother worked from home, so we never skipped a beat. Little did we know how hard she truly worked behind the scenes to make sure she could be there for us. Thanks for reading, and best wishes for you and your family!

  2. This is a fantastic post and something that I want to do more of! I work in a corporate environment but am looking for ways to supplement my income as I transition into a more creative (and simple!) lifestyle. I’m going to share this post with our twitter followers, I think they will find some value.

  3. Hi Emily, I really enjoyed your post. I miss the flexibility of working from home but I had a hard time finding work from home jobs. How did you find your work from home jobs? Thanks again.

    • Hey Angela! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. One of my jobs is through a small company I’ve been working with for years that asked me to take on more projects. The other job, as an Independent Content Quality Editor is with Quora – I don’t think they’re currently hiring, but here’s their career page: http://www.quora.com/careers

  4. I just found your blog, and although I am definitely not a millennial ;-), your words are true, well thought out, and well delivered.
    I’ve been reading through your older posts and would like to ask you how you found the company you do your data entry and content quality editing through? I’m very interested in doing something like that. I would truly appreciate a reply. Thanks

    • Hey Patricia! I’m glad you found me – of course, simple living is for everyone 🙂 I have the data entry position through a company I’ve worked with since I was a teen and just started taking on more projects throughout the years. The other job, as an Independent Content Quality Editor is with Quora – I don’t think they’re currently hiring for this position, but here’s their career page: http://www.quora.com/careers

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