I've just gone back into an office after 6 years and cannot bear it.

(15 Posts)
PrincessDando Wed 12-Dec-18 18:26:49

I used to work in offices (work in HR) but around 6 years ago started working regionally/ field based and loved it.

Unfortunately I was unable to progress my career due to a very hierarchical management who didn't believe in progressing the more junior members (colleagues had similar issues so it wasn't just me!) and so in order to progress my career i secured a role at a higher level, but it was in an office.

Well I started on Monday and whilst the job is great and the team are friendly, I don't think I can cope with being back in an office environment. I just feel like I've been buried alive. It's so alien to me to have to sit in a chair staring at a screen for 8 hours, with a time-limited lunch break when I'm used to either working from home or being on the road, taking calls in the car, stopping off at the services to pick up emails.

I so miss working regionally, and have been sat at my desk feeling like I'm chained to it, waiting for it to be 5pm so I can finally go. Also the commute is longer than I thought it would be (about an hour door to door) .. with regional working there is no commute, you are home based and any travel is part of your working day.

Would I be an absolute fool to quit this job and go back to regional working? I may have to take a slightly more junior role again, but I just don't know if I can cope with being in an office again.. at the moment that feels the lesser of two evils.

I'm pretty sure I can get back into regional working as I'm quite experienced at it, and can afford to take a few months out if I'm frugal. I just feel like I found a way of working that really works for me and I gave it up am regretting it now. I want career progression, but not at any cost. Why am I such a wuss that I cannot handle the office? I wish I could, but I just feel like a battery hen.

OP’s posts: |
Grace212 Wed 12-Dec-18 18:30:36

I completely understand

in the last 5 years I started working at home a lot. I now wouldn't be able to do a job that was 5 days a week in the office. Well, I suppose if I was on the bones of my arse...

but don't feel bad, lots of people find being cooped up in an office all day quite hard to cope with. I've often thought that I might have to switch to a job that involves dashing round from A to B because even that seems better than being in an office all day. I feel like people are looking every time I get up and wander about, but it's so bizarre being stuck to the desk.

Grace212 Wed 12-Dec-18 18:31:41

sorry should say

no I don't think it would be foolish to try to go back to a way of working that suits you. I have also accepted I've never going to get to the top of a ladder working the way I do, but it's more important to me to have quality of life.

PrincessDando Wed 12-Dec-18 19:03:52

That's my dilemma.... career progression or working regionally but at a more juinor level. Or if I'm lucky I can find somewhere to work regionally but hope that they progress me, in time.

I just wish I could get on with offices, but I'm pretty sure I can't.

OP’s posts: |
Grace212 Wed 12-Dec-18 19:42:06

the only hope is that all this mad agile working and not having desks to go round etc will result in more home working

i must admit, I tend to see career progression only in monetary terms. So one thing that helped me was looking at comparable roles and seeing what the real increase was, after deducting commuting costs, costs for things like food that might be bought on the go, costs for office clothes etc.

I appreciate that if you're looking really senior that's different. You could always give yourself a deadline e.g. see how you feel after 6 weeks of the office thing. One thing that hasn't helped me (probably) I've never ever worked in a nice office! Some of my friends seem to have lovely spacious offices with air con and so on...I have never worked in one of those. Worked in some very prestigious places but always had a crap office environment.

MutantDisco Wed 12-Dec-18 19:45:37

I can't work in offices OP. I'm a HoD in a secondary school and I love the variety. I can do marking/admin in the evenings if I'm desperate to run after a tough day in the classroom (although I often have extra-curricular activities after school).

Definitely weigh up the pros and cons, but it sounds like office work isn't going to suit you, and that's nothing to worry about.

justalittlebitsad Wed 12-Dec-18 19:45:40

People will come on here and tell you to suck it up for six months but I don't agree with that advice! You know when you have made a mistake.

I think getting the fit right is far more important than career development. Perhaps you were unlucky with the career progression in your regional role. It's not to say that will happen next time.

If you can afford it, I would leave now and explain the gap as needing to take some time out. You will be free to go to interviews and start straight away which generally goes in your favour. Make it clear you are looking for progression this time and see what happens.

PrincessDando Thu 13-Dec-18 14:17:35

I have decided to leave and pursue a regional role..... I just cannot bear the thought of spending any longer in that office than I need to so I'll likely work until the end of next week and then it's christmas shutdown, and I'll resign after new year.... I feel a bit shitty about it to be honest, but I can't stay if it's not working for me.

Luckily there was a regional role I had applied for but withdraw my application when I got this one - I've just contacted the recruiter to ask if I cruld still be considered, not expecting a response as it looks like I've messed them around but she said I could still be in the running.

I may never progress very far up the career ladder this way but at least I won't feel chained to a desk. I don't mind the work and the money is ok... anything not to be cooped up in an office 9 hours a day, I find it soooo constricting.

OP’s posts: |
Grace212 Thu 13-Dec-18 14:35:23

I hear you OP

instinct often leads us to do the right thing. I hope you progress as you wish in any case - I think there's lots of opportunities that we don't hear about unless through contacts etc so maybe something like that will arise.

PrincessDando Thu 13-Dec-18 15:18:35

If nothing else, the next time I am in a regional role and am having a bad day, I'll think 'It could be worse I could be in that bloody office!' and it won't seem half as bad!

I guess sometimes you have to make the wrong choice to know what the right choice is.

OP’s posts: |
SpoonBlender Thu 13-Dec-18 15:28:28

Well decided! Tough but sensible. I do ~30% in the office and that's about my limit after 15 years largely WFH/at clients. Hopefully the new place will be less tight with promotions.

BlankTimes Thu 13-Dec-18 15:38:00

Give it a chance, 3 and a bit days isn't much to base a decision on something that's so different to what you're used to.

How long will it take you to get to a higher level in that office? Once you've got it, is there opportunity to be free range again?

PrincessDando Thu 13-Dec-18 17:32:44

I'm already at the higher level in that office Blank.. that's what makes it so tough.

I can't give it too much of a chance as I don't want a failed job on my CV and my thinking is that if I leave after xmas I can leave it off and free myself up for interviews. So I need to decide before new year really.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Fri 14-Dec-18 07:57:17

Could you do some temp work in the meantime so you maintain contact time with your career, but it gives you more flex re interviews and you're not chained into one company or perm role yet, until you've decided long term plans?

Satsumaeater Fri 14-Dec-18 17:26:39

I totally understand. I gave up an almost completely home-based role to take a full time role with far more office based hours. I wanted to stick it out for a year, but am leaving after 10 months.

I've decided to leave (also for other reasons) and work freelance for a bit. Like you I can survive for a few months if I am frugal and the more freelance work I get, the longer my savings will last. I am looking forward to getting the flexibility back! Do what is best for you and don't worry about seniority if a slightly more junior role would suit you better. It sounds like you have an option anyway if the other job is still available. Good luck.

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