As I was working late one evening in the office on an animation; 5 hours into my work, Adobe After Effects decided to freeze. A color wheel was rotating in front of me and all I could do was wait and hope that the software would work again.
After a full minute of me staring at the wheel of death (as I like to call it), I decided to check my phone to find a few messages and an e-newsletter from The Muse.
The subject of the newsletter was... "Slow week at the office?”… My eyes popped out and my eyebrows went up. The email later read "Make the most of it". So I scrolled down to find 4 articles about how to make the most out of my free time at work during slow season (being summer).
There, was me working late at 8pm, hoping that my software doesn't crash on me, and there, was an email about how to fill my empty hours at work... I didn't read any article at the time because I was still smiling at the irony of the moment, but it did make me wonder for a while which work formula was the healthier and more fulfilling to have in life: A fast-paced one with no time to breathe or a slow one with plenty of free time.
So to make a good comparison, I took the time to write the pros and cons of each workplace, while trying to stay as broad as possible so that more fields can benefit from it.
A slow-paced workplace:
Free time to learn new things from online articles and videos.
Free time to get certified and learn new professional skills.
Read a book.
Write (considering the environment allows you to).
Call and text friends and family who might also have some free time to chat.
Can leave the office early and do other things in the day.
Chat and bond with your colleagues.
Have a long lunch break that you can enjoy with others at work or outside.
Organize your desktop and clean up your desk (but that would be considered working, no?)
Boredom can make you more creative. (1)
You might end up only scrolling Facebook and Instagram for silly videos and the upscale versions of your friends.
You might spend it playing games online or on your mobile.
It might make other colleagues jealous and resentful of you if they had more work to do.
A fast-paced workplace:
You feel needed and useful.
Potential opportunities for learning and growth.
You learn to work faster and, more importantly, smarter.
You never get bored.
You might learn how to multi-task.
You can see the results of your work on the big scale.
You're constantly under pressure, while you know that stress is bad for your health.
You can feel like you’re not doing enough or that you should be doing more.
No time for meditation, contemplation or building hobbies.
No energy left at the end of the day to be there for friends and family.
No time to invest in yourself with learning new skills.
Now, the uses of “might” and “can” have not been randomly used here. Not all people will utilize their free time in the ways cited above, and not all jobs have the same tasks. Therefore, in some cases, learning opportunities and multi-tasking do not apply.
Is there anything you would change or add in these lists? And did you find yourself to lean towards a particular type of workplace? Share your answers in the comments below and I might cover them in the future.
(1) This statement was not drawn from personal experience, but from a few online sources: