Even the most exciting and fulfilling jobs have moments of frustration, anger, and boredom. While nobody should stay too long in a job they don’t enjoy, those who are planning on staying a while longer in a job that has its mundane moments can do themselves a great favor by learning to live with and appreciate the dull or irritating parts of their daily routine, and even to celebrate them where possible.

Every internet outage is a chance to reconnect with the people (or office plants) around you; every irritating client a lesson in human nature; every delayed response to your emails or phone calls a chance to breathe and go over things more thoroughly.

Take the morning elevator ride, for example. Some people just love the chance to stand in a cramped box with a daily selection of random colleagues and other folk from around the building. For others, the idea of small talk or poorly articulated nods and eye contact is a nightmare.

But the great thing about elevator rides is that they are finite. Most people are terrified of getting into conversations they can’t get out of – that’s why a normally friendly acquaintance might spontaneously blank you on the street (and probably regret it later). So take a deep breath, say a polite hello, and if conversation arises in that elevator – worry not, one or another of you will be obliged to get out of it again in a few seconds when the next floor is reached.

On the other end of the scale, there’s the social occasion that you’re supposed to enjoy: the birthday party (or more appropriately ‘birthday five minutes where everyone stops work to eat cake before being ordered back by the boss’). It’s fun the first couple of times but, as Elaine points out in Seinfeld, ‘You know, there are 200 people who work in this office. Every day is somebody's special day’.

But actually, there could be something more going on here than just an obligatory social event. Just as those who take smoking breaks may seem calmer because – unlike the rest of us – they are regularly getting away from the desk to concentrate on their breathing, impromptu birthday parties are a great chance to tone down office formality for a couple of minutes and get a glimpse of what your co-workers are actually like. Even if they’re wincing at the prospect of another ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’, well, that’s something to work on! If you ask just one colleague one meaningful question about their life, that birthday party has probably done more to bond you as a team than a week of shuffling past each other’s desks with your eyes pointed at the carpet.

And how about the tea run? You fancy a brew, you casually voice your intention to make a cup of tea, and before you know it you’ve got a dozen additional hot drink orders to fulfill on your trip to the kitchen. Sometimes it’s just too much to think about – after all, you’ve got a job to do, too – but if you find that you’ve become know as ‘the tea guy/gal’ it could be a great opportunity to take it to the next level.

Some of our most intriguing cultures have made a delicate ritual of the tea break, and by slowing down to think about how you make and present the tea, where it came from, and how your colleagues relate to it, you can make it a mindful ritual of your own – and maybe learn a bit about loose leaf teas and fancy coffees while you do so!

Have a look at the 10 haikus below which are based on some of our common experiences at work. Why not mention them to your colleagues next time you’re stuck in a conversation with nowhere to go?


I offered them tea
Like monsters they all said “Me”
Nineteen cups of tea.


Tanned glow relaxed smile
Work stress gone until I see
Five thousand emails.


Shrink in my corner
My boss has seen... Hit “Replied
All” to send a meme.


Important meeting
Crucial files ... ten minutes ...Woe ...
computer won’t start.


Hello Hey Hello
Has the conference call stopped
or was I kicked out?


Sing laugh sign repeat
Office birthdays ev’ry week
At least we get cake.


No wifi no calls
no emails no rules... chaos...
wait... thank god it’s back.


Sleepy tired almost
done But my heart jumped when you
said ‘Some coffee hun?’


Do not speak to me
on Monday mornings or else
I may eat your brains.


Elevator full
Hold your breath and stand still Eyes
fixed on numbered lights.

Want to see more? Visit SavingSpot's blog for illustrated haikus about office life: https://www.cashnetusa.com/blog/10-haikus-office-life/

Author's Bio: 

Mary is a freelance writer and digital nomad currently living in rainy yet wonderful London. She writes (and reads!) about personal growth, productivity in the workplace, self improvement, and the importance of work/life balance and how to achieve it.