How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

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Campitor
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by Campitor » Thu May 16, 2019 10:17 pm

daylen wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:11 pm
Boredom counteracts repetition, and it appears to be non-uniformly distributed (power law?).
In ancient history, when day to day survival depended on executing a particular pattern consistently (hunting, forced migration to follow herd animals and plants in bloom, etc) boredom would be irrelevant and pattern execution prioritized as an essential survival mechanism. Hunt, sex, move, repeat. Doesn't matter if you hated hunting, moving, or got bored having sex with the miniscule pool of partners available in ancient history - you stopped any of those behaviors and your gene pool died out.

Humans are excellent at recognizing basic patterns and executing them, something that is distributed throughout the animal kingdom. All animals execute patterns repetitively, and when they evolve into larger colonies, the patterns and behavioral repetitions are increased in frequency and expressed in higher percentages by its members; the patterns also become more complex. Working 9 to 5 is the normal distribution pattern for humans because for thousands of years we've been working 9 to 5, or whenever the sun rised or set, repeating the same behaviors over and over. It wasn't till we hit a critical milestone of abundance that humans could specialize and experiment with activities and inventions that had no immediate and direct survival benefit for the individual but in the end provided a net advantage to the group.

And it's no coincidence that behavioral and cognitive outliers were able to work obsessively on inventions that paved the way to our present level of technology and knowledge - we have evolved to trudge through hard tasks for a reward. In light of all this, it seems silly to even ask how people can grind out a 9 to 5 gig as if we're not designed to do so. Look at THF - he hates the 9 to 5 but yet he's doing the 9 to 5. And I bet he'll be doing the 9 to 5 for some time. Even if he quits the 9 to 5, I can guarantee you that he will be repeating a different pattern - the difference is that he will be a prisoner in a cage of his own design. If THF was in the 20% of the pareto distribution, he wouldn't be here asking this question - he would be executing a paradigm shift in his own life.

Look at Elon Musk - that guy is grinding harder than any of us. He may love what he's doing, but he's still grinding. And I'm pretty sure that a large part of that grind is boring and not fun. But yet he can do it because he is wired like the rest of us - he just executes on a larger scale.

daylen
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by daylen » Thu May 16, 2019 10:34 pm

I do not see how this question can be resolved without a precise definition of "routine" (unlikely). Maybe we fool ourselves into thinking we have a routine with hyper-sensitive pattern recognition. Feels like two sides of the same coin.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by SavingWithBabies » Thu May 16, 2019 11:16 pm

Maybe we're just creatures of habit and that is why once you do something repeatedly and make it a habit, like going to work for X years from 9-5, it gets scary to not do that thing anymore. Plus everyone else is doing it so why shouldn't I (not my take but a take I could see many having).

I think most people do what they are expected to do by other people. We do crazy things like go to war, walk around in combat zones risking getting killed, etc. Why? I get there are more punishments to not doing what you're supposed to do when you're a deployed soldier but you had to have known going in that you were potentially signing up for that, right? But people do it. Maybe some with gusto but I think most because they are doing what they are expected to do.

You can free all the animals from the farm but that doesn't mean they will survive without the farmer.

But I kind of like the work I do. I kind of dislike it too. But I like it more than I dislike it at least enough to get through it to FI. And hopefully, I can lessen the things I dislike over time to the point that I keep getting to do mostly the things I like and can walk away from the things I don't. If not, I can walk away from all of it (and kiss the ERE book on the cover in thanks).

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri May 17, 2019 8:09 am

Campitor wrote:Hunting in prehistoric times, like anything else, was subject to hedonic adaption. I imagine it was 99% boredom and 1% heart pounding action. There's a reason why humans are among the mammalian elites of long distance running - our prey was faster but we had more endurance - we had the non-stop task of running and running and running to get some meat.
daylen wrote:This thread is becoming a personality battle in disguise. :lol:

The details of prehistory(all history?) are controversial at best (inconclusive at worst?). Some say war was common, and others say war was rare. Some say hunter-gatherers were conscientious hunters, and others say we were opportunistic gatherers.
lol- Right. An ENTP (the explorer/scout/enthusiast) has as many different words for the varieties of boredom as an Eskimo has for snow. Also, there is no way in hell any tribal-lifestyle human of my gender/age/phenotype was running, running, running to catch some prey. More like hiking, hiking, hiking with 30 lb. child in hip-sling in search of shiny, bright new cache of ripe fruit or tasty nuts and grubs.

That said, it is true that as a self-aware ENTP who has frequently had (granted herself with minimal parachute and even less merit) a high degree of autonomy over her daily schedule, I do see the benefit of routine to the extent that it frees me up for more interesting decision making. For simple instance, it takes too long to get to the interesting decision of what sort of cookies to bake, if you do not have an auto-pilot routine for cleaning the kitchen in place. In fact, I went through a phase where I believed that I could maybe achieve ideal lifestyle simply through creation and repetition of ideal routine. The problem with this theory (beyond lack of discipline to stick with it) is that there simply aren't enough hours in a day, or a lifetime, if you don't jump level to creative integration.

IOW, having a set routine for your activities is kind of like having a set budget in set categories for your spending. And, if somebody else is in charge of creating your routine for most of your most vital hours of the day then it's highly unlikely that your self-interest/quality-of-life is being maximized. For simple instance, according to the schedule/spreadsheet I recently constructed for myself for auto-depositing wedding funds in my daughter's account in conjunction with putting in days of substitute teaching, I should be working today, but it is perfect weather and timing for getting transplants in the ground, so I am heading to my garden instead. MMV, but I have found that leaving myself 100% free to decide whether or not I am going to work on somebody else's schedule for money on any given day is very freeing, and towards lifestyle maximization. This is true for me even though even my most rigidly scheduled activity of substitute teaching is actually quite high on the autonomy scale.

Campitor
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by Campitor » Fri May 17, 2019 8:47 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 8:09 am
Also, there is no way in hell any tribal-lifestyle human of my gender/age/phenotype was running, running, running to catch some prey. More like hiking, hiking, hiking with 30 lb. child in hip-sling in search of shiny, bright new cache of ripe fruit or tasty nuts and grubs.
Agreed - there's a reason why men can run faster than women. Our behavioral pattern split the division of labor thousand of years ago. Women became the gatherers and men the hunters. Male biology is leaner, our hips narrower, our shoulders broader, and our stride longer; we're optimized for strength, cooling, and running distances at specific speeds while minimizing caloric output; although I believe that women are just as capable of long distance running as men.
  • Video of an African hunter chasing his prey to exhaustion: https://youtu.be/826HMLoiE_o?t=107
  • Video of an "exciting" hunt in the Amazon - note the ritual of putting a caustic plant liquid in the eyes to "enhance" eyesight. Who would think that was a joy to endure on a regular basis? Humans are designed to endure suffering if it provides a perceived benefit (elective surgery/breast augmentation?): https://youtu.be/nZRYEIFjhn0?t=416
The deeper we go down this rabbit hole the more apparent our biological and behavioral design tolerance for boredom and repetition. We're optimized to endure discomfort and periods of mind numbing boredom. Working a 9 to 5 or a 2nd/3rd shift comes naturally and should be the easiest thing to endure considering the millennia of human evolution in very harsh conditions.

daylen
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by daylen » Fri May 17, 2019 9:10 am

@Campitor I think we can all agree your perspective has merit. I also think it is one side of a coin where the other side empathizes "non-habituation".

There is no change without invariance (and the reverse).. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noether%27s_theorem

The precise attribute of "humans" that changes or stays the same is entirely subjective. It is like saying an electron is positively charged(*) or that up is down. Doesn't matter, because it is a symmetry.

Both boredom and repetition do not make sense together unless you have the whole coin. They are surely not the same from my perspective.

(*) Assuming that all particle charges are flipped.

Campitor
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by Campitor » Fri May 17, 2019 9:37 am

@Daylen

I 100% agree but with the exception being that human behavior is subject to the Pareto distribution with a majority of humans being happy with drone like behavior that isn’t forced to change by external pressures; the assumption being they lack intrinsic motivation for behavioral modification.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:28 pm

Campitor wrote:The deeper we go down this rabbit hole the more apparent our biological and behavioral design tolerance for boredom and repetition. We're optimized to endure discomfort and periods of mind numbing boredom. Working a 9 to 5 or a 2nd/3rd shift comes naturally and should be the easiest thing to endure considering the millennia of human evolution in very harsh conditions.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but it seems like you are confounding every possible form of discomfort or suffering with boredom. Oftentimes, humans are willing to endure a great deal of risk or alternative forms of pain and tribulation in order to avoid boredom and seek excitement or other forms of happiness and fulfillment. I am currently reading "The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth" which offers many such anecdotes from the age of the adventurous amateur naturalists. The majority of the composers and signers of the American Constitution were also members of a philosophical society dedicated to such adventures. So, in fact, the phrase "pursuit of happiness" might have been meant more literally then is often assumed these-a-days, as something like freedom to engage in the happiness inherent in pursuit.

One famous early naturalist and military man, Joseph Banks, disguised his wife, who was educated in botany, as a man, so he could sneak her on his ship and thereby enjoy the adventure of species collection without giving up the pleasure of sex. If I am ever granted access to a time machine, I am definitely setting the dial to late 18th century. The early 21st century is like being locked in a room with nothing but a case of Soylent and a streaming loop of Laverne and Shirley episodes by comparison. B-O-R-I-N-G.

IOW, to express my original response to the original question post by OP more succinctly, BECAUSE most people are incurious, unimaginative, and more than a little bit chicken-shit.

OTCW
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by OTCW » Sun May 19, 2019 2:42 pm

I'm going on 25 years of full time work, albeit at 7 different companies. I don't find it boring yet. I just want an exit strategy and an ERE approach makes a good one for me. Plus it has given me a nice systems problem to solve - increase passive income, lower expenses, become more resilient and self reliant, diversify income streams and risk of failure, etc. I like working on big picture problems.

My SWR is about 1.6% so I could go any time, but this is what I want to do now, so I stay. Finding meaningful work is as good as finding any other meaning IMO.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:53 pm

Well, not everybody is a dopamine driven Explorer.

https://thoughtcatalog.com/january-nels ... peraments/

If I am not off on an adventure or in pursuit of my next new thing then it is likely that negative reasons such as "chicken-shit" or "hand to butt ratio excludes possibility of rock-climbing" apply. Other people might have positive reasons.

Campitor
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by Campitor » Sun May 19, 2019 7:50 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:28 pm
Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but it seems like you are confounding every possible form of discomfort or suffering with boredom.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boredom: the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest//boredom of a long car trip.

https://www.healthline.com/health/boredom: Boredom is a common feeling. Feeling unsatisfied by an activity, or uninterested in it, can lead to boredom. Boredom may occur when you feel energetic but have nowhere to direct your energy.

Often boredom and discomfort go hand in hand - discomfort can cause boredom and visa versa. For example, hunting can be fun, but much of it is spent either walking miles and glassing to find prey. If your cold, hungry, or wet, sooner or later all you're going to be thinking about is how cold, hungry, or wet you are - you get "bored" of hunting and pack it in.

And when you get bored, you start to notice all those things that weren't bothering you before - your ass hurts from sitting too long, the drumming of fingers is annoying, the fly buzzing around is aggravating, the mosquitoes bites are driving you crazy, etc.

bigato
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by bigato » Sun May 19, 2019 8:02 pm

This is like a children stuck on calling everything "stuff" out of lazyness to remember the most appropriate name. It doesn't help the dialogue.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 19, 2019 9:16 pm

@bigato:

lol- okay. Invert, always invert.

The answer to the original question is that they don't. The average American born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 11.9 jobs from age 18 to 50. This is also approximately twice the number of relationships the average person has in same number of years. So, maybe 2 to 3 years before boredom sets in and then another 1 or 2 before quitting or breaking up.

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-o ... bs-2060467

This is also approximately twice the number of relationships the average person has in same number of years. So, maybe 2 to 3 years before boredom sets in and then another 1 or 2 before quitting or breaking up. Average tenure in both realms increases with age.

Campitor
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by Campitor » Sun May 19, 2019 11:25 pm

bigato wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:02 pm
This is like a children stuck on calling everything "stuff" out of lazyness to remember the most appropriate name. It doesn't help the dialogue.
I disagree. You can't come to a consensus until everyone involved in a discussion understands what the parameters and definitions represent. Boredom is word that encompasses a range of emotions and mood so its meaning tends to get a bit "squishy" and so it merits some discussion which is pertinent to this topic.

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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by BookLoverL » Mon May 20, 2019 4:24 am

Off the top of my head, I think there are several main types of discomfort: boredom (when things are too easy), stress (when things are too hard), and physical or mental pain. Like in Goldielocks, in the perfect type of activity, the difficulty level is just right...

I don't know how people do the compulsory 9-5 thing either. I only have to assume their brains are better at coping with both boredom AND stress than mine, and that their long term goals don't rely on them having much extra time available to do stuff.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 20, 2019 7:57 am

I think we are circling back around to discussion of this chart:

Image


One problem with 9-5 is that it can be difficult to move from boredom to relaxation, because you are supposed to be working. So, the need to appear to be busy, which is obviously driven by some underlying anxiety, will tend towards keeping you stuck in boredom, unless you possess both the autonomy and the motivation to increase your level of challenge. For instance, if you were being paid by the piece to wrap candy as it comes at you down a conveyor belt, and you had the ability to increase the speed at will, and thereby increase your rate of cash flow, that would likely make the task more pleasurable, especially if you could walk away from the conveyor belt as soon as you had earned as many pennies as you wanted for the day. Similarly, if you were new hire in a firm with the possibility and intention to "make partner", and thereby establish a clear stake skin-in-the game equity position, you would likely be less bored with your job. That is why the phrase "dead-end job" came into common usage.

Evidence that this is true would be that historically humans have competed so hard at piece-work, the wage may drop below "living." Thus, complaints about working for Uber or Turk etc. (like those of Victorian era females sewing on shirt collars at home) are generally about pay per piece ending up being low relative to pay per hour employment elsewhere engaged at similar task or lack of benefits, NOT boredom . IOW, within the context of the capitalist system, the convention of 9-5 employment serves as an intermediary between feudal hierarchy in which those of higher status manage, train (invest in skill acquisition) and care for those of lower status within the firm and the pure competition for profit-share inherent in pure contract or piece work. In earliest industrial era, after the closing of the commons where peasants could eek out rough independent living, daily minimum wage was set by law to equal multiple of cost of minimum food requirements for human survival.

Therefore, leaving the realm of 9-5 employment is not unlike leaving the safety of family or village of origin. It will likely provoke anxiety, because the challenge level is generally perceived to be very high, because relatively unknown; like the places on the map where early cartographers drew dragons. So, it's kind of interesting that by collecting little pieces of variety of firms, in conjunction with creatively improving skills related to domestic production towards consumption, one can eventually free oneself from dependency on 9-5 position with some particular firm.

Another quality that can compensate for boredom would be altruism or love. For instance, if you are being paid to spend your afternoon caring for autistic 4 year old children. I would go insane doing that job full-time, but one or two afternoons a week is rewarding and fulfilling. Also, it has been my experience that work engaged with very young children in non-profit settings is an exception to the rule of shouldn't appear to be too relaxed while at work-place, especially during nap-time :lol:

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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 20, 2019 8:25 am

Additional thought on the topic which could be relevant to OP, would be that on some level ERE-tracking yourself at a job or career is kind of like Mommy-tracking yourself at a job or career ( I have done both.) If you know it would take at least 10 years to "make partner", and you only intend to work 5 years before early retiring, lack of full-on engagement might lead to higher level of boredom.

During my relatively brief stint of full-time corporate employment, it was always my intention to go back to full-time homemaker as soon as I could afford that option, but the combination of boredom and lack of tolerance for having idiots promoted over me, caused me to make attempt at climbing ladder until I finally had to tell my immediate supervisor that I had no real interest in being groomed to take over his job.

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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by jacob » Mon May 20, 2019 8:28 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihaly_Cs ... halyi#Flow

Presume that the work-systems have been dialed in so that "most people" experience their work-life in the arousal-flow-control-relaxation fields. What might be happening for FIRE/ERE types is that the innate skill level is too high for the work-system which then drives the experience over towards boredom and apathy. (Warning: Extrapolated anecdotal evidence). I think this is partially due to not finding enough challenges within the work-system. This inability can be either structural in the sense that one needs tenure/seniority/a position to open in order to get new challenges or it can be due to personal inability to navigate the politics of the work-system. Worry-Anxiety seems to be more of a noob-experience that goes away over time as skill level increases.

TL;DR - "Most people" can do it because the working environment is cybernetically designed for "most people" but not everybody.

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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon May 20, 2019 11:26 am

@jacob:

Gifted child syndrome? In my middle-class suburban school district in the early 1970s, the 2 day a week program for children who scored above nth percentile placed us in a large open learning space, well-stocked with all sorts of resources and supplies. We were given notebooks in which we were required to write down our plan for the day, but otherwise we were free to do as we pleased. For better or worse, I have never lost the conviction that I am entitled to do this, unlike the poor dull souls stuck back in the conventional classroom trudging their way through the rote activities. Only difference being that as an adult it has to be on my own dime*.


*Or open contract with others.

classical_Liberal
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Re: How do most people do this whole compulsory 9-5 thing for 40+ years?

Post by classical_Liberal » Mon May 20, 2019 7:28 pm

I disagree that work anxiety is only a noob thing. I think it is related to the previous comment though. ERE types becoming bored with lower level tasks can actually lead to anxiety. If they don't take such tasks seriously, or said tasks are at some level in opposition to personal ethos/morality they perform poorly. This can happen almost subconsciously due to lack of focus. All of this stems from lack of challenge. Poor performance causes anxiety, both from internal (why can't I do this simple thing right) and external (supervisor coworkers).

There are also many situations in which consequences of even minor mistakes are so large, that even a very highly qualified and skilled person suffers anxiety in day-to-day tasks. Remember, as someone becomes more competent and rolls over mount stupid, they actually begin to realize everything that can go wrong. So those with the highest level of skill do not have the highest level of confidence. In some situations (medical field, air traffic controller, etc) where lives are at stake daily, a constant level of work anxiety is the norm, even when in flow.

I would also argue that the total amount of time commitment in current work-structure is a problem for polymath oriented ERE-types. While it may be very interesting to come up with creative solutions to medical diagnosis "X" for person "Y" for 10 or 20 hours a week, doing do for 50 hours a week becomes monotonous when other interests are forced to take a back seat to the salary work that would otherwise be interesting and challenging. There are simply too few "part time" opportunities available to master interesting jobs.

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