When we were young, our parents will definitely nag at us to study hard so we can land a good office job. An office job will be stable and provide a lot of benefits. While it is understandable that our parents do not want us to end up being a farmer or a construction worker (what’s wrong in an honest day of work?), I believe their intention (and beliefs) that a pen pusher in an air-conditioned environment is much better than a back-breaking work under the hot sun.

While this is fine, not all of us can perform well in an office job. For some, it is like a time bomb just waiting to gobble them up. Plus, in my opinion, a construction worker and a farmer have life skills that aren’t easily replace by someone strutting along with a top brand-name degree.

Want to know if you are not for a desk job? Here are the signs to look out for:

Sign 1: You feel like you are in prison or a cage when you are at the office

For people who are not fit for a 9-to-5 job, they definitely feel caged when they are around cubicles and desks. As time passes on, they will do everything they can to get out.

If you feel like you can’t stick around your cubicle or work desk every day, ask if you can work at home in regular intervals. You can also plan your day ahead to help you take breaks that will take you out of your office chair.

Sign 2: You don’t like going to work on a schedule

Another sign you should look out for if you are not suited for a desk job is if going to work on time and staying there until a set time makes you feel trapped. To you, your work schedule is non-negotiable and you can’t back out of it. Sometimes, you may even be asked to cover shifts, which can drive you insane.

If you are not really comfortable with a schedule, you do need to look into a new job that does not stick to a definite work schedule. You can also propose to your boss that you can do your tasks outside your given schedule. But, this must be done strategically because you may end up sounding pushy for your boss to consider.

Sign 3: Excel, Powerpoint and Word (or Numbers, Keynote and Pages) bores you to pieces

Many desk jobs deal often deal with looking at a computer and doing all sorts of documents. From spreadsheets to presentations, it is done. However, if you feel like you can’t focus on them well, its a sign that the job is not for you.

Wishing for these documents away is not going to happen no matter what job you have. There will always be a time you have to do one to complete your task. You can delegate or get some help on the ones you can’t do on your own. If you can’t find someone to help you out, ask if you can switch tasks with a colleague.

Sign 4: You prefer thinking outside the box

For people who do not like to be stuck in a cubicle or desk, you do not like to be told to think inside the box. You prefer exploring the possibilities and pursue ideas you can’t do while in the office.

If this is you, you can reach out to your boss and ask if you can pursue an idea. Show your proposal on how tasks can be done and get an approval. If your boss sees merit, then go for it. If not, find a way to pursue your idea and use it as a way to find a new job or start a new business based on that idea.

Sign 5: You want to be the boss

When you are at work, you often dream about being the one to lead the team. You want to sort the office to your configurations and develop it on your own. Sometimes, these daydreams are the only things that can get you going. You also find it difficult to listen to bosses, especially if you think they are asking too much of you.


If you check all the above boxes, then its a clear sign you need to shift jobs. It may be reckless to just quit, but if you can’t focus on your work, its better to find other ways to make a living.

A 9-to-5 job is not for anyone and if you are pressured to take one, don’t force yourself to do it. Find other jobs that will let you explore and help you build the dream career that you always wanted. There will never be a good time to pursue your ambition if you don’t make the first step towards it today.

Tell us in the comments below, what is your dream job? Share with us your passion.

For more pursue the passion articles, look at these:
12 Things You Can Do Today To Find Your Passion
A Conversation About Passion, Work, And Our Impact On The World
Cheers To the Passionate

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27 replies on “5 Signs You Definitely Aren’t Cut Out for a Desk Job

  1. 1 – I’ve worked in factories, warehouses, and retail prior to my office jobs. And retail was by far the worst for a sense of no escape.
    Every workplace has its idiots, but you can at least enjoy the fantasy that there’s a magic company somewhere. A place where no idiots walk. Retail crushes that fantasy. You deal with idiots day in and day out.
    Let me give you an example. I used to work for a company that sold fasteners – that is, nuts, bolts, washers. People would come in looking for a bolt ‘just like this other one I’ve got’. Okay, do you have a sample? ‘Uhh, yeah. But I left it at home.’ Well, now. That’s not very helpful, is it?
    But the prize winner was the chap who said ‘Yeah, I do. It’s out in my car.’ Pause. ‘Do you want me to bring it in so you can see it?’
    In retail more often than any other role, I wondered how mankind ever made its way down from the trees.

    2 – Every job entails a schedule. Except when your job description is Stinking Rich. Even if you’re your own boss, you can’t expect that customers and clients will sit around and wait until you’re ready to do business with them. You might have some flexibility about starting and finishing times or working from home, but even here, if you’ve told the boss you’re on the job at a certain time then you’d damn well better follow through.

    3 – I don’t love the Office Suite, but I’ve become proficient with it, and most of that is due to Excel. I used to watch people using it and it was as if they were writing in Martian. My curiosity was aroused! So I found a book that covered all the Office applications and dived in.

    4 – I like to think outside the box, but mostly it’s something I do in my own time. Most of my thinking OTB is not much related to the realities of the working day. Of course, if I see an opportunity to make a useful suggestion to my manager I’ll do so. But it’s not an everyday occurrence.

    5 – wanting to be the boss is not always the sign of a suppressed leader. Sometimes it’s a sign that you’re just an obnoxious fool. So maybe consider developing some humility in addition to your dreams of being Number One.

    Not wishing to kick the sandcastle down here, Kally. I just thought I’d offer you some points based on my own experience.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I love love love your points and it is very valid. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us here, Gregory. It has some sense of truth in all of them especially on the retail part because I worked in retail before as well. It sap out my life, staring at customers walking in and out everyday. So much that I know retail is not for me. Not as floor staff anyways.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You may have read my post where I’ve mentioned that I was in HR for twenty years before giving up this well-paid office job to return to studying. I then became a mental health nurse/manager where I got so many rewards. I’m now disabled and my dream job would be to go back to nursing 🙂 Now I’m not able, I just blog about it lol. Caz x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Kally for another great shared WISDOM post.

    If one does not have a certain amount of inner peace in their job; if there is seldom or never as inner sense of satisfaction of a job YOU know was well done; your in the wrong job or position.

    Unless there are extenuating circumstances; you really ought to seriously consider moving on.

    God Bless you my friend Kally; keep on keeping on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very true. Not all are cut for a desk job.
    BTW, we have a new granddaughter, H. Born last Friday at 1pm. Baby, mother and father are fine. Older brother received a lot of gifts from his new little sister. And is very happy. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s much easier to have a job and make money than not:) Am retired now. When I was young, all my Asian grown parents wanted was for me to marry a doctor. Independent me, I became a doctor instead, and that journey was the greatest thing in my life. You are right, several of the things you mentioned, sound very boring to me. Besides, I like to be my own boss. Never occurred to me to ask my parents what they thought about it all!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I loved your article. I’ve been blessed to have variety in my professional background. It’s a bit of ADD going on to be honest. However, each has entailed spending time at both the desk and the field (or production floor). I don’t feel stuck when I get the freedom to move but I love being in the field. I’m the Farm Manager for Opal’s Farm, a non-profit addressing food insecurity here in Fort Worth. The title is really a catch-all for everything from fundraising and donation appeals to shoveling manure and turning over the compost pile. I get to work the best job in the world (okay, for me at least…)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your job experiences with us. Sounds like you love your job! As long as you have passion for something, it’ll never feel like work to you. Kudos in finding your dream job!


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