23 votes

What are your favorite and least favorite work activities?

Whether it be at a job or at school, what is your favorite work item to do? And what about the least favorite?

Not required to say profession, but it does help give some context.


Translation

What are your favourite and least favourite work activities?

Whether it be at a job or at school, what is your favourite work item to do? And what about the least favourite?

Not required to say profession, but it does help give some context.

15 comments

  1. vegai
    Link
    I hate how your workplace is essentially your tribe, and that you generally don't have any way to figure out how well the tribe will work for you in advance. So making very important life choices...

    I hate how your workplace is essentially your tribe, and that you generally don't have any way to figure out how well the tribe will work for you in advance.

    So making very important life choices with very poor information. That sucks.

    11 votes
  2. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I don't know if I have a favourite task, but my least favourite one is calling customers to ask them to pay their overdue accounts. It's awkward to be asking for money in the first place. It's...

    I don't know if I have a favourite task, but my least favourite one is calling customers to ask them to pay their overdue accounts.

    It's awkward to be asking for money in the first place. It's never a happy conversation. Although, I have had one customer tell me she prefers hearing from me, rather than her other suppliers. I assume that means they're all shouty, whereas I try to keep things civil and amicable. But, still, it's not nice to be calling people to tell them they're not paying their debts and requesting payment. No matter how friendly I am, it's still a phone call they don't want to receive (and I don't want to make).

    Then, there's the added bonus of hearing everyone's stories about how trade is slow, and so on. All across Australia, our customers - who are retailers - are suffering. I'm seeing the actual effects of a slowing economy. In extreme cases, I've had small business owners tell me how they're closing the shop, and having to sell the house to cover their debts.

    It's not pleasant.

    10 votes
  3. [3]
    emdash
    (edited )
    Link
    It's not an activity per se, but the least favourite aspect of working in my industry is just the immense desk presence required to do the work (software engineering). I love developing software...

    It's not an activity per se, but the least favourite aspect of working in my industry is just the immense desk presence required to do the work (software engineering). I love developing software and building things that solve problems. But—mentally, I can't do it anymore. Sitting inside for 8 hours a day staring at a screen is such a drain on my energy levels. You feel lethargic, tired, and it's not good for you. This can be significantly compounded if you feel the actual work you're doing isn't valuable, doesn't benefit you in the long run (I always want to be learning something new), or doesn't give you motivation to get the job done.

    I like the industry as a concept—that you can build things to help others. The actual implementation leaves something to be desired. I've unfortunately never been exposed to a workplace where I felt like my contributions were valued or where management invested in their employees: no standing desks, few if any perks. I guess that shouldn't surprise me, this isn't silicon valley after all. Some of that's on me, I should probably have vetted the companies I've chosen to work at some more.

    So yeah, fuck that, I'm out. I'm so over the industry at a moment. I'm doing my own business, admittedly it's still software, but I can choose when and where I work, what my working conditions are like, and invest in my own intellectual growth at my own pace. I'm highly inspired by companies like Basecamp which actually give a shit about their worker's mental and physical health.

    If my next adventure doesn't pan out, then there's zero chance I'm going back into that industry again. I'd sooner switch careers and get my commercial pilots license. At least flying is somewhat tactile and exists in the physical dimension.

    In terms of favourite aspect: there's nothing quite as fun and challenging as abstracting away all that internal complexity and presenting the simplest, clearest possible interface to the end user; and evaluating new and novel ideas to both empower that user's decisions and be empathetic to their mistakes.

    8 votes
    1. reese
      Link Parent
      Pretty much the same boat here, although I did have a standing desk and it didn't help. And now my least favorite thing is being patronized for taking a risk. I don't know about you, but that's...

      Pretty much the same boat here, although I did have a standing desk and it didn't help.

      And now my least favorite thing is being patronized for taking a risk.

      You decided to pursue your dreams before you have so many responsibilities and medical bills that you may not have the chance again? What a dumbass piece of shit. Nobody ever succeeds at anything. Accept our shared mediocity. Unlike you, I fulfill my moral duty by sitting on my ass all day at a dead-end, meaningless job where I'll probably be laid off before I retire, then proceed to wonder why The Company didn't take care of me.

      I don't know about you, but that's the general response I've received. Of course, my characterization is a bit sardonic... but rightfully so after a number of people have redirected their own personal failings at me. Apparently I'm evil since I postponed having children and taking out a mortgage so I can fill up a driveway with cars that are only used 1% of the time.

      But what makes me feel better right now? I say somebody's started every business, creating whatever tool we use, entertainment we consume, or whatever. It's increasingly clear to me that a small minority of people put in all the goddamned effort so, let's be honest, the majority can attend the adult day care they call "work." It's not even just the people who start businesses, but those who run them as well. It seems like in any given team or organization, there's dismally few individuals who care: they know what's going on and choose to innovate. And yet those people are almost never compensated fairly or treated with the respect they deserve, while some asshole hired via nepotism reaps all the rewards.

      I am not saying those who do basically nothing or worse shouldn't be here, it's just that I'm sick of pretending to tolerate them. My favorite thing now is enjoying maximal autonomy. I'm getting shit done at a rate faster than I would ever have on a "team." No project manager to bitch me out for not tracking my time, who spends all their time trying to determine if something is an epic or a story (seriously, wtf?). There's no QA people wasting hours of my time telling me there's a problem when there isn't one, and then I have to explain the requirements to them. There's no frontend devs who can't figure out why the feature they pushed to production doesn't work, even though they've been told for the 80th time that the backend isn't ready yet.

      If you can't tell, I love working for myself and as long as I make enough money to live this way, I'll be happy.

      7 votes
    2. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I hear you; I'm on my third cycle of IT burnout and about ready to give it up as a bad job. I don't even think that staring at screens all day is the heart of the issue - it's the persistent sense...

      I hear you; I'm on my third cycle of IT burnout and about ready to give it up as a bad job. I don't even think that staring at screens all day is the heart of the issue - it's the persistent sense that you're pouring your life down the rathole of capitalism, that you're just a cog in a worthless, destructive machine. You can nurture illusions of helping people for a time, but at the end of the day, how the company treats its staff is only a reflection of how it treats the consumers of its products - as objects to be manipulated for profit.

      5 votes
  4. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm not working right now, but the job I left was one I enjoyed a great deal until the dislikes outgrew the likes. Dislikes: Corporate politics. I've had to bribe (literally, with money, or...

    I'm not working right now, but the job I left was one I enjoyed a great deal until the dislikes outgrew the likes.

    Dislikes:

    • Corporate politics. I've had to bribe (literally, with money, or valuable equipment and services), horsetrade, counter malicious gossip, kiss ass, engage in espionage, build elaborate strategic traps (figurative), sit through meetings as Byzantine as anything Machiavelli might have dreamed of, organize (figurative) gangland warfare... All to get meagre funding or fairly basic shit done, even before winding up in middle management. And I'm not, and will hopefully never be, good at it.

    • Direct personnel management - Hated nearly every minute of it; it's painful to do something you're not likely to succeed at. If I wanted children, I'd have had them; I don't enjoy demanding subordinates' discipline to the work. I've been self-educating for so long that I don't have much patience for other people's need to have basic technical knowledge spoon-fed to them. I'm not a great mentor. Firing people, even though they really needed to be fired, gave me ulcers and I still get the shakes thinking about it.

    • Administrative paperwork - I understand why some of it's necessary. Logging budgets, hours, expenses, project timetables, and the like helps the organization as a whole keep running. But I loathe every minute not spent actually building or maintaining things.

    • Phone calls - it's a personal quirk that I don't like audio-only interactions. I need facial expressions and body language to feel like I understand the content and import of what's being discussed. Without that data, I get unreasonably anxious that I'm missing things.

    Likes:

    • Difficult projects. I know this isn't a single task, but I like the vast majority of the tasks involved - the detective work; the troubleshooting, research, and testing; the brainstorming sessions; the cram sessions to master new (or very old) technologies; the travel; the sheer all-involving physical and mental labor. The more gnarly technical and logistic problems, the better; solving 4-D puzzles and building teams to handle them is fun. A firewall config that needs 100+ ports, tunnels, and routes catalogued and managed with a dozen different security organizations? Awesome. Medical records app with thirty interfaces? Cool beans. 20 TB of imaging data to export/import in 48 hours? I can do that. Four tons of configured equipment shipped and installed with a week's notice? Yep.
      It's like sex - stupid amounts of overthinking, sweat, and panic in the arrangements, so much satisfaction when complete. Big projects have so many tiny dopamine hits involved with each task done...

    Edit: On thinking about this, I don't see much need anymore to be cagy about some details. I was a server/network engineer in healthcare who wound up in charge of IT for corporate acquisitions and new growth projects. So, technical due diligence for acquisitions, network and application integration, working across the business with legal, financial, clinical, executive, and other functions, etc.

    6 votes
  5. zara
    Link
    I work in retail, and by far my favorite part of my job is the fact that it's easy work and the stakes are very low. Least favorite part of my job? The pay. There's no way I could live on my own...

    I work in retail, and by far my favorite part of my job is the fact that it's easy work and the stakes are very low.

    Least favorite part of my job? The pay. There's no way I could live on my own with my current wage unless I got a second job (I'll probably have to in the future).

    6 votes
  6. mrbig
    Link
    I like coming up with ideas and writing stories, screenplays, etc. I don't like dealing with all the inevitable bureaucracy involved with submitting and managing creative projects.

    I like coming up with ideas and writing stories, screenplays, etc. I don't like dealing with all the inevitable bureaucracy involved with submitting and managing creative projects.

    5 votes
  7. rogue_cricket
    Link
    Software developer. Favourite part: finding solutions! Least favourite part: implementing them! This is where I'm at lately, at least. When I have something new to work on I am generally engaged...

    Software developer.

    Favourite part: finding solutions!
    Least favourite part: implementing them!

    This is where I'm at lately, at least. When I have something new to work on I am generally engaged and "on". But if my work is "find out how to fix this issue we're having, and then apply the fix to these five affected areas" I'll lose an absurd amount of motivation between figuring it out on the first one and applying it to the others, even if it's just a straight copy->paste. I'll want to go back and keep making the solution better instead of just shuffling code around.

    Unlike some people, I don't hate some of the bureaucracy and direction aspects of software engineering.
    I'd actually like to move into a managerial or leadership role eventually because I think I'd be good at it, but I think I'll have to leave my current job to get there.

    5 votes
  8. [2]
    Icarus
    Link
    My favorite part of my job is learning something new and showing it off to my coworkers. I am a system admin for HR so I work on various systems from time-tracking to recruiting to incident...

    My favorite part of my job is learning something new and showing it off to my coworkers. I am a system admin for HR so I work on various systems from time-tracking to recruiting to incident tracking. Before I entered the job, the most programming anyone on the team did was VBA for excel macros, so me coming in with Python know-how has been advantageous to me. I get a real kick out of automating something boring or creating an analysis in Python that is easily reproduced. I have a good reputation of being the person who can just figure shit out and document it so I get tossed a lot of interesting projects like predicting employee turnover and creating tools in HR. Its fun because I have 100% ownership of my work, no one understands how its done so I have job security, and I get to collaborate with others.

    My least favorite has to be working on projects across multiple groups. I really don't enjoy working within the bureaucracy of IT or with groups that have a well-known tendency to pass off any new work or responsibilities to other groups. When my work has high visibility and mistakes are relayed to the top executives of the business, I tend to hate that type of stuff. I think big, cross-functional projects make me feel like I don't own a project as much so I don't end up putting my all into it.

    4 votes
    1. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I've had a role like yours. If you're like me, you'll get bored with chronic success and go looking for more interesting challenges. With time, I gained a lot more tolerance for cross-functional...

      I've had a role like yours. If you're like me, you'll get bored with chronic success and go looking for more interesting challenges.

      With time, I gained a lot more tolerance for cross-functional projects and the bureaucracy needed to do them, a thicker skin for dealing with high-visibility issues, and more satisfaction from helping other people do their jobs. You'll find groups that have strong work-defense in any organization; that's when you learn the dark arts of politics if you really want to get shit done.

      Sense of ownership is an interesting problem. I found that at the end of the day, nothing in technical work is permanent, any more than it was in kitchen work. You only own your work until it obsolesces, according to the needs of much larger entities. Being able to lead others in a shared endeavor is a form of "ownership"; you also get to shape the scope of need and obsolescence in addition to accomplishing the work itself.

      3 votes
  9. Loire
    Link
    My favourite part of the job is twofold: I often have a lot of free time to pursue my own projects on work hours. Very relaxing when things are going right. I am often tasked with solving...

    My favourite part of the job is twofold:

    • I often have a lot of free time to pursue my own projects on work hours. Very relaxing when things are going right.

    • I am often tasked with solving complicated problems "no one else can" (in the immediate vicinity of my work site) and the high of grinding out solutions is something else.

    Dislikes:

    • Shift length. I have 13 hour days. When problems necessitate it I can work 24+ hours.

    • When things are not going right the stress is through the roof. Every lost hour out here is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Expectations are high. Some problems simply can't be solved. Competing priorities on the job site can result in your equipment being broken or your responsibilities being overridden.

    4 votes
  10. Staross
    Link
    Best part is getting a new type of data and writing code to analyze them, I always get a bit excited when I'm producing results and for the first time, waiting for the plot to show up. The coffee...

    Best part is getting a new type of data and writing code to analyze them, I always get a bit excited when I'm producing results and for the first time, waiting for the plot to show up. The coffee break too.

    Worse part is boring meetings, dumb managers, people complaining, doing administration, etc.

    4 votes
  11. [2]
    Rainier
    Link
    I'm currently in college but I know I'll hate my major/career, accounting. I generally hate working (whether its school work or a job) and have never really enjoyed it in my life. The "love your...

    I'm currently in college but I know I'll hate my major/career, accounting. I generally hate working (whether its school work or a job) and have never really enjoyed it in my life. The "love your job and you'll never work a day in your life" is BS and encourages people to get things like history degrees that are largely useless. Work a job you hate that pays well so you are comfortable outside of it.

    Work to live, not the other way around. Something like 80% of people hate their jobs, so why would I be any different?

    3 votes
    1. Rez
      Link Parent
      I think enjoying work is less about the specific subject matter and more the type of work. You can like writing, talking to people, working with your hands, or working on a computer. I don't think...

      I think enjoying work is less about the specific subject matter and more the type of work. You can like writing, talking to people, working with your hands, or working on a computer. I don't think that many people hate their jobs, they just don't like having to work. My job is perfectly tolerable but I still "hate" work. Work is a huge chunk of your life and for 5 days a week it will be more of your waking hours than less of them, so I would still try to find a job to enjoy, I just wouldn't say your enjoyment will be related to the subject matter.

      4 votes