Some slow requests coming from your boss. I need you to come in on Monday even though I know you were here on Saturday and Sunday. Such is the kind of report coming from people who say that the previous day just feels like the worst of their life. Most probably, today already feels like the worst day.

What if it was just possible to say, “hi boss, I am not feeling bad like you today, so I am just going to get the door.” No, you do not say that because you are a good employee. You check in just a little late but not very later. You care less about your job. You can work as hard as you want and there will be no bump in your salary.

Enter zombie mode. You let time fly away. You just walk in, do the work, and leave. No innovation at all on your part because there is no need to, things are just falling into place and money is coming through well. Unfortunately, you are in debt and the money you get is enough to pay your monthly repayment, and nothing else.

The described situation is not fictional. It happens in most offices and the perpetrators or actors are people who are checking out of their jobs. They used to love their jobs, but they decided that they were not going anywhere. No one is really going to become the head of the company anytime soon. There are many people in the department anyway, and it makes no sense right now to try to work so hard when all that it will do is get you into the boss’ radar. Such attention will get you more work with some overtime pay or nothing at all because you have to complete the report anyway.

Office jokes, the happy hour on Fridays, the Monday morning drowsiness, and the Sunday night feeling of a weekend gone too soon. These are signs of a job that you are just doing because of what you think you cannot live without. These are signs of a job you tell yourself you love, but the reality is that you must do it for other reasons and love is not one of them.

The incredible thing is that somehow in the last few years, you managed to show up like clockwork, Monday through Friday, and most of the weekends, working late night, taking jobs home, and being the reliable employee that you are. You manage to do it even when you say you cannot cope anymore. You are really gifted at following instructions and doing your best to save the team. You are earning good money and love to spend it whenever it comes. Things are turning so rosy for you and you cannot wait for valentines and Easter to get here so that you can take someone out. In fact, these days you see going out as nothing. You got the money, and driving to the nice restaurant is no big deal. You are living it, even if the rest of the day as you just doing some shitty tasks you call a job. At least in the evening, and just before bed, you will be catching up on the latest episode of your favorite show. You cannot wait to share the happenings with your colleagues tomorrow. You watched it in ultra HD while they are still waiting for the episode to come a week from now to their subscriptions. You are killing it in their eyes, and knowing this fact is making you feel good.

We hate to break it to you, but you are probably looking at it the wrong way. Either way, you are caged, your choices are not yours, and you are just another robot in a big system, and we and you cannot beat.

Understand the system, learn its rules, and then start bending them to your liking. learn what you need to so that you wake up when you want and go to sleep when you want to sleep. Sounds easy but it requires a ton of mindset learning and relearning.