Author Topic: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job  (Read 8112 times)

EngiNerd

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Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« on: October 01, 2017, 07:58:23 AM »
I have a job option I am considering and I wanted to get a bit of feed back from other people.  The Details are here:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/job-offer-but-have-non-mustachian-apprehension/

I have job that I enjoy and usually the hours are fine 44-50 (50 is rare but putting in just over 40 is normal, and still low hours compared to many jobs) the work is interesting but takes effort, often times thinking about it outside of work.  Things will probably take more hours and energy as my responsibility increases.  The other job I am considering looks to be pretty easy.  Strictly 40 hours, low stress, but probably boring and lacks skill building. 

Pros to challenging job.
Satisfaction, skill building (engineering and management in this case).

Pros to easy job.
I have many interests outside of work so I believe I could pursue them with more effort if I work less hours and spend less mental energy on my job.  I don't identify myself with my job, more so my hobbies, so I would like to put more effort into them. 

What do other members of this community think about the option of the 2 different work environments? 

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 08:07:52 AM »
Interesting! (I read through the other thread too.)

An additional thing I would consider: boring is in itself a stress. An easy job is one thing; an actively boring one is a soul-killer. Lots of people on the forum really struggle with copious boring hours (parenting, certain other jobs). Some spend the 40 or more hours per week trying to sneak in bits of interest, and tend to feel frustrated in that effort.

So, just how boring would the easier job be? How would you cope with that source of stress?

EngiNerd

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 04:53:42 PM »
Interesting! (I read through the other thread too.)

An additional thing I would consider: boring is in itself a stress. An easy job is one thing; an actively boring one is a soul-killer. Lots of people on the forum really struggle with copious boring hours (parenting, certain other jobs). Some spend the 40 or more hours per week trying to sneak in bits of interest, and tend to feel frustrated in that effort.

So, just how boring would the easier job be? How would you cope with that source of stress?

Yeah, I know how it can feel not having enough to do while on the clock.  Not good.  And glass door reviews indicate the fed position has that possibility for sure. 

kamille

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2017, 05:29:23 PM »
Would having more energy to focus on your hobbies be enough to overcome a boring job? Do you plan to use your hobby as a source of income revenue later on as a goal to being FI or ER? Generally I would recommend a challenging job for a more fulfilling life, but if your hobby can fullfill that  and you only see your current job as a means to an end, I would just go with the job that lets you focus on your hobby more.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 07:22:47 AM »
Interesting! (I read through the other thread too.)

An additional thing I would consider: boring is in itself a stress. An easy job is one thing; an actively boring one is a soul-killer. Lots of people on the forum really struggle with copious boring hours (parenting, certain other jobs). Some spend the 40 or more hours per week trying to sneak in bits of interest, and tend to feel frustrated in that effort.

So, just how boring would the easier job be? How would you cope with that source of stress?

Yeah, I know how it can feel not having enough to do while on the clock.  Not good.  And glass door reviews indicate the fed position has that possibility for sure.

That would be a major concern for me.  Having a job with little to do would be great if you could work from home, but it really sucks if you've got to sit in an office or cube all day.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 07:35:42 AM »
At what stage of your career are you? If a couple of years away from FIRE, then some dull work, headphones and time to catch up on your favourite forum or personal admin may not be a bad thing. If you are over a decade away, then you should be building skills: not letting them atrophy. It is difficult to go from a very low demand job to a high demand job.

Ann

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2017, 07:42:22 AM »
I've read one person describe the opposite of "burn out" as "rust out" (it's not in the dictionary, so I don't think it is an official term but I like it).  I suspect 50 hours of an engaging job would seem a lot shorter than 40 hours of watching the clock.  I don't know how "boring" the potentially boring new job would be, though.  On the other hand, how much after hours energy are you required to put in with the challenging job?  I like to be able to go home and BE home (I would never be a candidate for working from my own house). 

You say you enjoy your current job.   Would you ENJOY the new job?

marielle

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2017, 07:46:07 AM »
Posting to follow. I don't have two jobs to choose from, but am debating if I should consider leaving. I don't have enough work to fill up 40 hours a week but have to be here 5 days a week plus an hour a day for lunch. I really need to figure out how to create more work for myself to make myself more useful or if it is even worth doing so.

It's even harder because I'm entry level, I have only been working here a year after graduation.

Cwadda

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 07:51:00 AM »
PTF

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2017, 07:56:02 AM »
I've read one person describe the opposite of "burn out" as "rust out" (it's not in the dictionary, so I don't think it is an official term but I like it).

Great phrase! So true as well. I recall a poem (song?) that had a line similar to: "it is better to die in service than die of rust".

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 07:59:57 AM »
A relevant thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/high-pay-terribly-boring-job/

I think the single biggest factor is: Does the boring job require that you be bored?

If the employer allows you to spend the down hours learning on Khan Academy, studying your hobby, listening to life-enhancing podcasts, and doing your banking, it can work well (freeing your home time for your other interests). If the employer demands that you stand in one spot literally doing nothing, that can be hell.

People on the forum have had each of these experiences. The former can be dandy. If you're not even allowed to daydream properly, jot notes for your future novel, or listen to books online -as some MMM employees have experienced- this is another matter entirely.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 08:18:45 AM by jooniFLORisploo »

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marielle

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2017, 08:36:39 AM »
A relevant thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/high-pay-terribly-boring-job/

I think the single biggest factor is: Does the boring job require that you be bored?

If the employer allows you to spend the down hours learning on Khan Academy, studying your hobby, listening to life-enhancing podcasts, and doing your banking, it can work well (freeing your home time for your other interests). If the employer demands that you stand in one spot literally doing nothing, that can be hell.

People on the forum have had each of these experiences. The former can be dandy. If you're not even allowed to daydream properly, jot notes for your future novel, or listen to books online -as some MMM employees have experienced- this is another matter entirely.

But how do you know which camp you are in? I don't want to just straight up ask, "Hey, what should I be doing when I have nothing to do?" because that makes me seem like a slacker or unmotivated to walk around and find work for myself. I have, however, asked, "Is there anything else I should be working on?" which is subtly different. This was mainly during my first few months of working, since I wasn't too sure of my responsibilities yet. A year later and I still don't really know but stopped asking the question...

I feel like being entry-level I should be getting much more guidance and requests for work from management. At least, this has been the experience of my peers who graduated with me. The issue is that I work with a fairly new, non-traditional company where I'm the only person with a 4 year degree.

I feel like I SHOULD be finding work for myself (not sure if it's possible to fill up 40 hours a week though), since my boss occasionally asks if I'm tied up with anything (as if I should be doing something no matter what). Maybe I'm misinterpreting that.

Remnace

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2017, 08:39:44 AM »
Posting to follow. I don't have two jobs to choose from, but am debating if I should consider leaving. I don't have enough work to fill up 40 hours a week but have to be here 5 days a week plus an hour a day for lunch. I really need to figure out how to create more work for myself to make myself more useful or if it is even worth doing so.

It's even harder because I'm entry level, I have only been working here a year after graduation.

I'm about 5 months into my first job after graduation and I'm in a similar situation. I have all the flexibility I could possibly want and never work more than 40 hours a week, but my days are spent idling. I try to fill the time by reading books and dicking around on the internet, but even that gets old after a while.

I'm still holding out because I'm only 5 months in and it's bound to get better. I just hope that I won't be saying the same thing a year from now.

Luck12

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 08:43:39 AM »
Depends on how close you are to FIRE, more than say 3 years, I'd go for the job where you'd learn more, less than 3, kick back, go for long walks, read in the park, go the gym, etc during works hours like I do. 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2017, 08:47:18 AM »
But how do you know which camp you are in? I don't want to just straight up ask, "Hey, what should I be doing when I have nothing to do?" because that makes me seem like a slacker or unmotivated to walk around and find work for myself. I have, however, asked, "Is there anything else I should be working on?" which is subtly different. This was mainly during my first few months of working, since I wasn't too sure of my responsibilities yet. A year later and I still don't really know but stopped asking the question...


I like your alternative questions. I was once asked at interview what I would do during down-time when there was nothing to do. I suggested proactive things that did not go well. I said I would find it difficult to sit in my chair and do nothing. They looked disappointed. I did not get that (government) job, I think it worked out well for everyone.

marielle

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 08:49:31 AM »
Posting to follow. I don't have two jobs to choose from, but am debating if I should consider leaving. I don't have enough work to fill up 40 hours a week but have to be here 5 days a week plus an hour a day for lunch. I really need to figure out how to create more work for myself to make myself more useful or if it is even worth doing so.

It's even harder because I'm entry level, I have only been working here a year after graduation.

I'm about 5 months into my first job after graduation and I'm in a similar situation. I have all the flexibility I could possibly want and never work more than 40 hours a week, but my days are spent idling. I try to fill the time by reading books and dicking around on the internet, but even that gets old after a while.

I'm still holding out because I'm only 5 months in and it's bound to get better. I just hope that I won't be saying the same thing a year from now.

What is your job and degree? I have a BSME but work as a "Process Engineer", though I basically just do anything random that needs to be done. Mainly it's anything that requires Excel, programming, AutoCAD, or other technology/software since no one else here really knows how. Sometimes I meet with contractors as needed for new installs and other contracted work since this is pretty time-consuming and my boss works a LOT of hours. Other than that there's not much else...

I feel like it got slightly better for me since I set up a few things that I have to maintain or fix, such as written procedures, some tablets others use for data entry, excel sheets, etc.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2017, 09:01:31 AM »
But how do you know which camp you are in?

I've been in the position of extreme boredom (caring for young children) but not per an employer's commands. (All my jobs have been the opposite of boring... insert magical formulas for cramming 80 hours of work into a 40 hour week.)

However, one thing that seems to pop up on these threads is: Employer's response to your actions.

So, if you say, "All the tasks are complete, my coworkers have also indicated they're not in need of help, and the janitor threatened me when I started to put the chairs up..." and Manager gives you no new task at this point, you put your headphones in and do your thing. If no one ever brings it up, or they express delight in and fascination with your art work, you're allowed to do this. If Manager taps you on the shoulder and says, "Hey, no [headphones/notebook/wall pushups/browsers]," then you're in a job that requires you to be bored.

There's a risk, of course, that they don't tap you, but instead observe you, write you up, and eventually fire you for nonproductivity. But the above seems to be how MMM employees are finding out which camp they're in.

marielle

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 09:10:34 AM »
But how do you know which camp you are in?

I've been in the position of extreme boredom (caring for young children) but not per an employer's commands. (All my jobs have been the opposite of boring... insert magical formulas for cramming 80 hours of work into a 40 hour week.)

However, one thing that seems to pop up on these threads is: Employer's response to your actions.

So, if you say, "All the tasks are complete, my coworkers have also indicated they're not in need of help, and the janitor threatened me when I started to put the chairs up..." and Manager gives you no new task at this point, you put your headphones in and do your thing. If no one ever brings it up, or they express delight in and fascination with your art work, you're allowed to do this. If Manager taps you on the shoulder and says, "Hey, no [headphones/notebook/wall pushups/browsers]," then you're in a job that requires you to be bored.

There's a risk, of course, that they don't tap you, but instead observe you, write you up, and eventually fire you for nonproductivity. But the above seems to be how MMM employees are finding out which camp they're in.

Yeah, my boss/employer seems pretty good about being lenient to people (it's hard to find people to hire here so they try to work things out with current employees if possible first), so if I was doing something wrong I think they would tell me. And they haven't. I've only heard good things, "You're one of our top employees", etc. But maybe I'm good enough at looking busy? No one can see my screen without walking into my office where I sit. I'm sure they know I'm not busy 100% of the time, people are allowed to take breaks of course, but they may not know the extent of the time I "waste".

I don't necessarily want to work here forever so it's not a huge loss if in a year or several they eventually decide I'm not proactive enough, but it still bothers me.

robartsd

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 09:23:54 AM »
I'm about 5 months into my first job after graduation and I'm in a similar situation. I have all the flexibility I could possibly want and never work more than 40 hours a week, but my days are spent idling. I try to fill the time by reading books and dicking around on the internet, but even that gets old after a while.

I'm still holding out because I'm only 5 months in and it's bound to get better. I just hope that I won't be saying the same thing a year from now.
Have you discussed this with your supervisor? You can lead with what you've learned to do for your job, then say you feel like you are being underutlizied and ask about opportunities to develop.

Remnace

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2017, 10:29:48 AM »
Have you discussed this with your supervisor? You can lead with what you've learned to do for your job, then say you feel like you are being underutlizied and ask about opportunities to develop.

Yeah I've talked to him about it. He basically keeps saying that eventually a project will come in that I can work on. While that very well may prove true, 5+ months of sitting and waiting is a bit much. At this point I don't even bother to ask for something to do.

robartsd

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2017, 11:19:55 AM »
Have you discussed this with your supervisor? You can lead with what you've learned to do for your job, then say you feel like you are being underutlizied and ask about opportunities to develop.

Yeah I've talked to him about it. He basically keeps saying that eventually a project will come in that I can work on. While that very well may prove true, 5+ months of sitting and waiting is a bit much. At this point I don't even bother to ask for something to do.
If he's aware thay you are an idle resource that is good. If he's not helping you find some way to build your skills while idle that is not so good.

Acastus

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2017, 11:31:14 AM »
Go for the interesting job, especially if retirement is a ways off. Boring is a big part of the reason I want out of the rat race. I think I can find a position that is more rewarding for me and where I would be more valued. Ideally, it will be part time or seasonal, and I can call myself retired.

LPG

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2017, 01:53:54 PM »
I'm going to side with the "Boredom at work is hell" crowd. Meeting the expectations of my bosses at this job takes me about 5-10 hr/week, leaving me with 30-35 hours of desk time to fill.  Originally I filled it by getting better at computer programming, and ended up writing some awesome programs to do a lot of data analysis work for me. Cool! Oh, wait, now I have 2-5 hr/wk of work to do...

It gets very frustrating, and can have a huge impact on the rest of life.

If you have the opportunity to take the boring job but work from home, then I think that would be a great option. You'd have a lot of free time to be able to pursue other interests, or work towards starting your own business. (This, btw, is my current plan to improve my own situation). If that's not an option, I'd absolutely take the more challenging job. A few extra hours per week in exchange for being interested, and engaged would be a great trade IMO.

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2017, 01:59:34 PM »
I agree with the "Boredom at work is hell".  It took me a long time to realize it, but it's soul sapping to come in to a boring job . . . working on your own projects and doing your own thing at work during your down time helps a bit, but it's still tough to deal with day after day.

doctor_octopus

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2017, 05:06:35 PM »
I would side with the boring job if you can work on your side projects.

Just sitting at a terminal and writing in notepad or on blogger for some indeterminate amount of time every day will clear your thoughts. You could make the next mister money mustache website in your free time and possibly retire early if you strike a chord with your audience.

There are bloggers making roughly 200k/yr from their blogs and they're not even fully monetized, not that I recommend making a blog as a cash grab. It's a small crowd, but others are doing it.

If you don't want to do that you could just find gigs to do on upwork or fiverr and save money into a vacation account you can daydream about while at work.

Your free time at home is therefore close to infinite and you can spend all your off-work time doing something productive like getting laid or doing something worth telling people cool stories about. Then you can blog about it.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 05:19:00 PM by doctor_octopus »

Case

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2017, 01:57:20 PM »
I would side with the boring job if you can work on your side projects.

Just sitting at a terminal and writing in notepad or on blogger for some indeterminate amount of time every day will clear your thoughts. You could make the next mister money mustache website in your free time and possibly retire early if you strike a chord with your audience.

There are bloggers making roughly 200k/yr from their blogs and they're not even fully monetized, not that I recommend making a blog as a cash grab. It's a small crowd, but others are doing it.

If you don't want to do that you could just find gigs to do on upwork or fiverr and save money into a vacation account you can daydream about while at work.

Your free time at home is therefore close to infinite and you can spend all your off-work time doing something productive like getting laid or doing something worth telling people cool stories about. Then you can blog about it.

Definitely disagree with this!
Although it is conceivably possible for this to work out, it seems unlikely because:
1.  Highly profitable blogs are quite rare, and I would guess someone who has a boring job for the purpose of writing a successful blog... is going to be the type of person that can be successful at this.
2.  Work may catch on to your activities
3.  For many people, it's an unsatisfying existence to basically have no real accomplishments in your job.

EngiNerd

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2017, 06:46:45 PM »
I decided to stay with the assumed more difficult job over the job prospect and still do not feel confident in my decision.  It seems silly to pass on a easier job with more guaranteed money because if I stay where I am at I should be promoted up to the same level of compensation but with a much better pension (which I don't know I should even count on since it is 20 years away).  This job will lead to much more responsibility (which I go back and forth whether that's a plus or not).  I've had boring unrewarding jobs in the past and it did not feel good.  Although you have the ability to try and expand your knowledge by reading about finances (that's where I first discovered MMM), side hustles, etc. it is almost always accompanied by a combination of guilt and anxiety that someone will realize you are wasting time.  On the other hand it seems like that is a very good problem to have, job being too easy.  If it is that easy why not just master it and then it shouldn't be stressful that you have down time when there is no more work to do. 

Brother Esau

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2017, 07:54:28 AM »
I'm an engineer and recently switched from a private industry job to a municipal town job.

The positives are a shorter work week (35 hours), shorter commute (save 1 hour per day), more vacation time, more paid holidays, better/cheaper health care and a pension which will become available to me in 5 years.

The only negative is a slightly less salary (+/- 10%). Guaranteed raises each year though, will have this being made up in 2 - 3 years. We are on track for RE in less than 10 years.

I wouldn't describe the new job as boring but it is definitely a more chill vibe. It's nice to dig into a project without the pressure of a deadline or justifying the amount of time spent on it. I couldn't have done this type of job early in my career. I consider this job change part of my "exit strategy" for getting to FIRE!

robartsd

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Re: Challenging Job with Slight Stress Vs Easy Boring Job
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2017, 09:27:50 AM »
I'm an engineer and recently switched from a private industry job to a municipal town job.

The positives are a shorter work week (35 hours), shorter commute (save 1 hour per day), more vacation time, more paid holidays, better/cheaper health care and a pension which will become available to me in 5 years.

The only negative is a slightly less salary (+/- 10%). Guaranteed raises each year though, will have this being made up in 2 - 3 years. We are on track for RE in less than 10 years.

I wouldn't describe the new job as boring but it is definitely a more chill vibe. It's nice to dig into a project without the pressure of a deadline or justifying the amount of time spent on it. I couldn't have done this type of job early in my career. I consider this job change part of my "exit strategy" for getting to FIRE!
This is a pretty common move. Build a career in the private sector, then exit through public sector to reap the benefits of public employee pensions and post employment medical benefits. With the time you gained, your real hourly wage went up in spite of your salary reduction.

It's great when the workforce is not stressed about what they are unable to do, but willing to do what they can the best that they can. It is frustrating when the system/workforce is resistant to making changes that would help get the work done more effectively.