[Serious] How do you find happiness and purpose in our "9 to 5" society?

I work as a software developer in university administration. When I got my job, my stepdad said to me "Now you are part of 'The Man'", and that terrified me.

But something that woke me up is realizing the world burns without people working 9-5 (I work 7-4, however). I don't think I ever dreaded the idea of working, I just never really had the confidence in myself that I could handle it. I had for a while, planned on getting my PhD and working as a professor instead, but I didn't really enjoy university teaching.

I still want to get my PhD (without strong plans for what I will do with it, once I get it). The thing that really drives my life is doing genuinely new stuff, but the world doesn't really run on new stuff. It runs on stable, organized, and reliable systems with consistent behavior. The people I work with are a great group of people too, and that is something I would say is necessary. You want to feel like you 'fit' in the places you work at.

I think part of what screws you up is you get this idea of what 'things will be like' before you even get there. It messes up your expectations of what you can do when you are in the places you are in, when you are there. There's a meme that runs through youth that corporate living is soul sucking, you can't change anything, and the only reason people work is to buy stuff. You can spend 5 minutes believing that, but I think you might be ignoring a large facet of portions of life you might take for granted. Change is slow, especially in organizations that are gigantic and run on complex principles that have taken decades and centuries and millennia to evolve into the systems people rely on today.

Sometimes it is hard to find purpose, but sometimes you have to make your own purpose as you go. I would say this is more likely the case, 99% of the time. Everyone around you as an adult is doing just that. No one else can hand you purpose, they are fairly busy getting by themselves. Sometimes you can be the person that gives other people purpose, or that gives them reason to believe they have purpose.

/r/AskReddit Thread