I don't know when I'll finally accept the fact that the entirety of my post-college life will be all about work. It's obviously admirable to be a productive member of society, but the constant hustle can get monotonous even if you love your job.
That's where auditory stimulation must come in. Channeling your frustrations into the right song can work wonders in restraining your bitch-slapping hand when dealing with difficult colleagues. And the right playlist can further lighten your mood on a great work day and give you the energy you need to churn out awesome work by deadline.
Here is my mix of a few songs that keep me going through the various highs and lows of work life. Full disclosure: Someone once told me I’d make a terrible DJ because my mixtapes were so random. But I think the assortment of songs here make musical sense.
The expression on my “work” face never betrays the fact that I am often listening to the most ignorant rap music at my desk.
So, ugh, it’s Monday
The worst Monday I ever had was after a birthday weekend spent working on a daunting project. In this position, I often brought home weekend work from my demanding bosses, but that particular weekend was supposed to be spent celebrating my life, not sobbing about the lack of control I felt over it. I think my eyes were still swollen the following Monday.
“I'm Good, I'm Gone” by Lykke Li motivated me to get out of bed on that dreaded morning.
There's also “Take Me Over” by Cut Copy. When these Australians croon, “Some people cling to what they know/But I woke up/Now it’s time to go…,” I remember that I need to face every scary challenge head on, even if it is something as simple as a Monday morning at a job of which I'm not particularly fond.
When You Want to Slap a Bitch
“Now, if I never give Janday work, this is why.” This is what a colleague once told my boss behind my back days after I thought we'd settled an innocent misunderstanding between the two of us. Of course “Barbara” assured me, with a wide grin, that there was no issue at all when I calmly addressed her conversation with my boss.
“Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar was one of the songs that calmed my spirit so I wouldn't go off like a cast member of the “Bad Girls Club.”
If a colleague angers you, listen to this and repeat “Bitch don’t kill my vibe” over and over (in your head) until you feel better. I swear it works.
Right after my boss told me about Barbara's sneak attack on my work I played Chief Keef's "I Don't Like Remix" on my iPhone at maximum value, shouting (again, in my head) “SNEAK DISSA/THAT’S THAT SHIT I DON’T LIKE!” Sometimes listing all the shit you don’t like is as cathartic as keeping a gratitude journal.
When You're Doubting Yourself
I once had a micromanaging boss who, on a daily basis, gave me multiple research assignments with tight deadlines. Then every few minutes he would message me to check on my progress and to tell me that the information I was giving him was wrong. I hated the way my heart rate sped up every time I received an email from him. I often left work doubting myself and my intellectual capabilities. I once got reprimanded because the staple in a document I put together appeared crooked.
“Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer helped remind me that I wasn't an idiot without a future, even during my worst days.
“Now the world can be an unfair place at times/But your lows will have their compliment of highs/And if anyone should cheat you/Take advantage of or beat you/raise your head/And wear your wounds with pride.” This. Verse. Gets. Me. Every. Time.
Every time I feel discouraged, just hearing the opening line of Drake's “Started from the Bottom” reminds me that we all have to start from somewhere, and that is often the bottom. Then I visualize myself doing Drake’s gold bullion dance so it will be my reality someday.
When You Know You’re the Shit
At my new gig, my boss is impressed by everything I do, including things as simple as me taking notes during meetings. Random employees keep telling me, “I’ve heard great things about you." As unaccustomed as I was to to this constant praise, I can't complain about the extra confidence it's given me. And there are a few songs that help keep that confidence up -- where it should be.
Walking and talking like a "Champion" Buju Banton-style will absolutely boost your self-esteem, which in turn will get you positive attention in the workplace. It’s a cyclical effect.
And for those moments when you're already in the zone, killing shit at work and no one can tell you a damn thing otherwise, there's “Cudi Zone” by Kid Cudi.
There have many times when I sat in my cubicle and asked myself existential questions like, “Can this be life?” or “What is the meaning of work?” But all these songs helped me preserve my sanity. But there is always room for more. I want to know the songs that ease your work grind. Sharing is caring!