Feeling a bit like a black sleep? The age-old formula for finding a job doesn’t allow much room for personal preference — go to school, get a degree, get a job...

What if you don’t want to work in an office or have set hours or be in the same place all the time? Here are the signs you’re probably better suited to an alternative work schedule.

1) You feel suffocated

Some people love the structure, prestige and security of working for a big company. Others can find this work environment incredibly restrictive and draining. If you find yourself constantly looking for excuses to get out of the office such as taking the long way back from lunch then you’re probably better suited to a different work environment.

What to do about it

If your job allows for it, open up a conversation with your manager or boss around finding alternative places for you to work. This could be a different room in the same building or work from home 1–2 days a week. You could also ask if there are any opportunities that would allow you to work in new environments or travel and ask to be considered first if they come up.

If that still doesn’t help there are hundreds of jobs that allow you to be somewhere other than an office. It might be time to consider switching to a role that allows you to work outside or whatever your preference might be.

2) You don’t like routine

Whilst some can thrive on knowing exactly what time they’re expected to clock in and clock out, others work better when they can fit their work around other aspects of their life.

What to do about it

If you have a strong relationship with your boss and have a great performance record then you’re in a good position to ask for changes to your work schedule. This could mean coming in early so you get more of the afternoon free or getting in later and being the last one to leave. Either way, you should open up a discussion around your options.

If you don’t feel comfortable having this conversation then it could be a sign to look for a new role or industry (or working for yourself!). You have plenty of options other than the standard 8 hour work day.

3) Processes drive you nuts

The typical 9-to-5 job generally comes with its fair share of paperwork and processes. So if filling out forms and making spreadsheets makes you want to tear your hair out, it could end up becoming a problem.

What to do about it

The reality is regardless of whether you work a traditional job, an ‘alternative’ job or end up working for yourself you’re always going to need to fill out some form of paperwork in order to adhere to all the requirements of a business.

If it’s simply that you find the technology overwhelming then ask for some more training from your boss or invest in some training yourself. If you’re in a position to so (lucky you!) then this could also be one task that you outsource to someone else in the form of an assistant or helper.

If neither of these options is available you can always make some kind of deal with a team member. Perhaps someone else likes the data side of things but hates something that you particularly enjoy. You can come up with some sort of agreement to trade work that keeps you both happy. Just be sure to let your manager or boss know of the agreement.

4) You don’t like being told what to do

Who doesn’t? Whilst we might think this is a universal trait, some actually enjoy being delegated tasks and having someone to structure their workload for them. Not everyone enjoys this kind of management though, in fact, some people actually despise having someone decide their decisions for them.

What to do about it

It’s pretty obvious — you should be your own boss. This doesn’t mean flipping your desk over and handing in your notice right then and there. You need to ensure you set yourself for a sustainable and successful business once you do decide to leave.

Keep it in the back of your mind and work on it in your own time, so one day soon you can walk away knowing that you only need to answer to yourself.

The main message

Despite what we’re told, the reality is not everyone is meant for the standard way of doing things. If you identify with all the points above then don’t sacrifice any more of your precious time trying to fit into someone else's ideal.

Life’s simply too short to get stuck in a job you don’t enjoy, so make it your mission right now to focus on fixing your current situation or finding a new one.