So you hate your job? Your 8 Step Guide to Getting Back On Track
So you hate your job. You have to push yourself to get to work everyday. Hour after hour, you wait for the day to end, for any opportunity to stop working. You miss your deadlines. You feel cut off from your colleagues. You don’t know if you can talk to your boss. There seems to be no one to turn to for help. You feel like you are wasting your time. Your confidence is dwindling. Sometimes, you feel cheated by your organisation, your team, your manager. At other times, you feel like you are cheating all of them by drawing a pay cheque for no real work done. You feel uncredited for your contribution, thwarted in your ability to shine. The unhappiness from work spills over into your personal life. You can neither focus on work nor play. Every now and again, you find yourself browsing job postings on employment forums or adventure getaways and yoga retreats. Anything to get you out of the rut. But where do you begin?
First, take heart, because you are not alone. Many have fought and none have died in the battle for job satisfaction! Here is an 8 step guide to help you ‘pull yourself up from the bootstraps’.
1. Identify the reason(s) to hate your Job – Often, there are many reasons and they are interlinked. For example:
“a) Manager micromanages. Do not feel in control. Lose motivation to work.
b) Missed the promotion this year. Reason stated was lack of proactivity.
c) Have been here for 5 years. Repititive nature of work. Nothing new to learn. End up doing only the bare-minimum”
2. Identify the things that you still love about your job. There is always at least one. (Recall why you accepted the job in the first place) For example:
“a) Enjoy a customer facing role
b) Appreciate the company’s commitment to work-life balance – working hours, community events, in-house creche for children”
3. Identify which aspects are within your control.
Could you speak to your manager about getting more autonomy? Is there a way to demonstrate your accountability better so he/she will feel comfortable granting you the freedom that you ask for?
Can you opt for training within the company? Does the company have a provision to take paid leave to avail training outside the company?
Can you initiate a new self-driven project that you will eventually present to senior management?
4. Find a friend in the office. Find a friend outside the office.
A colleague-friend will understand the dynamics of the workplace and be able to directly relate to your challenges. S/he may also be able to give you relevant advice for your context.
Equally, it is important to reach out to family or close friends outside the office. These people will remind you that the job may be important but it isn’t the be all and end all of life. Family and friends who work in very different fields from you may also bring in relevant perspectives from their professions that you and your colleagues may have missed.
5. Research your options.
What is the job market like? Should you choose to quit, what opportunities are available for you to transition to? What will be the bargain to make w.r.t compensation, career prospects and lifestyle?
6. Make a list of your priorities.
What do you value most – domain of work, career prospects in the long term, work environment, autonomy at work, community of co-workers …? All of us know our priorities but seeing them listed often helps when a troublesome job situation is driving you into a corner.
7. Set a timeframe. Make an action plan.
Give yourself a period of time to work on the things that are within your sphere of control. Perhaps you will find that when you take a few steps to help yourself, your boss or your co-workers will meet you halfway in alleviating your situation. Maybe you will be offered a suitable role in the same company. Maybe you will be recommended for a training program. You will be able to keep your job and you would have found a way of reinventing it for yourself every time you reach a stage where you “hate it”.
After you have tried to your satisfaction, if you are unable to find a resolution and are still in the doldrums, then take the plunge. Quit the job that you hate and find one that you will love. When you go, go with grace and goodwill. Be sincere about your thank yous. Make your grievances heard but don’t burn your bridges.
8. Find the lesson in the adversity.
No experience goes to waste. What doesn’t teach you what to do, teaches you what not to do. If you quit a job because of the way your boss treated you, you will know what kind of boss you don’t want to be. If you are in a role that doesn’t interest you, it will push you to introspect and find what it is that you will really enjoying doing.
Remember, you are in control.