By Gladys Mae
Gladys serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute.
It’s a horrible thought, but many people hate their job. Despite taking up the best hours of the day for five (or sometimes more) days a week, many people wake up each morning dreading the thought of going to work. Over the longer term this can lead to anxiety, even depression, and is not a healthy place for a person to be.
It’s easy to simply dismiss this with nonsense phrases like “work isn’t meant to be fun” or “you should work to live, not live to work”, but these fail to properly articulate the impact than an unfulfilling job can have on a person. Jobs can be hard and stressful, but if they’re also not rewarding then it’s time to start considering whether you’re in the right organisation or doing the right kind of work for you.
However, it could also be that you’re having a bad week or month. Work isn’t always going to be enjoyable or rewarding, and it’s important to be able to tell the difference between work that is genuinely unfulfilling and unrewarding to you, and work that is simply getting you down temporarily.
So if you’re starting to feel uncomfortable about your job, the first task should be to narrow down whether it is a temporary disappointment, or a proper incompatibility between yourself and your work. The International Career Institute ‘Do You Really Hate Your Job?’ 10-question quiz will help you determine which group you belong in, and from there you will be able to start to manage the problems that you’re facing. This is because your responses if you really do hate your job will be different to how you respond if you’re only having a bad week.
First of all, don’t let this realisation get you down or lead you to panic, because you’re not alone. Statistics suggest that as many as 80% of people are not satisfied with their jobs, and within that percentage there will be plenty of people that – like you – stress about the coming week on a Sunday night.
You might not even be in a position to quit. In the kind of difficult jobs market that we currently have, unless you’ve got at least six months wage saved up then it’s not a good idea to leave yourself hanging without work. Being ‘stuck’ in a job without an escape can lead to a feeling of helplessness, and can be a stressful experience, but the good news is that there are some simple things you can do to help. These might lead you to a new job, or simply to be in a position to quit your current position.
LinkedIn is something most of us join, and then never check back aside from when we get an email saying that someone wants to add us to their network. But used right, it can be a far more valuable tool than that. Engage in discussions with other people in your line of work. Join groups and keep an eye on the jobs listings.
In the modern world finding work is as much about knowing the right people as it is applying for ads, so make your presence and competencies known, and an opportunity might just fall in your lap.
You could find skill areas related to your work that you are currently weak at, and improve them. Doing so looks good on the resume, gives you engaging work to do unrelated to the day-to-day job you hate, and gives you greater expertise. It’s a win on all counts!
If you’re an accountant who spends the entire day daydreaming about their blog on a completely different topic, perhaps it’s a sign that you shouldn’t be an accountant. Many professionals have what they see as creative hobbies that they would much rather be their career. It can be difficult making it as a painter, photographer, or writer, but it can be done. So, use the income from the job you hate to investigate how to make a career out of your dream job instead.
The best way to handle a job you hate is to remove your emotional investment from it, and the best way to do this is for work to not be the focus of your life. Having a social life outside of work helps (and is something that many of us forget about), but even taking up some secondary work or consulting can help remind you that your skills and experience are valuable and that there will be work for you outside of this job.
You hate your job and this means you want out. You might even find an opportunity to get out in the near future. But, right up until the day you leave, it’s important that you continue to do your job well and handle yourself professionally. In the modern workplace, people move between jobs a lot, and people talk. If you start burning bridges, your lack of professionalism may well come back to bite you at a future date.
Store it away for the day that you escape the shackles and find a job that suits you better. Work hard on meeting your goals, and you’ll be able to enjoy before it’s even had a chance to age!
The good news first: you don’t actually hate your job. You’re in the minority 20% of people who are satisfied with their work, it’s just that you’re not necessarily having a good time of it at the moment. If you handle things right then that feeling will pass, and you’ll be back loving your job in no time.
But now for the bad news: if you let the negative emotions fester, the bad week you’re having could evolve into a proper hatred for your job in general. It’s important that you take some initiative and deal with the source of the stress early.