Do You Hate Your Job?

A lot of people are very dissatisfied with their job, are you one of them? I recently learned that one of my own vehemently hates his job, so this one is for you CAH.

Doing something every day that you dread, something that makes you fume, something that makes your stomach churn and your sleep restless is extremely bad – for your health, for your family, for your friends and for your life.

My spouse stuck with a job for 30 plus years and says he hated it. He worked long hours at a high pressure job he really didn’t believe in and it took a toll. He had a job that paid barely enough (in his opinion) to keep the family going. His job was tedious, but required lots of mental ability to do the calculations and keep up with the regulations.  He felt that his chances for promotion were overlooked in spite of his efforts to do a great job – in favor of meeting non-discrimination regulation requirements. The work just kept coming at him and although he did work lots of paid overtime, he could never get ahead of it. The pressure from management to keep the ‘queue’ of work down was relentless. Plus, he felt trapped in the job. He felt he had to keep it to make sure that I could stay home with the babies and that we had food and shelter.

When he came home for a few hours at night, he was so tired that he didn’t feel like interacting with our babies; so stressed that he snapped at the slightest mishap and so angry that it seemed like all he did was yell and complain. Needless to say, our relationship suffered, his health suffered and now he has a list of regrets about not being the father, husband, son, brother and friend he feels he should have been.

We eventually alleviated the situation when I retrained for a high paying career and went to work full time (after those 10 years at home with the kids).

So, are you working a job you hate? What are the symptoms?

Symptoms that you hate your job.

  • You dread going to work.
  • You work long hours but don’t get things done the way the boss wants.
  • You aren’t interested in the work you have to do.
  • You are tired, stressed out, sick, angry or depressed.

If you have the above symptoms, you aren’t alone. There are a lot of reasons people hate their jobs.

Reasons people hate their jobs

They are bored.

Maybe you are bored, doing the same darn thing over and over. Maybe the job isn’t using your expertise or intelligence – it’s too easy, not challenging.

They can’t take pride in the job they are doing.

Maybe you do a terrific job, but don’t feel pride in your work because you think the work you do doesn’t matter or isn’t ethical. Perhaps the end product you help produce is out of kilter with what you believe – your value system. If you work for a candy factory, producing treats, but believe that sugar is harmful to people, you may not feel pride about your role in making those sugary treats for folks to eat.

Work doesn’t fulfill them.

If you have a big goal in life and don’t feel that your job is letting you work toward that goal, you won’t feel good about the work.

They are overworked.

Does it seem like you are always working? 10 hours a day at the office plus commute time AND the boss expects you to be available 24 x 7. Maybe the company continually requires you to work nights and weekends. If that is the case, it can make you want to get out of the situation. Consider though, whether the situation is temporary or permanent. If temporary, you might just be burnt out and a bit of time away will put things back in perspective for you.

They don’t feel respected.

If your voice isn’t heard, if you don’t receive any information from management about company/department direction, or if you, your work or your opinions are belittled or ignored by the boss or your co workers, you certainly won’t feel respected.

They are in constant fear of losing their job.

If the job you do or the industry you are in is on the verge of collapse or if you have to watch every word and deed to avoid reprimand, it can be very stressful. If you are being asked to do a task or job for which you are not prepared and can’t get the training, help or information on how to be successful, you will fear for your livelihood.

They perceive a lack of opportunity, advancement and/or pay increases.

Opportunity takes many forms – new projects, ways to participate in the mission, input to company management, visibility to executive management, training, being asked to lead or teach. If you feel like you never get any of these it can be disheartening. When you are not free to exercise creative control over your work you can feel like your boss is micromanaging every aspect of your day – which is not pleasant.

Last but not least, they hate the people with whom they work.

Your boss is incompetent, overbearing, unfair or a micro manager. Your coworkers spend the day goofing off – not working on the project for which you bear responsibility or a co-worker just goes out of their way to bad mouth you or pick fights.

So, you hate your job. What do you do about it?

Don’t let what you do define you.

Know that you are more than the job. Your worth as a person isn’t tied to your work.

Don’t just quit (unless you really don’t need to work).

A regular paycheck, health benefits and etc go a long way towards making life more comfortable.

Acknowledge that NO job, no business of your own, will be all sunshine and roses.

I had a job that I loved, but there were certain aspects of it that I really hated – like being on call. There were certain people with whom I worked that I could have done without. But, overall, in my mind, I could balance out the bad stuff with all the good stuff about the job.

Know that you CAN (sometimes) influence your workplace.

If something isn’t working for you, it probably is causing consternation in others as well. See if you can find a way to change the situation. Granted, some problems in some industries don’t lend themselves to change, but many do. You most likely won’t be able to get your marketing clients to stop spending their marketing dollars on projects at your firm at year end and requesting multiple changes at the last minute. But perhaps you can suggest training for the client facing managers who commit to unreasonable client demands so that those managers are better equipped to negotiate solutions that work for both client and employees.

Set a goal to be financially independent.

Financial independence is defined by me as ‘not having to work for a living full time’. You don’t have to be a millionaire to have some financial independence. Savings plus part time work could be enough if your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are held in check.

Pursue a plan to set aside funds that you can use to get by on while you seek your life’s true path. Yes, it will take a while, but if you don’t start you will never get there. Just knowing that independence is in your future can be a source of calm.

Assess all aspects of the job.

What parts of the job do you hate, what parts are ok, are there any you actually appreciate?

Are there parts of the job, the work or your day that could inspire gratitude in you? Perhaps just having a paying job makes you grateful, or maybe the commute to/from work is short or pleasant, or maybe the physical surroundings are well planned and comfortable. Maybe the cafeteria has great food, or you’ve made friends with the janitor. Maybe you’ve been able to develop a new skill, grow your stamina, learn to lead or feel good about helping your co-workers or clients. Make a list of the good or acceptable parts of the job.

What parts of the job are so-so. What parts of the job are just plain unacceptable. List them out and work to find ways to side step, change or eliminate the unacceptable

Assess all potential opportunities within the company.

If you work for a larger company, perhaps you could transfer to another area, or perform a different function more in line with what you seek. If you are at a smaller company, perhaps you can think through and implement changes in your current position that will make you happier – by removing unacceptable tasks somehow and adding ones beneficial to you and the company.

When I worked as a project manager at a large mutual fund processing company, I was able to move around to multiple different positions, building a better network, learning new functions and developing a better idea of the big picture.

Change your mindset.

If you have to stay put, or if you aren’t ready to make the job or career change yet, change the way you think about the job. Instead of complaining, being angry or purposefully slowing down on the job, find ways to make it more tolerable by changing your mindset.

When my spouse was ‘trapped’ in that job he hated, he tried to gain some satisfaction by making sort of a game out of the work – finding ways to make the transactions process faster or with better quality.

At Walmart one day, the checker told me he was timing himself to see how long it took to check out each person, saying he was trying to beat his time.

At my job, when I was feeling overworked, I would try to do more in fewer hours and then let the rest go until the next day. I would take a break at lunch and get outside for a walk. Controlling burnout went a long way to making me more productive and better satisfied.

In Medical Daily article How To Be Happy At Work, Harvard-trained psychologist Shawn Achor says,

“…[a] change in perception can start simply by asking yourself three questions: How can I reach out and better connect with my co-workers, neighbors, or friends? What are some ways my actions matter to the world? What am I proud of accomplishing today?”Once you have your answers, it’ll be easier to cultivate happiness and success in both your professional and personal life.”

Assess yourself.

What do you enjoy doing? Are there dreams you want to realize? What makes you comfortable, excited, energized or content? If you don’t know where you want to go, you will never get there.

Don’t ask yourself what makes you happy, ask yourself what makes you content. Think about who you admire and why – what is it they do? Ask yourself what really makes you irritated or cringe or scorn.

Use breaks and available off hours to explore opportunities, training, or to prepare to start that search for a new job or a different career.

If you decide to leave or move around in the company, prepare.

Seek out training that will move you towards your goal. Seminars, online training, company training, classes and more are available.

Make your interests known (in a positive way) to your co-workers, your boss and your network of contacts. Perhaps your boss doesn’t know that you are really good at and would love to work on a certain project.

Set goals to learn new skills on this job, try out ways to be more efficient with things that will be needed if you change jobs or careers.

Get a life outside of work.

If you can’t get satisfaction at work, at least do something you enjoy on a regular basis outside of work. No matter what, whether it is watching a favorite movie or negotiating world peace, whether it is playing with the dogs or helping a neighbor shovel the snow off their driveway – do something that makes you content.

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