So many of us search for that dream job and instead find ourselves in a bad dream, having to get out of bed every morning to start another day of misery. It happens to the best of us. At some point in our professional careers we have all had doubts about our place at work. We've pondered quitting our jobs, leaving a note to loved ones, buying a one way ticket to the closet tropical paradise and living out the rest of our days in a swimsuit. Leaving a job for a fresh start is not an option for many who are literally stuck at work. Financial reasons and lack of experience denying us access to better opportunities are usually the main causes. The situation may seem daunting so ticklemybrain has prepared an eight-step guide on how to cope with your job when you know you just can't quit:
1. i find myself in an odd place: Try to find the source of your unhappiness as this is the essence to solving almost any problem: (a) Is it the sheer planetary existence of your boss? (b) Is it a bad work environment? Has the office microwave been placed inside your cubicle due to space constraints? (c) Are you constantly being asked to do your colleague's work because he simply does not have the mental capacity to do so? (d) Are you feeling useless and wishing to be assigned more responsibility? Or quite the opposite. Are you feeling underpaid and overwhelmed with work? Do you never have time to do your laundry because you, in every meaning of the word, live at the office? The reasons can be many. Sometimes the work you signed up for turns out to be totally different than what you had expected.
2. why so stuck: List the reasons that are prime for your quarantine. The top two winners are usually income problems (you work at a boring job or a job that you are over qualified for just to keep cash flowing your way) and our horrendous economy (the lack of jobs has left many people settling for jobs they hate or salaries that are unfair). Ask yourself what you would do if your current job disappeared.
3. the hate/love list: Make a list about the things that you hate about your job. Despite what you may think, there is no such answer as 'everything'. Be reasonable and specific. If your boss is the reason, list the things that you hate about him or her: (a) I don’t like when my boss changes the course of the schedule mid project for every project! This results in a waste of my time and energy and affects my evaluation. (b) I don't like it when my boss spends half the day screaming at her boyfriend on the phone. I wish they would just break up. (c) I don't like it when my boss forgets his own requests and then questions why his food is too spicy. Next, compile another list about what you love about your job. Again, there is no such answer as 'nothing'. It is possible that if your boss ceased to exist, you would actually love your work. If you weren't forced to come in on weekends, maybe less hatred would be spurring from deep within your soul.
4. scratch that off the list: Scan the list of dislikes, and spot the things that can be resolved: (a) Are you facing problems with your co-worker? Open conversation with the said colleague and attempt to make objective and reasonable compromises. (b) Are you unhappy with the work itself? Ask your manager to put you on assignments that entail less of the work you hate. Always keep in mind that you have to fill your resume with work relevant to the field you seek to prosper in. Speak up and don’t waste your time doing just any work because any job could be just as harmful as no job. (c) Do you feel that you’re constantly bored, useless and can definitely do more? Let your boss know that your job lacks the challenge you desire. Request more responsibility and show interest in projects that you feel you are capable of handling. (d) Distant co-workers is it? Lighten up the mood around the office. Every one loves dessert so bring in snacks and spark conversations. (e) If you think you are underpaid for someone in your position, then begin your search about where you stand salary-wise with respect to your particular industry. If your research supports your doubts, set up a meeting with your boss, discuss your concerns and politely ask (granted it is well-deserved) for a raise with your armor in hand. Don't forget to scan the list of likes to see how you can maintain it and increase its size.
5. sense of optimism: Remember that the good times, weekends and vacations, are just around the corner. Keep a positive attitude and try to stay engaged within the task at hand. This is not the end of the world. Hardly anyone these days has only one career; the average nowadays is five. If you want to get somewhere, hating on your life day and night will get you nowhere.
6. life beyond borders: See if the company pays for employee trainings or workshops that you can benefit from. Learn a new language, take up a musical instrument, attend photography workshops, join a gym - night classes might give you something to look forward to during the day. You might even fall in love with your new activity and decide that this new source of joy is what you would love to take on professionally. Your job takes up a big part of your life, but not your life. Don’t fall into the work-eat-sleep dreary monotony.
7. have a kit-kat: The best bosses know that effective work can be done only with breaks taken every now and then. No one can keep their head down for nine straight hours. Humor can break the monotony of a boring or stressful day. Chatting over the water cooler, planning out your weekend, talking about food, checking out blogs irrelevant to your work during lunch breaks are some of many options. This will reenergize your brain for fulfilling the rest of the day’s work. If you feel that you really need the day off to rest your nagging self, call in sick. It’s okay to pull a Ferris Bueller every now and then. Do so moderately however, or you will soon find yourself without any job to hate.
8. creating time: If you find that all the above methods failed to put a ding in that core system of yours, it’s time to tickle. Nothing is worth feeling miserable over. You might have reached the point where you know you need another job, but you’re thinking about how will you be able to squeeze in a job search when work is already eating up all of your day. Make time for that job hunt by wisely cutting down on your work hours. Career coaches advise that you search for new openings before you quit for being an employed job seeker has more advantages.
If you have no choice but to stay at your current job, then you have nothing to lose by attempting the above options. You might even start to like your work. As a final note, we surely do not want to put forth the message that you should settle for a job you hate. ticklemybrain is for certain not an advocate of mediocrity. If you seek change badly enough, you can make it happen. The power lies within.
speak up: Are you facing a similar problem with your job? Share your story with us in the comment box below.