Rhonda Scharf shares tips to help you create a better situation for yourself
We all have days when we don’t feel like going to work. But have you ever reached a point where you dreaded going into work? When you basically disliked everything about your job?
Maybe you kept putting one foot in front of the other while looking for another job – searching for anything that would get you away from where you were.
If that’s where you are right now, you are not alone.
It is a really difficult situation, especially during the pandemic, because we know that not everyone is able to quit the job they hate while waiting for a job they love to appear. You still have to pay the bills. Walking away isn’t an option for most people.
So, we stay. We stay in the job we hate, and each day it pulls us further and further away from the things we love.
But there is hope! Here are five great pieces of advice – tips to help give you the momentum to keep going and eventually create a better situation for yourself. These aren’t “think positive and you’ll be okay” motivational candies. Instead, they’re practical and useful. They’ll help you keep going even though the going is tough.
1. Put You First
To take care of anything (or anyone), you need to ensure that your mental and physical health come first. Choose what is best for you before choosing what is best for the company. That means you need to prioritize your rest, diet, and work/life balance.
Sometimes when we really hate our job, it is due to unreasonable demands and hours. Are you overworked? Do you have any time in your life for anything but work?
Start making sure that your job is not the only thing you do each day. Ensure that each day or week you carve out time:
- to shop for healthy food (instead of always doing takeaway on the run)
- to get eight hours of sleep each night (or at the very least, six)
- to enjoy a hobby (and if you need to find one, start looking)
- to do your job hunting
- for friends and family (whom you enjoy being around)
- for exercise and
- for anything else that brings you joy
We can get overwhelmed when we’re unhappy and that can paralyze us, preventing us from taking any action toward self-help. You can avoid that paralysis by putting your basic needs first. It’s not being selfish – it’s being smart, and in the long run you’ll be helping not only yourself but the ones you love.
2. Focus on This Hour or This Moment
Don’t let panic about your future take over. You can’t worry that you’ll never get another job you love, that this job will ruin your motivation forever, or that it will hurt you in the long run.
Focus on what you are doing this hour or at this moment. It makes sense that your extreme unhappiness finds you struggling – that would be the case for anyone in your situation. Give yourself permission to be unhappy with your job, but don’t project that unhappiness onto your future.
Be as present and mindful as you can be at the moment you are in. Don’t worry about the future right now; just focus on this hour or this moment.
3. Diagnose the Dislike
It is essential to figure out what it is about your current job that has made you so unhappy. Is it the tasks? The company? The culture? Your boss? To ensure you don’t fall into the same trap again in the future, you need to reflect on what it is you want and what you don’t want.
Will money make the difference? Is it who you work with? Are your co-workers the reason you don’t feel happy? Do you feel like you don’t belong? Is there something you’re being asked to do that doesn’t sit right with you? Do you feel like your opinion isn’t valued or you’re being disrespected?
Ask yourself what you want. What are you motivated by? What did you like about your other jobs? Do you need flexibility, meaningful work, respect, great co-workers, a different location, collaborative working, or something else?
Write down all of the things you dislike about your job. Then write down the things you really like about it. Pros and cons. Once you see them on paper, it will be easier to spot what you need to adjust (if possible). You’ll also pick out things that will be non-negotiable for your next job.
This reflection will take time, but if you sit down daily and think about everything that happened at work each day, and how the day went, it will help you identify where the issues lie and where the gaps are. That will be an enormous help in your job search.
4. Implement Systems and Routines
Daily routines can help to keep us from feeling overwhelmed. Have a regular personal routine that you follow Monday to Friday. For instance: sleep, work, exercise, and routines while at work. Use to-do lists to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed while you are at work and routines for the after-work hours to ensure you are doing things other than work.
Systems and routines allow you to focus on what you can control. Just working and then falling into bed until the next day doesn’t give you control at all.
It can also be helpful to set milestones each day, such as walking 7,000 steps or being in bed by 11 p.m. Ensure you are eating healthy foods and not drinking too much. Once you’re in your dream job, you can relax a bit more. But until then, having some rules and accountability will help you feel more in control of your future.
5. Ask for Help
This is the step many people shy away from. Just because you’re in a job that isn’t a good fit for you, does not mean there is anything wrong with you. You should not be ashamed of your situation in any way. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot – you wouldn’t judge the other person, you’d help them.
So, reach out to your network for support, job leads, and a listening ear. The social media channels for Executive Support Magazine are strong, and I can guarantee your plea will not go unanswered if you ask this community for help. Obviously, be aware that people at your current organization may be able to read your posts, so keep that in mind.
And don’t assume that because your unhappiness is so obvious to you, your co-workers see it as well. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t wait for them to come to you with assistance. Also, many people don’t know how to offer support when it hasn’t been asked for. So don’t assume they don’t care – set yourself up for success by speaking up and asking for what you need.
Being in a job you hate isn’t nearly as uncommon as it may feel to you right now. However, passively accepting that you just aren’t a good fit and continuing to suffer in your ill-fitting job isn’t healthy for you or your family.
Stay positive, keep doing what you need to do, implement the suggestions in this article – and eventually you’ll discover what you need in your next job.