It’s called “work” for a reason. This is a tidbit that you have probably heard many times over the years. It is true that if everyone loved their jobs it wouldn’t be called work, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
According to a recent study completed by the Nielsen Company, close to half of all working Americans surveyed are unsatisfied with their current positions. That is a shocking number of people who are heading off each day to work at jobs they dislike.
Of course, we can’t all be actors, astronauts, millionaires, or lottery winners. Some of us have no choice but to work hard for a living. Sure, there are the lucky ones that have found a way to get paid for doing what they love (and you could as well) but with high unemployment rates and a tough economy, changing fields is not always an option.
Still, there is hope. If you are stuck in a job you hate and have no choice but to suck it up, there are a few things you can do that may help improve the outlook of your 9-5.
How to Enjoy a Job You Hate
Let It Out
If you are unhappy with your job it can help to vent. Complaining about things is not usually the type of advice I give but when it comes to workplace woes, it seems to help people to open up and share their frustrations.
Try writing your thoughts in a journal or on a private blog. Perhaps, try talking to your family or friends. You can also vent your dislike on sites like workrant.com. You can connect with other people just like you, on sites like Work Rant, that are also frustrated and overwhelmed working jobs they hate.
If you choose this route please make sure that you post your complaints anonymously. Never post in a public arena that is connected to you, your boss, your co-workers, or your company in any way. This means absolutely no names or identifying details!! You might hate your job, but I bet you would hate getting fired even more!
Now that you have your anger out it’s time to do something positive…
Find Something Favorable
The Yin Yang symbol is based on the theory that in every good is a little bit of bad, and in every bad is a little bit of good. Apply this theory to your work environment, and look for something you find favorable. Maybe your office is close to a park and you can enjoy the outdoors at lunch. Perhaps there is co-worker you enjoy working with or a task you take pleasure in performing. Find the good within the bad and focus on that positive thing, no matter how small it seems.
When you look for things to be grateful for, you are often given more to appreciate as well. You are employed, don’t forget to find the positive in that fact. Some do not have this luxury.
If there really is NOTHING you can find at work that you enjoy then make an effort to create something positive. Decorate your office/cubicle in a way that makes you feel good. Wear a pin, hat, hair tie, socks, or shoelaces that make you smile. If your company requires you to wear a uniform and is really strict, then buy some silly underwear and have your own private joke every day!
Do whatever you can to make your day more manageable and happier. Don’t forget to keep your sense of humor, laughter truly is the best medicine.
You have focused on something positive at work, now think outside the box…
Life Outside the Office
The more you enjoy your life outside of the office, the more positive your attitude will be within it. If things in your life are making you happy, then dealing with the downer of going to work won’t be so stressful. Make time for yourself, get out with friends, and just enjoy life. You can do this on your off-hours and during your breaks. A refreshing walk outside, a quick coffee with a friend, or a few quiet moments alone on your lunch break can help improve your ability to handle stressful situations that arise within your career confines. Just remember to leave your issues at the office and focus on the fun.
Make an Exit Plan
You might have found a few ways to have fun at work, but if you truly hate your job and cannot imagine doing it for the rest of your life then you need to start planning for the future by making an ‘exit plan’.
For example: If what you truly want to do with your life is teach music, then start thinking about all the small goals that encompass that position. Do you need to take courses? Can you do that part-time after work? Can you take on a few clients on the side? Outline all the steps (big and small) needed to accomplish your goal and work through them one at a time. Sometimes reminding ourselves that a situation isn’t permanent can help us to better cope.
In the meantime, you must remember…
Don’t Sacrifice Security
Just because you hate your job does not mean you shouldn’t do it right. This is a very important thing to remember. This is even more important if you have made an escape plan or are actively seeking other employment. Be sure that you are working hard and doing your job right. Put in your all, at all times.
In fact, when you really focus on your work the day tends to go by faster. You may even find yourself happier, and less stressed, by the end of your shift.
Hand-in-hand with not slacking, be sure that you don’t jeopardize your job with a bad attitude. Take a moment to check your attitude at the door, and come to work each day with a positive outlook. Again, this will be beneficial when seeking other employment.
A good reference, even from a bad company, can go a long way in the working world!
When nothing is working and it just doesn’t work…
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders and depression. Stress from work can greatly add to this already dangerous disease. If you are truly unhappy with your job, and cannot pull yourself out of sad, frustrated, or depressive moods it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. Some companies offer assistance in getting counseling or medical treatment and most communities have public services that can help. It is important that you talk to someone if you suspect your feelings may be something more than a simple dislike of your job.
Common signs of depression include restlessness, irritability, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, feelings of sadness or hopelessness that do not dissipate, trouble concentrating, trouble making decisions and/or thoughts of suicide. Others include: fatigue, weight loss or gain, trouble sleeping or too much sleep, loss of appetite, unexplained aches and pains (e.g.: headaches, stomach pains, tense muscles)
Depression is serious and if you suspect you are suffering from depression you should seek help immediately by contacting your personal health care provider or local crisis hotline.
The tips listed above are only a few of many available options. Aside from those listed you could speak to a supervisor about your concerns, switch jobs (either within the company or outside), start your own business, go to school, or endless other options. You can use these tips to help you cope with your current position. I cannot guarantee that these tips will make you feel better about your job. However, a positive attitude and outlook can go a long way in life. Try to stay strong and look for ways to improve your situation. I can not stress enough how being grateful for what you have helps to create more things to be grateful for. Try to find some positive, and look for ways to balance out the negative emotions you have regarding work. There is always light within the darkness, as there is darkness within the light.
Until Next Time…
Work It Out!