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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

The Real Reason Why You Hate Working (And How to Turn It Around)

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The Real Reason Why You Hate Working (And How to Turn It Around)

Have you ever asked yourself, why do I hate working? Is it the people, what I do, or is it something else entirely? Studies show that people are becoming less happy with their jobs and personal life. According to the General Social Survey,[1]

On a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 represents “not too happy” and 3 means “very happy,” Americans on average give themselves a 2.18 — just a hair above “pretty happy.”

While that may not sound bad to some, it is considered a significant decline from the happiness levels of the early 1990’s. When you dive into the numbers further, spending time on the internet, listening to music alone, and using social media are all activities correlated with unhappiness.

Interesting enough, these are all activities found on your computer or cell phone. Another interesting point is the fact that these activities are all things that most people perform while working.

Here’re 3 questions to help you reflect why you hate your job and what you can do to turn things around:

1. Are You Focusing on the Negative Only?

I can say for me personally, the podcasts I listened to would cause me to hate working. As I listened to other entrepreneurs talking about their journey and the success they found, I started to question my own commitment. Was I interested in living my dream life or did I just want to talk about it?

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The same can hold true for someone surfing social media or listening to music to pass the time. As you experience the successes and emotions of others, you immediately start comparing that to the life you are living. When you see someone taking a vacation, purchasing a new vehicle or growing their family, you start to feel inadequate.

What you may have noticed is these activities usually cause you to focus on what you do not like about your job. In my case, I did not like the fact that it was keeping me from starting my own business. For you, it may be the same, or it could be something completely different.

However, if you want to start loving your work again, you are going to need to focus on the things you love.

By focusing on the positive, you allow yourself to remember why you took the job in the first place. If the pay was 10% higher than the pay at your previous job, then that is something you should remind yourself when you face difficult situations. If you took the job because of the proximity to your home or the work-life balance, then focus on that aspect of your career.

By continually reminding yourself about what you dislike about your job, you are only going to further hate working.

When you focus on the negative, you may ask yourself:

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  • why do I stay in this job
  • why is my career stagnant
  • why do the worst people keep getting promoted
  • do I really need to deal with this nonsense

The answer is usually because you feel stuck in some way. As much as you hate working, you hate the idea of not working even more.

Fear of failure is something each of us encounter. However, avoiding failure is almost always going to lead to regret.

2. Are You Staying with an Indifferent Employer?

Who you work for and the culture they help create plays a decisive role into whether you enjoy or hate working. Studies show that 92% of employees are more likely to stay with an empathetic employer.[2] Now think about this for a moment, 92% of people do not enjoy their jobs. 92% of people are not satisfied with their career advancement or salary, but they are more willing to stay at their job anyways.

Empathy is nothing more than someone’s ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Nevertheless, the reason that empathy is so vital to whether you hate working is because everyone wants to feel accepted and appreciated.

When you tell your supervisor your dreams and ambitions, it is nice to have someone who wants to help you achieve them. Even if they are not always successful in their endeavors, it is nice to know they care. A recent Gallup survey said that 37% of employees would consider quitting their current job if their new job allowed them to work remotely part-time.[3]

There are plenty of reasons working from home is enticing to so many professionals. If you have a family, then working from home could allow the flexibility to attend to families matters in a more effective way.

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If you live in a city with a lot of traffic, then working from home could help you to avoid sitting in rush-hour every morning and evening. Wouldn’t you hate work less if you weren’t stuck in rush-hour traffic everyday?

Empathy helps employees feel valued. When you express concerns or difficulties and someone is interested in helping you to alleviate that pain, it feels good. Once more, the end result is not always as important as just knowing that someone cared enough to ask you how you are doing. Feeling valued in your work is a sure way you can ensure someone enjoys their work, even though they may be dealing with the same office politics in other aspects.

If you find yourself in a work situation where empathy is lacking, then I encourage you to start volunteering and helping others. Helping others is a great way to prevent you from hating work because it forces you to focus on the needs of others. And if you volunteer through initiatives that take place in your office, then you will be able to connect with coworkers. These relationships could add a dimension to your work life that helps you to enjoy your working.

If your company does not have any volunteer opportunities, then this could be a great occasion for you to start one. In addition to you getting to spearhead a project that you are passionate about, this is a great chance for you to showcase your leadership abilities to the company. As you build relationship through these opportunities, you will be able to position yourself for new openings within the organization.

3. Are You Not Doing What You Truly Love?

The equation to go from, “I hate working” to “I love working” is based on doing more things you love and less things you hate.

Finding what you love is not an easy task. You have likely left your first love back in your adolescent days. Once you became an adult, you figured all your decisions should be based on being a responsible adult. While this sounds good for a lot of people, this is ultimately what causes so many people to hate working. They are doing what they think everyone else is doing, and in a way they are. The problem is they are getting the results that everyone else is getting.

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If you want to change your results, then take a moment and think about your dream job. Write down as many things as you can about what makes this your dream job. This can be anything from the location, salary, responsibilities or industry.

Next, take a few moments and list anything your current role has in common with your dream job. While it may not seem possible, you are going to find that your current job does have some things in common with your dream job. Once you list the commonalities, see if there are any opportunities to do more things you love in your current position.

This can include anything from shadowing other groups, changing departments, or just shifting your focus in your current role. If your job is 60% client interactions and 40% administrative work, but you do not enjoy interacting with clients – see if you can adjust your schedule so that is 60% administrative work and 40% client facing.

It is important to speak with your supervisor about your dream job and see if they can assist you in making your dream a reality. If you discover you are not qualified for some of the responsibilities you want to take on, then work with your supervisor to create a plan that closes the gap.

If you feel your supervisor is not necessarily the best person to help you grow your skill-sets, then reach out to someone in your network. This could be a coworker or a friend from a previous employer.

Final Thoughts

The goal is to grow your current job into your dream job so you can enjoy working again. While this may not be accomplished overnight, by committing to making these small changes in your mindset and action, you will find yourself turning hate back into love and contentment.

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More About Fulfillments in Career

Featured photo credit: Muhammad Raufan Yusup via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Undre Griggs

Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

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Last Updated on September 5, 2021

How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

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How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

I don’t know about you, but it was nearly impossible for me to be proactive at work last year.

Every week, I would map out my game plan and color-coded my calendar. But when I tried to set things in motion, I faced ten-foot barriers that would force me to change direction. I’d have to reschedule meetings, push deadlines back, and reorganize my life because of all the twists and turns. Pivoting became my life, and it was taking over every part of it.

When I think back to 2020, it was like trying to survive the Tour de France blindfolded. By the end of the year, I was worn out, and I was in no mood to organize my 2021 goals. Being proactive was the furthest from my mind. In many ways, I didn’t even want to dream about new projects.

When January 1st entered the scene, I crawled back under my covers and hoped for the best—or at least a year that would be more predictable with less pivoting.

You want to be hopeful for this year, but a part of you is afraid of another year filled with more barriers and you’re tired of trying to survive the chaos. You’re not alone.

Over 100,000 businesses have permanently shut their doors because of Covid-19.[1] Start-Ups aren’t getting a second chance.[2] And according to Pew Research, one in four adults still have a hard time finding money to pay their bills.[3]

This reality is not the most inspiring for those of us who are business leaders. If anything, it feels like the grim reaper is right around the corner to destroy our dreams and add us to the rising number of failed companies.

Being proactive is one of the most challenging things to muster right now. But it is one of the most imperative traits that we need to embrace.

But first, let’s be clear, what does being proactive mean?

Defining the Term “Proactive” In-Depth

The word proactive often floats around the workplace, usually by well-meaning managers asking employees or their team to, “Be more proactive!” But have you ever stopped to think about what that actually means?

The dictionary definition of proactive is, “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”

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Being proactive is about dealing with any obstacles or challenges before they even happen. Simply put, a proactive person plans ahead.

For example, you’re buying an older home. The seller tells you that it has a sturdy foundation and an engineer confirms it. Most people would be satisfied with this answer.

A proactive person, however, would think beyond what’s presented and look into any potential issues. They may ask questions like, “How long is the lifespan of the foundation?”, “Is it earthquake ready?”, or “Does insurance cover the foundation?”

Depending on the answers, proactive people would respond accordingly and put safeguards in place to avoid these problems or minimise its impact. While it seems like a lot of resources and effort are spent at the beginning, it can actually lessen your stress and save you time and effort because you’re either preventing a problem or already have a solution at hand when the challenge arises.

This doesn’t mean that proactive people never have to put out fires on occasion. However, when you have a proactive mindset, most of the issues that come up seemingly out of left field are already something you’ve considered. And this makes you better equipped to handle situations calmly and enact a solution.

If you want your business to succeed this year, you need to be proactive at work. Situations around the world are constantly changing and you never know what the next month, year or even hour might bring and how it would affect your work. Planning ahead and preparing for the future is incredibly vital in our current climate.

Proactivity vs Reactivity

We can’t discuss proactivity without exploring the other side of the coin: Reactivity.

Being reactive is the complete opposite of being proactive. A reactive person doesn’t feel the need to address a problem until it’s already occurred. They simply react to a situation because it’s already there.

Spontaneity and the ability to address problems as they arise is important in leadership, and in life. After all, we cannot predict the future no matter how hard we try. But oftentimes reactive people encounter problems because they refuse to take action even though there have been warning signs of imminent trouble.

Reactivity also comes from a place of panic. Because you have not thought or planned ahead, you react instantaneously. You may not offer the best solution because you haven’t had time to fully review the situation, and maybe even create more problems.

It won’t be easy, but it will be a lot easier with the following practical habits that I’ve put together for you. These tools will make all the difference for you and your organization.

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7 Practical Habits to Turn Reactivity into Proactivity

Even proactive people can exhibit reactive behavior. No one is perfect and the corporate and business world can be unpredictable. But you can turn things around and be proactive even when you have not anticipated challenges that face you. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t Be Busy

Repeat after me: only do what is necessary—no more and no less.

If you’re anything like me, as soon as January 1st comes along, you cram in all your five-year goals into one packed year. You love seeing your schedule filled. But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. Being proactive requires you to take a step back, reevaluate your priorities, and actually take things off of your plate before adding new goals.

The brain is not designed to always operate at full capacity twenty-four hours a day.[4] It needs a break. If we’re constantly immersing ourselves throughout the day with frivolous tasks, then we don’t have time to concentrate on our goals.

This year, I’m taking a break from the chaos and learning to do fewer tasks with more investment.

Think of it this way. Planning takes time. It’s like painting an apartment. Before you can add color to the drab walls of your living room, you have to plan and prep the area. The same is true for being proactive at work.

2. Stop Trying to Run Everyone’s Race

If you want to direct the narrative of your life, you need to take a step back and get rid of the clutter. Figure out what you can delegate and then, focus your energy away from the distractions. Not every email needs a reply, and not every job is right for you.

Shakespeare said it best,[5]

“To thine own self be true.”

These six words need to become your mantra.

If you want to reach your goals this year and be proactive, you need to walk forward with laser focus. If you compare yourself or your business to the next big thing, you won’t contribute anything except a lesser copy of yourself and your organization.

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Part of being proactive is being creative. You have to be able to see the different angles and nuances in a situation or project in order to anticipate potential issues and come up with creative solutions. If you’re constantly looking over someone else’s work, you’re not focusing on what’s in front of you. And you could end up missing a lot of obstacles that you could’ve avoided if you were paying attention.

Stop looking around. Your purpose is not to run the race of someone else. If you want to be proactive at work, you need to stop comparing yourself to your neighbor and stick to running your own race. It’s the only way that you’ll win.

3. Make “Essentialism” Your 2021 Word

When you’re figuring out your 2021 goals, take time to weigh the cost. Ask yourself if it’s worth the investment. Being proactive means that you take into consideration all the variables before cementing your goals.

Before you map out your plan or get crazy with those highlighters, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Will this goal help create balance in my life?
  • Will this goal produce a return on investment?

If you can answer a resounding “yes” to both of these questions, then take these ideas and write them down on a piece of paper.

After you’ve compiled a list of 15 to 20 ideas, take a new sheet of paper and break it into two columns. The first section should contain a list of goals that take priority. These ideas would fall under the umbrella of being trend-related and financially profitable.

The second section should contain a list of goals that will increase your social proof and promote your priority goals. This column drives traffic and promotes awareness of your business and your product.

After you’ve compiled this list, break it in half and cut it down to three goals in each section. Three is the perfect number because it gives you leeway to pivot and bend if you need to make changes throughout the process.

The two excellent tools that have helped me develop a schedule of essentialism are Hilary Rushford’s Elegant Excellence Journal[6] and Jill Konrath’s book, “More Sales. Less Time.

Both of these tools have helped me focus on what’s important, make the best decisions for my business, and make a profit without sacrificing my health.

4. Order the Same Latte

When you look at the greats in the business world, they all encompass one thing: simplicity.

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If you minimize your choices and stick to the basics, you’ll have the ability to save time and focus your energy on decisions that require your creativity. Keeping up with the latest fashion trends not only sacrifices your time but also sacrifices your budget.

Remember, it’s not about looking successful. It’s about making choices that give you the ability to be successful.

Here are four things that you can do to save time to make you more proactive at work:

  • Buy multiples of the same outfit and mix and match throughout the week.
  • Order the same drink each day from the same coffee shop.
  • Prepare meals at the beginning of the week for lunch and dinner.
  • Set your alarm for the same time each morning, including weekends.

5. Don’t Pressure Yourself to Respond Immediately

It’s okay to be surprised or be blindsided. Sometimes things just happen that is out of your control. What you are in control of, however, is your reaction. There’s nothing wrong with not having a solution or response at hand. It’s okay to take a step back and think about it first before responding.

6. Put a Pin on It

If you find yourself being unable to come up with a good solution, you can put a pin on it. You may want to address another matter first, one you already know how to deal with. It may give you inspiration and confidence when you come back to your other issues. Unless of course the imminent problem is fire outside your door.

7. Prioritize What’s Important

The thing with problems that come up suddenly, is that they may have already caused damage you can’t reverse. You have to learn to accept the situation and instead of trying to solve the unsolvable, prioritize what’s important, see what you can salvage and take note of lessons that will help you in the future.

It’s impossible to be proactive if you feel rushed. But if you follow the above tips, you’ll gain more time in your schedule and have more energy to lead your business and operate with a well-organized game plan.

Final Thoughts

I think the majority of us are tired of feeling like we’re contestants in Survivor. After all, who wants to be filmed while living in the woods and surviving off of bugs and tree bark?

All kidding aside. This past year has been challenging. But we can learn a lot from these past twelve months.

If you want to be proactive, simplify your schedule, focus on your path, only take what you need, and be purposeful with your time and energy. Being proactive is not about filling up your schedule. It’s about creating balance in your life.

I know it seems daunting right now, and many of us are still trying to figure out how to pay this month’s rent with spare change from the couch. But if you take the time to prepare and figure out what’s a priority this year, you’ll not only meet your goals, you’ll enjoy the journey.

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You have all the tools you need to be proactive at work. Now, go map out your 2021 goals for the year!

More Tips on How to Be Proactive

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

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