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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

Think Your Work Sucks? 7 Ways to Deal with It

Think Your Work Sucks? 7 Ways to Deal with It

Society as a whole is gradually becoming more open to the concept of seeking out work that you truly enjoy and embracing those opportunities but, for many, work sucks; it may be a place of dissatisfaction rather than one of pure joy.

This can be due to any number of reasons. Perhaps you are in a position solely for the money rather than for the work that you are doing on a daily basis. Maybe you are in an entry-level position that serves as a placeholder until you can get the job that you want. You may even be in a job simply because it was the only option available to you in the moment.

Regardless of why you are in a job you may not be in love with, the truth is that this position is going to remain your reality until you are able to carve another path for yourself.

Ultimately, it is up to you to shape your reality. Would you prefer to show up to work every day with a negative attitude or be present each day with a positive one?

If you have chosen the latter option, here are 7 ways that you can deal with your work situation and change the course of your professional outlook.

1. Figure out Where the Source of Discontent Is Coming From

A lot of people can say that they are not in love with their jobs but not a lot of people can truly tell you why they are unhappy in detail. The problem with this is that you may only be unhappy with a couple of things but, since you are choosing to say that you are unhappy with your job as a whole, you could be missing out on the wonderful parts of your position that make it worthwhile.

Take some time to sit down and hash out where this discontent is coming from. Are you unhappy with the amount of money you are making? Are there people in your workplace who are making your professional life miserable? Are you spending too much time getting to and from your workplace? Are you working too much and are able to properly take care of yourself and other aspects of your life?

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Whatever the issue may be, it is important to take note of these problems as this will help you determine where you are not satisfied in your job, and will give you something to work off of so that you don’t blame your job as a whole for your dissatisfaction. [1]

2. Focus on the Positive Aspects of Your Job

No matter how bleak your current outlook of your job is, the truth is that there are always positive aspects to every professional role, even if you have to look a little bit harder to find them.

These positives can be found in almost any part of the workday and it is up to you to frame them the right way so that you can look forward to them rather than dread them. Some positive aspects may include…

  • A long lunch break and several small breaks that give you time to re-energize.
  • Being close to your house so that you don’t have to stress about extensive travel in the mornings or evenings.
  • A larger salary that allows you to lead the lifestyle you want.
  • Positive employees who pump you up and make you feel ready to tackle the workday.
  • Being able to indirectly help people through the job or service that you are performing.

Although these examples may or may not apply to your own professional life, they serve as a reminder that you can always find great parts of your job if you are looking for them.

Once you find the parts that make you happy, make sure to focus on those throughout your work day to improve your mood and your overall take on work.

3. Discover a Greater Purpose in Your Job

A job is never just a job. Is a job a service that is performed so as to achieve a certain purpose for other people who are willing to pay for it. This means that whatever you are doing is helping someone else with their own needs and to help them improve their own quality of life.

That’s not to say that every job holds the same level of quality in terms of purpose but, your work does matter and it does contribute to something. If you are having trouble finding what this something is, consider the purpose of the company that you work with.

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Perhaps you work for a fast food establishment and you are not able to see your immediate impact based on your role. If this is the case, for example, you could choose to take a look at some of the impact your organization is making and frame it in such a way that your work is helping them to reach those goals.

Purpose allows people to feel more motivated and positive about going to work. There is always an underlying purpose to what it is you’re doing. Find it and work with that purpose in mind!

4. Make the Rest of Your Life More Enjoyable

If you are relatively unhappy with your life and you are going into a job each day that you don’t necessarily enjoy either, your move and your perspective on life isn’t going to improve any time soon. Remaining miserable with your life conditions is no way to live.

While you may not be able to change your situation, you are in control of your life and your attitude. You can make adjustments in your personal life that will help to make your work life more bearable.

Think about what it is that you want out of life and what you can do to increase your current quality of life. Are there goals that you want to reach? Are there things that you want to do more of that you haven’t been pursuing lately? More often than not, our professional life can shift our focus away from our personal lives and, we will lose track of fulfillment in this area.

Changing the way that you live your life can greatly improve your mindset towards your current work situation.[2]

5. Learn More About What You Would Like to Be Doing

People will often think about the fact that they would rather not be doing their jobs but, they don’t often think about what they would be doing instead. If you don’t like your job, it can be proactive to learn more about what your alternative career path would look like.

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If you weren’t working this job, what would your new and improved job look like? What would your position be? What responsibilities would you have? What impact would you make? How much money would you be making? Why would you want this job over your previous one and how it would it improve your current situation?

Don’t just fantasize about your current situation. Figure out what you would rather be doing so that you can take your first step towards a new life when the opportunity presents itself.

6. Create a Plan That Will Help You Reach Your New Career Goals

If you do have a better career path in mind and you simply need to get out of your job and into one that you would prefer, you will need to create a plan that you can work towards regularly — one that will be successful in landing you that new professional role.

Based on the questions you asked yourself in the previous point, find out what it will take to reach the career of your dreams. Do you need any further education to get there? Are there any requirements that you have to meet beforehand? What obstacles do you need to clear along the way?

Take a look at this guide and get more inspirations about how to set carer goals: How to Set Ambitious and Achievable Career Goals (With Examples)

Your plan will vary widely depending upon the difference between your dream job and your current position but, you will get there in time if you work towards these goals every day and take the necessary steps needed to make the transition seamless.

Figure out what you need to do, make a plan and a timeline, and crush your goals!

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7. Take Control of Your Work in the Meantime

Part of making your work suck less is learning the art of acceptance. You cannot change everything about your job overnight and, you need to accept that you will be in your current position until you are able to shift into a position that you truly enjoy.

However, this does not mean that you can’t make your current job more easily acceptable at the moment. Take control of the situation and take control of your work while you still have the job that you are in. Whether this means making the changes in the things you do not like (if you can) or taking control of the work that you are given, changes can be made to better suit your needs.

Get organized, grab your job by the horns, and guide it towards a better tomorrow. After all, this is your reality!

The Bottom Line

While your job cannot change at a moment’s notice, your outlook can and the most valuable tool you have at your disposal is yourself. Use that mighty brain to your advantage and cultivate a better mindset as you plan for the future that you want, rather than choosing to remain negative about your work life.

More Tips for Finding Fulfillment at Work

Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Jo Green Coaching: What to Do When Work Sucks
[2] The Art of Charm: What to Do When Your Job Sucks

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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