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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

10 Ways to Bide Your Time When You Hate Your Job

10 Ways to Bide Your Time When You Hate Your Job

I’ve talked to so many people lately who absolutely hate their jobs but are staying put because of fears of switching jobs in an unstable economy. While I wouldn’t recommend that anyone remain years in a job he or she dislikes, timing can be very important when changing employers. There is much to be said for a steady income, health insurance benefits, and other necessities. But if you’re in an unpleasant situation, whether it just be a job that doesn’t fit your goals or a boss who is a jerk, you need an action plan to maintain your sanity while waiting for the right time to make your move.

Assess Your Situation

First of all, examine what is wrong with your current situation. This step should come before all others because it will help determine what kind of action you need to take. Ask yourself:

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  1. Am I in the right career and it’s just this company that is a bad fit for me?
  2. What is my ultimate dream job?

Define Work for Yourself

Someone recently told me, “Well, it’s called work for a reason.” I balked at that statement because I refuse to accept the belief that work is a pejorative. After all, Webster doesn’t define work as “A tedious, miserable task that humans do out of need to support themselves financially, usually with hopes of someday being able to retire and finally enjoy life unless they die of a stress-induced illness before then. See retirement and myocardial infarction.”

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We’ve all done work, paid or not, that required skill but was enjoyable. While involved in work that suits us, we are immersed in the activity and lose all track of time. Interrupted from the task, we look forward to resuming it later. Occasionally, you’ll hear a story of someone who won the lottery and, when asked whether he’ll quit his job, replies, “No, I’ll probably cut back my hours, but I’ll still work.” Or consider the examples of people who had the option to retire but continued to work due to the sheer enjoyment they received from work. Why should we settle for anything less?

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Find Your Path

If you know that you’re in the right career but your company is simply a bad fit for you, your task becomes easier. You simply need to examine where things went wrong to see if you can prevent repeating this experience. In retrospect, should you have asked for more – both of the company in terms of pay and benefits, but also of yourself? Did you settle for a job that didn’t fit you because you didn’t believe yourself capable of more? In the interview were there signs that this job wouldn’t be a good match for you, but you decided to overlook them?

If you know you detest your work and will not be happy in a similar job, it’s time to ask yourself what you truly want to do with your life. Let your mind run wild with the possibilities. What would you do if you didn’t place limitations on yourself? What would you do if you really believed in yourself? Would you like to make a living from the activity that you now refer to as a hobby?

10 Ways to Bide Your Time

  1. Ramp up your networking. Join LinkedIn and Plaxo, and ask for recommendations from current and past coworkers. Use Twitter to update the world on your current projects as well as network with other like-minded individuals. Look for local networking groups, and start attending them.
  2. Prepare for success. Consider registering a web site in your name. You can then create a professional-sounding email address that will encourage people to visit your web site. Get a professional photograph taken. This is for your web site, your advertising, or anything else that you will be doing to promote your image as a serious professional. Order your own business cards in your name with your web site and business number. Basic business cards can be obtained for a very reasonable rate at Vistaprint. If you don’t want your cell phone ringing with business calls at work, consider a SkypeIn number, which will cost you just $60 a year.
  3. Expand your skill set. If you’re in the right career, critically examine where you may be lacking in experience or qualifications. If you’re weak at giving presentations, now is the time to join Toastmasters. This will improve your public speaking ability and eventually add solid achievements to your resume. Upgrade your credentials. Is there a certification of some sort that you can achieve? Perhaps it is time to consider finishing your MBA.
  4. Start thinking of yourself as who you want to become. Rather than being a banker who paints as a hobby, you are an artist who supplements your income with your banking job. This inner psychology is very important to realizing your dream. If you always think of your dream as something you’ll be doing in the future, there’s a good chance it will always remain in the future. Claim it as your reality now, and that will encourage you to take action. If you’re in the habit of thinking it and believing it, doing it becomes much easier.
  5. Do something to earn money outside of your current job. Consider consulting or selling your creations. Having an outside income helps take the sting out of a miserable work situation. Working in a job that is a bad fit can be a demoralizing experience. Earning a second income is a consistent reminder that you are able to earn money apart from your main source of income. You may eventually find that you can turn your secondary income into a full-time business.
  6. Post a visible reminder that this job is only temporary. When I once worked in a job I hated, I helped bide my time by hanging a reminder on my bulletin board that said, “This is only temporary. De-invest.” Now this was a home office, so I had freedom over my environment. However, I would suggest you post something at work that will symbolize this concept for you. It could be a phrase like this abbreviated in a way that only you will understand. For example, if you want to become a novelist, post an image of your dream home office or the front cover of a book. Make sure this is in a location where you will see it frequently; every time those stressful moments at work arise, you’ll have this reminder: This is only temporary. I will not be doing this forever.
  7. Get busy in your off-work time. There are two halves to achieving a new reality: You must have time to dream, and you must take action. Give yourself time for creative visualization daily. Note ideas that come, and keep a record of these. Make a rule that you spend X amount of time daily taking action on your dreams. Artists produce artwork. Writers write. If you are not taking action, you will not achieve your dream.
  8. View your current job as paid practice for your future dream job. Even in a miserable job, you have a wealth of opportunities to polish your skills. Have a boss who’s a hothead? This is your time to get paid to practice dealing with difficult people. Read about neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and give it a try. Find ways to streamline the processes at work. How can you be more efficient in dealing with email and phone messages? How can you better manage your time? Build good habits now that you will take with you when you leave.
  9. Maintain a satisfactory job performance, but de-invest emotionally. This one takes practice, and meditation helps with this. Keep in mind that this job is temporary, so it is not worth your losing sleep over. Practice not engaging with people who try to push your buttons. Think of yourself as working for yourself, not for the company. Do your best to stay below the radar by making sure you are performing satisfactorily, but as much as possible, reduce work-related activities that consume your energy but have little to no return on investment.
  10. Get a life outside of work. This is vital to biding your time in a job you hate. When you have an active social life outside of the office, it becomes so much easier to tolerate mundane or stressful work. A balanced life helps to keep things in perspective.

Employing all of these techniques will help reduce stress while you wait until the appropriate time to change jobs. By taking these steps you retain your sense of dignity and worth as well as prepare for success in your future work.

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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