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Last Updated on January 10, 2022

What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

Do you remember being invited to your job interview? Do you feel the same way about your job today? There’s nothing more soul-destroying than waking up Monday morning dreading the fact that you’re about to step back into slavery for a job you hate.

You savor every minute at home before sadly turning the key in the lock to close your front door. From that moment on, you’re counting down the hours and minutes until it’s ‘TGIF’. Your anxiety might even start simmering well before your weekend is over.

Your boss might be a bully or a manager who cannot actually lead and guide their team. Receiving mixed messages, being twisted and turned in multiple directions with none of the directives being for any real benefit can plummet your motivation and satisfaction so deep you’ll almost hit the Earth’s core.

You love what you do and what you trained for, but any potential ounce of enjoyment has now completely evaporated. You feel dead in the water.

You might be shocked at the suggestion that if you’re feeling these things, it’s actually a very good sign! You’re likely to be on the cusp of a significant cross-road that is going to change your life.

Is Hating Your Job Normal?

Do you feel horrible when you think about your job? Like everything in life, your job will always keep changing. Every day won’t be perfect. Some days will be challenging.

However, you’ll always know when things are not right. You’ll know whether you are having a bad week or you are in a toxic situation. If you hate your job, you are not alone.

A study conducted by Gallup found that 85 percent of the workforce in the world is unhappy.[1] If you hate your job, you need to examine where you are, whether you can improve your situation or if you should think of submitting a weeks notice of resignation to start a new job search.

How to Cope When You Hate Your Job

What to do when you hate a job that you once loved? The following key steps are going to set you back on the golden path to enjoying career success despite the muddy waters you currently find yourself in.

1. Recognize the Signs of Discomfort

Long gone are the days where we might expect to join a business or corporation and spend our lifetime working our way up into a cushy senior management role that will take care of us and our families for the rest of our lives. In fact, it’s actually risky business to even think this way.

Pay rises are less frequent. Your skills and opportunities to expand your skills are now limited by staying within one job or organization. By definition, having a career means being on a continuous journey of development.

Nowadays, the average person changes jobs in their lifetimes between 10 and 15 times. [2] Not changing job environments caps your capacity to grow your knowledge and strengthen your capabilities. You actually make yourself less employable.

With the globalization of many businesses, you’re not only competing against people in your local neighborhood for your ideal role, you’re competing with folks from other cities, interstate, cross-country, and overseas.

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Some organizations are evolving with a constant focus on being innovative, taking calculated risks, and embracing new technologies — those that aren’t are falling to the wayside. If you don’t flow with the changing tides yourself, you could quickly find yourself stuck stagnant on a sinking ship with no lifeline.

Monday morning blues are a key sign that you hate your job and it’s time to start thinking and doing things differently. What you are feeling is actually a blessing in disguise.

2. Work with A Career Coach And/or Therapist

When we really detest our daily grind, it’s high time to keep a lookout for the development of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Don’t just look for physical signs such as feeling greater and frequent fatigue, increased emotional eating, poor sleep. Loss of motivation, concentration and lower general interest not just in your work but in your personal life activities and relationships…these signs should raise alarm bells.

Your friends and family might start reflecting they’re fed up of hearing about how your boss is constantly laying blame on you for their mistakes.

Tolerance has worn thin listening to constant complaints about your doing the work of two people yet never confronting your boss about it. Continuing to play the broken record of your pain is not only sucking the lifeblood out of you but your friends and family as well.

Don’t hold off working with a therapist and/or career coach when you notice these things. Both professionals will help you recognize the full picture of your experience and how it’s impacting you. Of greatest value is their helping you to start identifying changes you need to make and how to turn those into reality.

When your emotional, physical and mental resources are drained from coping with your soul-destroying nine-to-five, your mindset is unlikely to have the optimal sensibility to hatch your escape plan.

You’re likely to be operating from a fixed mindset of desperation than innovation and run the stakes of moving from one crappy job situation to another.

Invest focus to rediscovering your worth, career interests and learning how to dream big again. Go deep in exploration of what your values are around what you want your work to give to you and mean to you.

If working with a coach or therapist feels like an uncomfortable step for you, consider looking into undertaking a course that helps you work through these questions. Give yourself a gentle kick to ignite momentum in a different direction.

3. Change Your Workspace

Hostile or toxic work environments lead to competition, negativity, bullying, unrest, sickness, and high turnover. A toxic workplace is just one of the signs that you hate your job and can poison your personal and professional life.

Working in a toxic workplace feels horrible. And it takes little effort for the workspace to become toxic. Why do workplaces become hostile and toxic? When leaders cultivate the culture of me-first or kill or be killed, the workplace becomes toxic.

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Other organizations start well and fall into the trap of chasing power or money. At times, a single employee can cause the entire workplace to become toxic. And it takes a lot of time to restore such an organization.

The best thing that you can do for yourself and others working in a toxic environment is to get out.

4. Don’t Be Stagnant for A Long Time

Do your colleagues and loved ones congratulate you on your work anniversary? What comes to mind when they wish you the best in your career? You might start wondering what you’ve been doing over the past couple of years because you’ve been at a standstill. And you don’t like it at all.

It’s quite difficult to identify stagnancy in a job. And when you do, you’ll start feeling like you are doing the same things over and over. Before you realize it, five years have passed and you haven’t developed yourself in any way. This eventually leads to a lack of passion for your job.

You might feel stagnant at your job for several reasons. First, you could be the problem. If your job is easy and there’s no one to challenge you, you’ll find yourself going with the flow. Prolonged stagnancy can lead to burnout.

To avoid this, you need to ensure that your career challenges and excites you. While your career shouldn’t be your life’s purpose, it should be something that inspires and motivates you.

Regardless of your post, you’ll always need to be creative to move forward. You need to find simple ways to infuse creativity in your job. You can start organizing files or developing your design skills.

5. Read Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why

Reading Find Your Why by globally renowned organizational consultant and speaker Simon Sinek could be a transformational step in finding your way back to experiencing a successful and enjoyable career.

Sinek and his co-authors explain there isn’t really a difference between having a professional why and a personal why.

It’s just as much the reason why your friends and family love you as an expression of the work you put yourself into every day. It’s less about tasks and activities and really about what emotional and mental satisfaction doing those things brings you.

What results is a beautiful tapestry of people not just experiencing an incredible product or service from you. You love what you do, create and get to give and they love you back for channeling that passion into that service and product they experience to benefit from.

This article also guides you through to discover your why:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

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6. Try to Avoid Workplace Burnout

When you have a lot of duties and responsibilities at work, you’ll have limited or no time for yourself and your loved ones. Working all the time can lead to stress and burnout.

One of the popular types of burnout that you’ll experience is worn-out burnout. Worn-out burnout is usually experienced by employees who are always overworked with little or no positive outcomes.

Burnout usually happens because the cycle is continuous and it starts taking from your professional life, relationships, personal life, and your health. You can avoid workplace burnout by balancing your working life and personal life.

7. Consider Expanding Your Thinking and Entrepreneurial Flair

You might think “I’ll always be an employee” and the thought of starting a business might scare the living daylights out of you. Even then, there is a strong chance you have monetizable talents that could, at the very least, swiftly direct your mindset away from the chilling notion of being stuck in your dead-end job for eternity.

The thought of creating a product or service all by yourself could be dauntingly foreign. Doing something like this could feel like ridiculously fathoming a climb of Mt Everest when you don’t know the first thing about climbing or hiking!

But once you start looking and having explorative conversations with different mindsets about ideas, instead of debriefing the horrible day you had yet again in your job, things will start to change. Like Sleeping Beauty being awoken from slumber by Prince Charming’s first kiss, you’ll start discovering a whole new way of thinking you won’t ever want to harness.

Look at what skills you have to perform your current job. What skills have you acquired in the past that might simply have been dormant for a little while? Do you miss being able to exercise certain skills?

When you have the discussion with your career coach, you’ll discover there are probably many more skills, knowledge and experiences you could even package and sell than you realize. However, remember: it’s not just about the money. It never should be.

Even if you have been an administrator for many years, could the next step be writing introductory course administrators or young job seekers could benefit from? There is no better teacher or education platform to learn from than hands-on experience. It might be a side gig you create which you pitch to and deliver at high schools and job-seeking agencies.

You might create a face-to-face workshop and/or an accompanying course that you create and sell on online education platforms such as Udemy or Teachable.

Your course might inform and teach interview techniques and communication tips for working with managers and bosses. You might suggest what exercising initiative looks like and what individuals can do to help themselves feel comfortable and confident early in their jobs.

There often is nothing more satisfying than learning and knowing that someone else’s challenges and problems were overcome because of wisdom and experience we could share with them. We all have something we can teach and offer people. What might you have to offer?

8. Consider What You Want to Be Doing, Not Just What You’re Currently Doing

It’s time to start letting the masses know what you’re capable of, not just in terms of what you have done but what you’re aspiring towards and charging forward to achieve.

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Global recruitment firm Robert Half explains how personal branding is essential to progress and enjoy a successful career.[3] Providing an impressive sounding resume and a cover letter are no longer enough.

What we engage with and how we show up online and offline is taken into account more now than ever. So we need to be strategic.

If you are looking for opportunities to work in overseas companies in your industry, you might consider researching best practices other off-shore companies are engaging in and writing your own short LinkedIn post about it.[4] Or you may simply look to post a link to what you have found and provide short critical evaluations about it.

Start thinking about how you market yourself and stop leaving it to chance. Whilst many think social media is only for personal social items, consider how your engagement on these platforms portrays you to your audiences. Steer potential employers and business partners to see you as you want to be seen, not just as you are.

9. Get Back on Track by Learning New Things

When you are waking up each day with a sick feeling in your stomach knowing work duties call, there is a hard reality you have to face:

It’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you feel happy or satisfied with your work. At the end of the day, it’s yours.

If you want to have a successful career, you have to take charge of the direction and types of experiences you want to have on your journey. Where do you want to go? How far and why? What training or opportunities might give you this? Is it executive coaching? Perhaps undertaking an MBA? Allow yourself to think laterally too.

Let’s say project management is a skill set you need to learn, or incompetent boss snidely commented you would never make it without these skills. Could volunteering to crew for an event speaking company platform fast track your learning as to what’s involved? Financial forecasting, marketing, resource and supplies management, working with different team member personalities and managing client relations…you could never gain hands-on experiential learning like this you via a classroom or online course.

The e-learning industry is forecast to reach $325USbillion by 2025.[5] With the quality of online learning gateways growing exponentially with very affordable costs of access to world-class teachers, golden opportunities to increase your skill set and knowledge are at your fingertips.

Never has there been a better time for you to design a career pathway and forge an enriching educational journey that feeds not just your professional curiosities but personal interests too.

Final Thoughts

No successful career has ever involved dancing to the same tune. When you find yourself despising your job more often than not, change is nigh. By using just one of these tips above, you can rechart your course to have a successful career.

In a short amount of time, you won’t only resuscitate the self-worth and recognition of our unique value that dead-end jobs can steal from you. You’ll enjoy deeper, prolonged levels of satisfaction, energizing self-discovery and opportunities to turn your career into a far more gratifying journey you could ever have imagined.

The best part is that you don’t even have to wait to land the dream job. The journey itself will be magical.

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More Tips for Career Success

Featured photo credit: Christian Battaglia via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Malachi Thompson III

High-Performance Consultant

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Published on December 14, 2021

How to Create a 5-Year Career Development Plan (With Examples)

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How to Create a 5-Year Career Development Plan (With Examples)

Whether you are just starting out or are well underway in your profession, creating a five-year plan for your career development is the best strategy for achieving your short-term advancement goals. Why? Because goals that are written down tend to be reached faster than goals that just idly float around in our heads.[1] Just the process of writing down goals will help you plan concrete next steps that you can take to ultimately achieve them.

How to Create Your 5-Year Career Development Plan

The benefit of planning five years out rather than 10, 15, or 20 years into the future is that you can see clearly the steps needed to attain your vision. Here are seven steps to create your 5-year career development plan (with examples):

Step 1: Take Time to Dream

The important first step is to carve out time to think through the position you would like to achieve within the next five years. Be sure you understand the “why” behind the “what,” and eliminate any goals that include “should” behind their premise. Your end-goal needs to excite you and reflect what you love to do. Now, write down your overall five-year goal. This serves as the heading of your plan.

Every plan starts with defining a hoped-for result. Then, once defined, the action plan begins to naturally take shape. Once you have determined your desired dream and set a course of action, the pieces fall into place and align with your ambitions.

Envision All the Elements

A plan to move from Point A to Point B is not linear but a convergence of several sub-plans or baby steps. Yes, your five-year career development plan will gradually move you to an end goal, but getting there will take effort on several different fronts.

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For example, if you are after one or more job promotions in the five-year timespan, your well-devised plan must include more than simply going to HR and filling out an application. You will need to take tangible steps that will prove your ability to take on more responsibility and add more value to the company. Then, you will need to plan multiple check-ins and meetings with the higher-ups at the company to make sure you stay on track.

Step 2: Polish Your Technical Skills

You will never get ahead unless you’re a pro when it comes to technical expertise. Investigate the technical skills you’ll need to hit your five-year goal. Envision what activities you will need to pursue to gain these skills. Is it more education? Can you find training opportunities through your job, volunteer work, or a side gig? List all the skills you will need to master, along with your strategies for attaining them within your five-year career development plan.

Step 3: Burnish Your Soft Skills

Reflect on the people in the upper echelons of your company or industry whom you admire. Write down any qualities they possess that make these leaders effective in their roles. These likely include numerous soft skills along with all the technical skills! After all, the more responsibility one takes on, the more the need to manage people, which requires the emotional intelligence that soft skills provide.

Some soft skills include:

Do you have any of these skills, or do you need to work on developing them? List the skills that you will need to intentionally develop. Then, consider how to go about attaining them.

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For example, do you need to be able to speak confidently and eloquently in front of a large group of people? You may want to join a local Toastmasters Club to pick up this vital skill. Conversely, maybe you’re the one in a group chat or Zoom call who is always talking. If so, you may have to remind yourself to stay on “mute” more often.

Do you admire an industry leader’s ability to resolve conflicts? Commit to reading up on or watching podcasts about effective conflict resolution strategies. Take a class on it, if need be. Or if your company won’t pay for it, see if there is an online class you can take for just a small investment.

Keep a running list of all the soft skills you are amassing and the classes you’ve taken. In this way, you implement your five-year plan to hone your soft skills.

Step 4: Learn How to Toot Your Own Horn With Panache

Create your plan for self-promotion. Regardless of whether you are a boisterous extrovert or a restrained introvert, expand your professional networks and let people know your capabilities. Make a list of who can help you achieve your objective and then strategize how best to directly and indirectly gain their notice.

The most important place to start is within your own company. When you win a piece of business or create an attractive website or advance a project in any way, you really have to let people know. Don’t be shy. Also, don’t assume that you can just dash off an email that the higher ups will necessarily read. You need to get comfortable with promoting your achievements. No one will do this for you.

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Step 5: If You’re Not Getting Accolades at Work, Be Prepared to Get a New Job

Sadly, the office can be a competitive place. The key advantage of creating a five-year plan is that you can always use it to see where you are on your projected timeline. If you haven’t been promoted in three years, it’s time to find a new job. At least you’ll have all the technical skills and soft skills you’ve developed, ready to put on your resume.

Step 6: General Networking

Is there a young professionals group associated with your industry that you should join? Does your company offer a mentor program that will pair you with a senior employee who might become your advocate? Do you need to expand your LinkedIn presence and begin commenting and posting your own industry observations?

Add these strategies to your five-year career development plan.

Step 7: Graphically Plot Your Plan

Now, place your actions and strategies into a visual format that shows all the elements together. Your graphic can portray concurrent strategies, or it can be a linear plan (shown below). Or you can start with a linear plan and add to it, family-tree style, as you find that you need to amass more skills.

Consider adapting a project management Gantt chart or a checklist to plot out your five-year career development plan.[2] Color-code categories and indicate timing for completion. Several project development templates can be found online and many may serve as a workable visual graphic for your personal five-year career development plan.

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Regularly Revisit Your Plan

Keep your plan visible (but not for all to see at the office.) Commit to reviewing and reworking it monthly. As your roles change, you may have to tweak your overall goal and amend some of the action items. This is easier to do if you’ve made it a habit to keep your action plan up-to-date. It should serve as a constant reminder of your overall ambition throughout a five-year period and your personal journey to get there.

5-Year Career Development Plan Example

Year 1: Excel at Job

  • 1st quarter: Get to know leaders at company.
  • 2nd quarter: Find a mentor inside company (or outside).
  • 3rd quarter: Become indispensable.
  • 4th quarter: Ask for performance review and raise.

Year 2: Attain More Skills

  • 1st quarter: Identify training opportunities/costs/time commitments.
  • 2nd quarter: Apply for training.
  • 3rd quarter: Pursue further training opportunities.
  • 4th quarter: Apply new skills in new position.

Year 3: Secure a Promotion or Find a New Job

  • 1st quarter: Present goal to supervisor for feedback.
  • 2nd quarter: Gather evidence of exceptional performance.
  • 3rd quarter: Apply to any openings within the company and/or outside the company.
  • 4th quarter: Transition to new positions.

Year 4: Build Professional Network

  • 1st quarter: Identify industry associations.
  • 2nd quarter: Increase LinkedIn presence.
  • 3rd quarter: Begin attending association meetings/events.
  • 4th quarter: Undertake leadership role in association.

Year 5: Prepare for the Next Step in Career Advancement

  • 1st quarter: Look for and lobby for extra assignments.
  • 2nd quarter: Gather evidence of exceptional performance.
  • 3rd quarter: Present goal to supervisor for feedback.
  • 4th quarter: Apply to any openings; transition to new position.

Final Thoughts

Career advancement happens when you set aside time to dream, define a goal, and write down your course of action. Keeping your plan visible and checking off the elements as you complete them will provide the steppingstones to your success.

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Featured photo credit: J. Kelly Brito via unsplash.com

Reference

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