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5 Things You Should Do Now If You Don’t Like Your Job

5 Things You Should Do Now If You Don’t Like Your Job

If you cannot stand going to the office anymore and loathe Monday mornings, then it is time to start thinking about what the alternatives are. Ideally, you want to be in a job which gives you satisfaction, minimum levels of stress and one in which you can develop your career. So, if you don’t like your job, read on to find out 5 things you should do now.

1. Think about what exactly is wrong.

This is the most important step in the whole process. It is recommended by Dr. Katharine Brooks in her book You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career.

Set aside a time when you are not in the workplace and when you are feeling fairly relaxed. Make a list of all the things that are driving you mad, holding you back and are causing you stress. Your list will probably include some or all of these points:

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  •  Relationship with the boss is difficult. List the reasons.
  • Certain colleagues are not collaborating, are unpleasant or are simply incompetent.
  • Job satisfaction is practically zero because your skills are underused or because you are overworked.
  • Working hours are inflexible.
  • You were passed over for a promotion.
  • You seem to be getting a lot of the boring tasks.

Assess when the rot set in. Try to pinpoint one event which really started the downward spiral.

2. Reflect on the pros.

In spite of all the negative points, there will be one or two advantages in your present job. Try to list these. You may have a reasonable salary and the work environment may be pleasant enough.

Leaving your present job could be a bad move because the next job may also be a mismatch for your skills or the new environment may be even more toxic. In addition, too many job moves are not going to look good on your resume. It is calculated that the average employee will have 5 job switches before retirement, although this number is increasing all the time and could even reach 25 in the future!

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3. Talk to HR or your manager.

Before deciding to leave or making any rash decisions, try to talk to your line manager and tell them why you are unhappy with your present job and responsibilities. Your conversation might cover:

  • Working hours. Any chance of flexible hours or working from home?
  • Reallocation of duties. You may feel that you are overloaded.
  • Recognition of the work you have done on a project. You may feel that you have not been rewarded sufficiently.
  • Talents/skills are underused and you do not feel sufficiently challenged. Mention a project you would like to be involved in. Ask for more responsibility which may be a better match for your skills.

4. Look for ways to improve your present job.

If there is no willingness on the part of management to meet you halfway, you can still try to improve your own work environment. You can also start to think of acquiring new skills and getting involved in projects which you have dismissed up until now.

  • Seek out new mentors or colleagues who can be allies.
  • Express an interest in a new project and say you are willing and able.
  • Avoid toxic colleagues as much as possible.
  • Try to beat a deadline and finish before time. This can earn you praise and appreciation from colleagues and management.
  • Offer to help a colleague you like with a difficult task.
  • Break the dreaded routine by doing something pleasant both before and after you finish work. In this way your working hours are preceded and followed by activities that you can really look forward to.

If work stress is affecting your family/personal relationships, get professional help.

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“There are countless studies on the negative spillover of job pressures on family life, but few on how job satisfaction enhances the quality of family life.” –Albert Bandura

5. Time to move on?

If all the above measures fail to improve your situation and you still find the job unbearable, it may be time to start a job search and try to move on. Look for jobs which suit your talents better. If you feel that you are lacking in any skills, aim to train up. You will need them on your resume.

Think of this as a long term project and that every day is moving you closer to escaping from the present inferno.

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Make sure you know that you are a strong candidate for that dream job. Have you all the qualifications and experience? Are your people skills suitable? If you are in any doubt, try the quiz here.

Finally, make no rash decisions which could affect your stress levels, family finances or overall mental health. Take things one step at a time.

How have you managed to stay in a job you hated? Did you succeed in escaping and finding a better job? Let us know in the comments below. 

Featured photo credit: Peter Owen happy at work/ Jacob Botter via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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