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:
- 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!
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.
“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.
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