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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

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Robert Locke

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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