You work — a lot. In fact, many of us spend more time at the office, getting to work and thinking about work than we spend with friends and family. So what should you do when you hate your job?
The first thing to do is realize that you should never feel stuck. You may have bills to pay, but there are always things you can do to improve your situation. Here are a few suggestions to get you moving in a positive direction.
1. Make a list of the things you hate about your job. Don’t write “everything” – be specific. It could be the long commute, a difficult colleague or the actual work you are performing.
2. Next, write down your personal and professional goals. With regard to personal goals, focus on things that you need to feel happy, such as spending time with your family or pursuing a hobby. With regard to your professional goals, think about where you’d like your career to be in five years.
3. Compare your two lists. Are you able to achieve your personal and professional goals in your current job, even though there are things about it that you hate? If the answer is yes, your best bet is trying to find a solution that will allow you to be happier at work.
4. Talk to your supervisor or a human resources director about your situation. Begin by saying that you are committed to helping your department and your company succeed. Then ask for help in resolving the problem you are having without making specific demands. Your goal is to find a solution that works for both you and your department. As an example, if a long commute and work hours are preventing you from spending time with your children, could you start an hour earlier to avoid traffic, or work from home one day a week? Could additional training allow you to do more fulfilling work or take on a leadership position? Could moving to another desk, away from distractions, make you more productive and less stressed? If you are a valuable employee, your company will do what it can to make you happy.
5. If you find that your personal or professional goals are out of alignment with your current position – or in the unlikely case that your supervisor has no interest in helping you resolve your situation – begin quietly taking steps toward a job or career change. Talking to a professional recruiter can often help you determine if your current skills are in demand, or if you need to acquire additional skills through training to get the job you want. Recruiters are also a big help in determining which companies and work environments might be a good fit for you, so that you don’t end up with another job you don’t like. Be patient and stay focused on your goals. Continue to be supportive at work and perform your job well so that if needed, you will receive a positive reference.
When we focus on the solution rather than the problem, we allow more opportunities for success to come into view. Good luck in your career!