I once heard someone say he wished he would get sick so he wouldn’t have to go to work.
He dreaded going to his job so much that getting hit by a bus would have been a welcome relief from another day of “the grind”. He hated it all…from his fluorescent lit cubicle to his co-worker who liked to eat stinky, noisy food and cut her fingernails in between “loud talking” on the telephone. Oh, and don’t get him started on his boss. The micromanaging, idea stealing, credit taking, cold fish who never quite looked him in the eye and seemed to take great joy in adding to his already overflowing inbox. Sometimes he was quite sure the movie “Office Space” was based on his life…or was it “Groundhog Day?”
He had landed what seemed to be a good gig nearly 10 years earlier. He was technically in a senior level role but felt like a “yes man”, doing things the way they had always been done and for reasons that seemed to escape him sometimes. He had stopped trying to find new and better ways of doing things years earlier as they had been largely ignored. His boss seemed more concerned about pleasing her boss than actually doing the “right” thing, so he just carried on. He was paid ok, had excellent healthcare benefits, a pension and 4 weeks of vacation a year. The commute was a little long and he regularly worked in the evenings and on weekends with no extra pay so he could keep on top of his workload-- which seemed to be getting heavier…but wasn’t everybody’s? He had become resigned to the fact that this was his life. Part of him felt like he should be grateful for even having a job…and he was-- that was what made him stay. He was aware that some people aren’t so lucky and would be thrilled to have paid vacation, health benefits etc. Why then, did he daydream about receiving a pink slip? He wondered why other people in the same work situation seemed genuinely happy with it, seemed to feel fulfilled and content to grind it out until retirement? What made him so different?
Well, if you are reading this, perhaps you can relate a bit (or a lot) to this man. What do you suppose a Career Counsellor would advise him to do? What sort of advice would be given to someone who might feel stuck or chronically bored or even desperate to get out of a bad work situation? Quit? Update your resume? Start looking for a new job? Follow your passion? Stick it out for the benefits? Complain to or about your boss? Yell at your co-worker? Start a gratitude practice? Take a course? Volunteer for new projects at work?
Well…maybe. It depends.
The thing is, even though I have been counselling people on career matters for many years, each situation is unique. There is no easy, step by step, career hack that works for everybody. There are just way too many variables.
This is why, each week, for the next 4 weeks, I will outline a small thing for you to try to begin to jiggle yourself from your mold. If you are in a crappy work situation, one thing you should probably try to reconcile pretty quickly is that you won’t be able to change your situation overnight. Unless you decide to tell your boss to shove it and walk out and there aren’t too many instances where I would recommend that to anybody. On the flip side, there is almost always a solution to every problem. What’s the quote? I think it’s “Everything is figureoutable.” You can most definitely improve your situation and make your life better. You don’t need to stay stuck forever. So…here it is:
The 1 Thing You Should Do This Week If You Hate Your Job:
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are”. J.P. Morgan
It’s called the What Have You Actually Done Exercise
We both know that feeling sorry for yourself, complaining, moping, avoiding, numbing, procrastinating, making excuses or otherwise not doing anything about your situation isn’t helping. What have you actually done to try to change your situation? How badly do you actually want to make a change?
Write down everything you have done to try to change or feel better about your situation. If you have some things on the list, also include the outcome of the thing. Was it helpful? A waste of time? Next, write down one thing you will do this week to try to change or feel better about your situation and commit to doing it. (If you aren’t sure what to do, perhaps start by giving some thought to what you want your life to look like, the impact you’d like to have on the world, what you have to offer that isn’t being offered or what your dream job would actually look like?)
That’s it. Give it a try…until next week!
Ready to make a move and want some support to make it easier and more successful? I can help!