Some say, if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, who wouldn’t want to have a job they love and wake up every morning excited to tackle the day ahead? Unfortunately, for many people, that’s just not the case. Job misery isn’t uncommon and it happens for a lot of reasons. Maybe it was a good fit at first but either you or the industry has changed. Maybe you’re feeling bored or unchallengied Maybe you’re dealing with toxic people or a toxic environment.
Your career is a big part of your life and when it’s making your unhappy that negativity can follow you home, affecting your mental and physical well-being and straining relationships with family and friends. But your job isn’t a life sentence. Don’t resign yourself to being miserable until you’re old enough to retire. Do something to remedy the situation.
Before you fix anything, you need to identify the problem. What exactly is about your job that’s making you unhappy? Is it the hours, the pay, a specific task, a difficult co-worker or a terrible boss? Are you simply just feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied? Have you disliked your job from the start? In any case, take some time to get your thoughts down on paper. Write out your work complaints. Once you know what the main issues are, you can start to address them.
Now that you know what’s making you unhappy at work, it’s time to consider some solutions. In most situations, you’ve got two options: stay or go. Of course, it’s never quite that simple. Whether you want to stay and make it work at your current job or leave and find something new, here are some tips for getting through it:
Take action. You’ve got a list of reasons why your job is making you unhappy. With this is mind, is there anything you can do to fix those specific problems? If there’s a problematic person you work with, consider if you can switch desks or change locations. If you’re bored, can you take on more responsibility? If you’re stressed, can you reduce your workload in any way? It might be time to sit down with your boss and make some requests that could ease the misery.
Change your outlook. It’s hard to stay positive when we’re caught in a negative situation, but finding the good in the bad can help. Dragging yourself to a job you hate can be depressing, anxiety-inducing, and soul-crushing. It can drain your emotional energy, making you irritable and angry, which is stressful for you and your family. Is there another perspective through which you could view your job? Instead of looking at it as a punishment, can you see it as an opportunity to refine your skills and gain experience? If that seems impossible, start out by making a list of what went right today and keep tracking the good things.
Try harder. If you dislike your job—especially if that dislike has grown over time—you may find yourself slacking off. You do the bare minimum required to get through the day and have settled for mediocrity. However, this method is as bad for you as it is for your employer. It won’t help you like your job any better, nor will it leave you satisfied at the end of the day. Take pride in your work and focus on doing a good job. If nothing else, doing good work may give you a confidence boost!
Find a different focus. It may not feel like it, but here’s more to life than your job. Stop taking your work stress home with you and fully enjoy your time away from it. Remind yourself that you’re working so you can support the life you have outside the office. Your family, your friends, your home, your hobbies. We all want a dream job, but what really enriches your life is what happens outside work hours.
Start a job search. Once upon a time, you’d start a career as a young adult and stay the course until you retire. That’s just not the case anymore. It’s become more and more common for people to have multiple jobs over the course of your career. The job you have now doesn’t need to be permanent. There are other jobs out there for you. Get your resume ready and set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to browse the job listings and start applying.
Start saving. If you’ve tried to make some improvements at work to no avail and your job search hasn’t paid off yet, then start saving your money. Build up your own fund so that if your work situation becomes completely unbearable, you can quit and get by on what you saved until you find something new.