Let’s start off by setting the record straight. No one is completely happy at work all the time. In fact, it’s completely normal to be bogged down, frustrated, or unhappy with your career from time to time. Everyone has said, “I hate my job,” at some point in their career. If we never had any of those feelings, we would never truly grow. Think of them as career growing pains. They are there to teach you valuable lessons. You just need to parse out what those lessons are.
Do I Hate My Job?
At certain points in our career we can feel aggravation, frustration, and even desperation. These negative emotions can be valuable learning experiences, and strong motivators. The trick is to turn these anxieties into action steps.
Career Growing Pains
Take a moment to ask yourself what you are experiencing, personally. Maybe you just dread going into work—you just generally hate your job. Some people report feeling physically ill on a regular basis from the stress and anxiety of their work. Other people may be able to slog along, but feel tired, listless, and unmotivated.
Unease with your job or career can take a number of a forms. You’ll want to identify and address these work issues before they begin to carry over into other parts of your life.
Eventually, if these problems go unheeded, they will build up and become major issues with your psychological and physical well-being. Let them act as motivators, to make a change. Hopefully, you can address these issues before they go on too long. If you find yourself dreading getting out of bed in the morning, or unable to maintain healthy relationships that you once enjoyed, it’s definitely time to look toward a new career (and it may be time to consider chatting with a psychologist).
Interpreting the Signs
There are plenty of reasons for people to be unhappy at work, at any given time. It’s on each individual to determine the best way to handle the situation though. There are, generally, three options that work. Option 1: Work to change the thing that is making you unhappy. Option 2: Ignore the negative and accentuate the positive. Option 3: Leave the thing that is making you unhappy behind—move on.
Depending on your situation, any of these options could be viable. No single option is necessarily better than the others. It just depends on what’s worth it, for you.
Option 1: Make a Change
For many things that annoy or frustrate us in the workplace, it’s possible to take the initiative and change them. Often, other people are just waiting for someone to take up the gauntlet and make the first move.
Make yourself heard
Bring up your ideas and concerns through the appropriate channels. Offer solutions, and offer to help implement the solutions, so that you are increasing your value to the organisation. Bringing up constructive comments on your work processes will show that you care about the well-being of the organisation, and that you understand the greater objectives of your colleagues. This is a great option to pursue if you think you are still interested in building a career within your current organisation.
Option 2: Accentuate the Positive
In some cases, it’s possible to get through the negatives by accentuating the positive aspects of your job. This is especially true when you can feel the negativity seeping into your workplace from those around you. Rather than giving into the prevailing mood, be a lightning rod for positivity.
Accentuating the positive simply means focusing on, and improving, those aspects of your job or workplace that you enjoy. Think about the reasons why you started working at your organisation. Think of the best days you’ve had while working there. Compare the downsides to the upsides—if you have enough upsides to keep you going, then put your attention there for now. You can always go back to step one and offer a solution if you identify a specific one. For now, focus on the positive, and get the morale of your team back up.
Option 3: Move On
This option takes the most conviction, and has the widest implications. When you feel as though you can’t go on, and that your job is taking a toll on your life in general, it may be time to move on. Not every workplace is going to be right for you. Sometimes you do more harm to yourself by staying, then by trying something different.
If you feel as though you are going nowhere in your career, and that your organisation doesn’t or won’t hear what you have to say, you owe it to yourself to move on.
Making the Choice
This is not an easy choice to make. Consider the following questions when trying to decide which course of action to take:
- Are you proud of your work?
- Are you getting better at your role, or are you putting in less effort by the day?
- Are you getting the most out of your role (learning and growing)?
- Are you putting the most into your role (or are you distracted and bored)?
- Can you switch off from work, and enjoy yourself on a regular basis?
- Is anyone in a leadership position taking any interest in your progression?
If you’re still feeling good about your answers to most of these questions, it’s time to ask yourself the all-important question:
- What are you willing to do, in order to fall in love with your job again?
Define Your Own Success
Only you can answer this question for yourself. Are you willing to address the situation, and put the effort in to correct it? Is it worth it to you?
If your answer is no, that does not mean that you are giving up. Quite the opposite, really. It means that you are putting the effort into your own well-being, making an investment in yourself, and giving yourself a better career trajectory.
The action step that you settle on isn’t always going to be the same as those around you; some people may disapprove of your choice. In the end, the choice is yours, and as long as you are taking another step forward, in whichever direction you choose, you are succeeding.
Wherever you are in this aspect of your career journey, you are not alone. Whether you are deciding a course of action, making changes, or starting anew, reach out today and find the help you need!