How can you possibly deal with a job you hate, especially in these tough economic times when it is so difficult to find a different job?
If you throw that question out to most high school students, the answer is simple: “Quit.” Fortunately, most of them do not have families to support.
An article in the February 27th edition of The Flagship, a newspaper dedicated to navy families, entitled “Dealing with job you have … even if you hate it …” addresses this issue, The writer, Allison Treloar, writes for In Gear Career, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting career-minded military spouses.
Treloar shares seven strategies to help people cope with jobs they don’t like and find a little career happiness along the way. After all, to quote her, “even if you aren’t happy with your current job, you owe it to yourself to proactively improve your current situation or find a new position that will help you reach your professional goals (and hopefully restore some semblance of your sanity).”
Treloar’s strategies are paraphrased below:
Remind yourself this isn’t permanent – It is easy to believe things will never improve and you will be forever stuck in that situation when you find yourself unhappy where you are. This type of thinking is not only self-defeating but also false.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has discovered that workers, on average, change jobs every 18 to 24 months. That means that workers, as a rule, will no longer work for the same company for 30 years, then retire with a gold watch. Instead, the average person will have between 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their career.
Fight the urge to complain – especially at the office – While everyone needs to vent upon occasion, you should always be mindful to whom you are speaking. A spouse or a trusted friend can provide helpful venting outlets for you, but not everyone should be privy to your concerns.
Sharing your negative feelings about work with your coworkers almost always find their way to the boss, which can place your job in jeopardy. That does not mean you have to act as if everything is sun and roses. If you have a legitimate concern, you should go to your supervisor in a professional manner (with possible solutions, not just complains).
Do not neglect your needs – It is easy to get into the habit of putting all your energy into the cause of your unhappiness in an effort to improve your situation. This approach all too often backfires, compounding the stress you are feeling, and creating additional stress in other areas of your life.
Instead, place your focus should be on achieving balance in your life – and leaving work at work. Plan your schedule to include time at the end of each day for an activity you enjoy doing so you will be motivated and have something to look forward to as you go through the day.
Always keep improving – While overall, your job may make you unhappy, look at it as an ongoing opportunity to develop and hone new skills. The fact you can use these new skills when you begin looking for another job should provide you some comfort.
Take advantage of any training resources your company may offer: take online courses or courses at your local community college. Volunteer to take on a project outside your normal scope of work to help you learn new skills. This combination may lead to new opportunities at your company and will make you more marketable to future employers.
Use your time wisely – If just the thought of going to work each day is worse than dealing with the swine flu, it is definitely time for you to use your spare time looking for a new job – stat! In fact, you need to dedicate a bit of each day to that purpose.
You want to look for a job while you still have a job so you are not seeking a job out of desperation. Besides that, it is normally to get another job while you are still employed. However, the most important reason is that you do not want to get stuck with another job you hate because you feel it is the only job available.
Put yourself out there – When it comes to finding a new job, good things do not come to those who wait. You simply must be proactive and seek out opportunities. Attend CareerExpos and Job Fairs and create/update your Linkedin profile so you can connect with past coworkers and others who worked in your desired industry.
Get some industry – If you still hate your job after doing all the things above, you should take a step back in order to gain some perspective. Believe it or not, in our current economy, there are many people who would be thrilled to have any job – even your job. Keep in mind that no matter how bad your job, it enables you to put food on your table and a roof over your head. While a change in perspective will not make your job magically become better, it may just help you cope better until something changes.