March 9, 2012

coping in a job you really dislike

In an ideal world all of my readers would be doing challenging and interesting jobs that they love! But in the real world this is a tricky and very common problem employees face: what to do if you are stuck in a job that you can't stand. Most of us cannot afford to quit our jobs just because we don't like doing them - jobs are scarce and bills need to be paid...

If you currently spend all your time at work wishing you had a different job, here are a couple of questions I would like to run by you:
  • What is it about your job you don't like? Your boss, your coworkers, the work load or the working environment? Some things (like work load) can be addressed with a little effort and resourcefulness while other reasons (like an abusive working environment) are reason enough to consider actually leaving.
  • What steps have you taken from your side to address the issues? If you do decide to leave, can you say with complete confidence that you did your best to turn things around? If you can't say this, odds are you will leave feeling bitter and struggling to find closure.

If you have done all you can do, and you still wish you could leave but you cannot take the risk of losing your income, you can try a few of the following strategies to keep yourself positive and focused until you find a new opportunity to apply for:
  • Career planning - Set up alerts to notify you when relevant positions open up. That way some of the best opportunities arrive in your mailbox before you need to go looking or them. Decide if you would like to stick to your current career path or try something new. What goals do you need to set in order to make a career change?
  • Remember to smile - If your work drains you, find time to do things that recharge you and put a smile on your face. We often here people talk about work-life balance: just like a bad day at work can negatively affect your personal life, a good day away from work can carry some positive energy over to the office.
  • Time for some training - Now that you know you would like to apply for other positions, are there short courses or workshops you can attend in order to add to your skill set? It might cost you a little money, but showing that you are committed to continuous education can give your job applications a bit more weight.
  • Finish strong - Keep in mind what you would like your employer to say about you when you are no longer working for the company. Even though you may not be very fond of them, they will be on your reference list for a long time to come, so be sure you show integrity and professionalism despite your frustrations.

If you have ever survived a situation like this, what helped you stay strong to the end!?

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