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Career Guide

What to Do If You Hate Your Job

The grind, paper pushing, the 9-5 – whatever you call your time at the office, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that very few of us are lucky enough to wake up every day and head to our ultimate dream job. Mainly because we’re still waiting for the role of Channing Tatum’s personal lady butler to open up, but you know. Keep on keepin’ on.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum are getting their very own dance show and we can’t wait

However, whilst you might not exactly be jumping for joy every time you swipe your security pass, most of us can have a debrief with our work wives, down something caffeinated, and get through the day feeling pretty happy with our lot in life. But if you can’t? Change needs to happen, and sooner rather than later.

Whether you’re enduring bitchy management, being brutally underpaid, getting buried under crazy levels of stress or just feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled on a daily basis, if you really, really, hate your job, here’s an expert’s guide on what to do next…

Figure out exactly what’s wrong

‘First of all, work out the ‘why’,’Evelyn Cotter, founder of SEVEN Career Coaching, advises. ‘Sit down with a piece of paper and work it out in black and white. Try to step outside of your upset and be objective – ask yourself questions like ‘why is my role creating this situation?’, ‘what’s changed?’ ‘is there anything I could do to make the situation better?’, and ‘why am I not doing this?’ Getting clarity around why you hate your job is the first step’.

Talk about it

It’s up to you whether you take this to mean having a vent with your desk mates, or actually opening up a dialogue with your boss, but either way, keeping your feelings on your situation to yourself won’t do you any good. If you do decide to speak to management, Evelyn notes that it’s probably best to avoid the word ‘hate’ – ‘it will undermine you, it’s too emotional and not professional’, she explains. ‘Instead, use the discussion as an opportunity to show your abilities, potential, commitment and interest in the company and industry. Wording is everything.’

Consider other options

Obviously, you could leave – but what if you could find something that would make you happier without having to? ‘If you know your job isn’t right for you, but your company is, once you’re clear on what you need and want you could open a dialogue with your boss or HR, to see if there’s a way you can move into something that would suit you better,’ Evelyn says. ‘If you feel like the job doesn’t fit your strengths, there are ways you can discuss ideas with your boss for adding more activities to your role that do?’

Stay friendly

Unless horrible colleagues are the root of your problem, try not to cut yourself off from your wider team. ‘People become stressed and they start to shut down – they lose their sense of humour and don’t get involved with their colleagues in a social way, because their energy is so low,’ empathises Evelyn. ‘By simply recognising that and starting to open up again, lightening up can help hugely – even if it’s just for the interim.’ So, the next time you’re about to hit send on that mundane email, ditch it for a face-to-face conversation that will actually brighten your day instead.

Focus on the positive

‘Develop the mindset that everything is useful,’ Evelyn says. ‘Everything is teaching you something so you can make better, more informed choices moving forward – so learn from this, use the information you’re getting and develop a new attitude and course of action. Getting to the true root of what’s wrong is the only way to re-invigorate your motivation. The exercise of turning your situation around in your head is fantastic for your personal growth and in developing resistance as you progress up the career ladder.’

Look at the bigger picture

Your job is a huge deal – but your sanity is bigger. ‘Sometimes leaving is the right route and in some situations I’ve seen, leaving without another role has been really important to the person’s mental health and wellbeing,’ she adds. ‘On a scale from 1-10 – 10 being as unhappy as possible – rate yourself. If you’re anything over a 7, seek out professional help to clarify what’s really wrong and work out how you can move back up the scale.’

Make a decision

Should you stay or should you go? Only you can make that decision, and the only thing that matters is that you’re sure that it’s the right one for you. In the wise words of Evelyn: ‘Remember that you are in the driving seat of your own life – there’s no one forcing you to be at this job, there’s thousands of jobs and companies out there that could fit you. Hold yourself accountable for your circumstances – if you stay, remember that’s your decision – you’re in control.’


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