Do you hate your job? You might be surprised how many people despise their work. Even those making upwards of six figures can find the grind most tedious and would do nearly anything to change it. So why don’t they? Chances are, especially at the high end, people have locked themselves into a lifestyle that requires a certain level of money and position that becomes inescapable, or so they think.
If you were one of the millions of folks displaced from a job during the recession, you’re just counting your blessings and dealing with whatever unpleasantness comes along at work. Whatever the reason for staying, there are many reasons why people hate their jobs.
Much of what causes people to dislike their jobs has to do with a lack of obvious appreciation or recognition for your efforts. It takes more than a paycheck to feel fulfilled in your profession and most people don’t get the recognition they feel they deserve for hard work and dedicated service.
Recognition can also come from promotion and a change in responsibilities which can offer more challenges to your day, as well as a better paycheck. If you don’t have opportunities to grow within an organization, you’re likely to feel stifled and unproductive. That will eat away at you over time.
Another reason for someone might feel badly in their job is when they feel they’re meant to do something else or went to school for something entirely different. We all have had moments when we thought we should be something else. I grew up thinking I was going to be a doctor. When I finally enrolled in a pre-med program, I found I really didn’t like it and transferred into an engineering track.
Despite what the academics would like us to believe, very few people really know what they want to do at the age of 18 when society is telling us to choose a lifelong career. The fact is we’re just not that grown up yet and, if we think we are and choose a direction, it often change with age and experience.
So what do you do if you are one of those who is just plain unhappy at work? First, it might be a good idea to try to find another job. Don’t wait until you lose the one you have to be looking for something better. Knee-jerk reactions to an employment crisis rarely bring about good change in life, instead just leading to more of the same mediocrity. Get out there and start looking and interviewing for the kind of work you really feel like you want to do, provided it meets your financial and professional qualifications.
Secondly, if changing jobs isn’t a practical option right now, try to provide yourself with some self-rewards and do things throughout the week to make your situation more enjoyable. As an independent worker and small business owner, I don’t get “rewards” for what I do all day. There is no employee of the month or chance for promotion. I’m as high up as I get and, unless the cat learns to use the printer, it’s doubtful I’m going to receive a certificate for outstanding performance anytime soon.
I still need to stay motivated, though, and so do you. So set up rewards for yourself throughout the week. For example, say you have a big project coming up that may test your patience and tolerance of others. Instead of going home stressed every night, establish yourself some rewards for hanging in there. Schedule a special lunch with a friend or ice cream after work. Go to a movie with your significant other in the middle of the week or even plan for a day off if possible.
These observations merely brush the surface of why people might hate their job, but it’s a start. Having a plan to help yourself better enjoy your work will reduce your stress level and increase your productivity. It will also make you less dependent on others for personal growth and self-worth. More importantly, developing a system of self-reward is something you can take with you.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown. More at www.deerinheadlines.com.