Are you in a job that stinks? Do you wake up every morning saying “I HATE MY JOB?” I know I have. I worked for one company and every day I plotted how I could get myself fired. Could I go and yell at my boss? Could I really screw up by not doing any work? Could I miss deadlines? Could I not show up at meetings? You know, I couldn’t think of anything that I could do to get fired. The pain of going in to work became so great, I started talking to people outside of work and asked them if they knew of anything. Then, one day, a manager announced he was leaving our company. I asked him where he was going. “To a new start-up” was his reply. Intrigued, I asked more questions. We met for coffee. I interviewed and got the job a month later.
Let me back up to the part where I tried to get myself fired. It wasn’t going to work. You know why? My plans were mostly passive, not doing things. The faster way would have been insubordination, but that would have tarnished my reputation and that was just inconceivable. Why didn’t I try and fix the situation instead of whining? Because I didn’t know how or didn’t want to or it would be too much work. I didn’t take the time to really figure out what would make the situation better because I was lazy.
Hating your job stinks. It is draining, it hurts the old ego, it debilitates and paralyzes. We don’t think clearly. We are too close to the situation to look at it objectively. We need help from someone who can think clearly and walk us through scenarios. Not just any scenarios, but ones that are effective and actionable.
Someone needs to develop a course on “How to fix a broken job”. There are lots of articles and general advice on the topic, but you want it customized based on your situation, right? Seth Godin’s post Getting Unstuck: Solving the Perfect Problem profoundly explains why getting unstuck is so difficult. In the meantime, if you hate your job, consider these things:
- What are the things that make you hate your job? Too much _________? Not enough ____________?
- What would make the situation better? New tasks, new manager, new project?
- How many times have you met with you manager to specifically discuss your dissatisfaction? What solutions did they provide?
- Why can’t you change the situation?
- If you were someone else, what advice would you give yourself?
- Who else within the company could you talk to for advice?
- Do you like the people you work with?
It has been said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. I have to agree. And let me add, good managers are hard to find.
You don’t need to LOVE your job, but it would be nice. You just need to like it enough to tolerate it and work on making it more rewarding. In order to do that, you need to know what you think you want, what will make you happy. Figure out what you don’t like about your job and use that as a guide to move forward. Screen new opportunities carefully. Meet the team. Really get to know your potential manager. If you get bad vibes, guess what? That means something.