This post is part of the series “Listen to Mom” written by guest blogger, HR Mom.
While scanning through articles on US News.com, I stumbled on How to Survive When You Hate Your Job by Liz Wolgemuth. Yikes!! Flashback to my last Corporate America job and me starting to apply for new jobs at the end of the very first month! You might find yourself in such a situation, so here’s some thoughts on the subject.
Ms. Wolgemuth suggests a five-point strategy to surviving in a miserable job:
- Figure out what’s changed. Understand the reasons you’re miserable in your job so you won’t continue the misery in the new job you eventually find.
- Start a research project. Often people hate their jobs because of co-workers. Identify why you find co-workers frustrating to deal with and try new ways to relate with them.
- Start with gratitude. Recognize the value of your position even if you’re not satisfied in your current job.
- Look around the office. Negativity breeds negativity so break the cycle and make a co-worker’s job less miserable.
- Help colleagues with three things that tend to make workers miserable: 1) they feel anonymous; 2) they feel irrelevant, as though their work doesn’t matter; and 3) they don’t know how to measure their success. Help co-workers by providing positive feedback in these areas.
It’s Your Conscious Choice
Very often employees complain of how miserable they are, how bad it is in their section, how no one likes anyone, how the supervisor is ineffective, blah, blah, blah. Well, I firmly believe that it’s an employee’s responsibility to create personal work satisfaction. As Zig Ziglar, trainer and author, wrote in his book Top Performance, “Look for what you want—not for what you don’t want.” His suggestion to deal with a job you hate is to look for what you love in your job. Watch Mr. Ziglar on YouTube talk about his strategy. It’s much better than any summary could ever be.
My Personal Strategy
It took me almost three years to leave that company for another job. Talk about low morale! Most of the employees wanted to leave but couldn’t because they would have to take a cut in pay at a new job. Most everyone complained about something or somebody, even door prizes and parties. Human Relations is the people complaint department; the go-to place for any people problems. Talk about negativity breeding negativity! I couldn’t wait to leave at the end of the day.
This is how I handled my miserable situation:
- I just accepted that I would remain at that job for the rest of my life and I’d better make the best of it.
- I stopped hating being there.
- I made my job more interesting. I started improving how I did my work. I taught myself new skills like using Lotus (the earlier version of Excel) because there was no training offered by the company. Volunteered for new and different assignments or did more with my assignments. Developed my career skills in HR as much as I could. And fostered positive relationships with co-workers, e.g., a lunch partner.
- Continued to apply at other companies. Sometimes prayed.
Almost a year after my attitude changed I got a new job. One that was fun. One that I looked forward to going to every Monday.
Listen to Mom
As it was back then for me, it’s not feasible to just quit and be unemployed as you might not find another job right away, especially in today’s economy. You could easily move back home with mom and dad but that’s not the point of being an independent adult, is it?
I hope that you never are in a miserable job. But if you are, remember you find what you look for in life. It’s really your attitude that makes the difference.