What to do when you HATE your job with a passion!
I spent time last week coaching a young professional who hated his job in a small, family run organisation. In fact he hated it so badly that the things he claimed he would rather be doing instead, covered all manner of unspeakable things, too awful to mention involving finger nails, dentists and Kabul. You get the picture.
He hated the work, he hated his bosses, he hated his colleagues. He vented for a while, but when we got into specifics, mostly he hated the way he was treated and spoken to, but above all he hated the chaos and the stress. He outlined some of the issues that especially caused him grief and truthfully those practices at best would be considered bad management, and at worst, workplace bullying. Attempts to self advocate had been unceremoniously dismissed and there was no HR function.
Leopards and spots
I have worked in this type of family run, small business and know the environment well. The words leopards and spots, blood and water come to mind. It is unlikely that any employee will be able to make a dent in that can of worms and undo not just decades of working habits, but also family culture, when normal business protocols generally don’t apply. In a small organization, transferring to another department or changing job functions are not options, so for this young man there seemed to be two choices – stay or go.
Hating your job isn’t good. We spend 2000 hours a year in the workplace at least, so it’s hard to pitch up at the office to do something you passionately dislike. Usually if you hate your job everyone can tell and will interact accordingly. Being desperately unhappy will also affect performance and added stress leads to mistakes, creating a vicious cycle of poor interaction, escalating tension and mis-managed expectations.
If you hate your job –check out the individual career transition programmes to make an effective forward move.
There are many of reasons people end up in jobs they hate: inadequate hiring processes and poor candidate decisions to name but two. During the recession many people took jobs that weren’t ideal simply to pay their bills. Jobs and situations also change after the start date creating unanticipated circumstances.
Work on you
In any situation the only person you can change is yourself.
• Manage your emotions. Don’t resign in a fit of desperation. Pique doesn’t pay the bills, you do and they will not go away. It is also easier to get a job from a job.
• Do some inner work. Time to review your life and professional goals and complete a C.A.R.S. analysis (Challenges, Actions, Results , Skills). Make sure you know what you’re good at and what you goals are.
• Make a list of what you like about the jobs – there will always be something.
• Change your attitude. If you go into the office looking down, are detached, act dejected and withdrawn, your colleagues will feed off that and respond accordingly.
• Check your work. Stress impacts accuracy and you are more likely to make careless mistakes. Create a “To do” list every night for the following day, making sure you schedule the work you hate the most first or at your period of highest energy. Feeling that you have achieved something, even when you loathe doing it will make you feel better.
• Find a mentor – someone who can guide you. Even in a small company there has to be one person you can ask for advice.
• Silence is golden – don’t post your dislike of your work situation on Facebook or Twitter. Bosses use social media too.
• Monitor your health – stress impacts everyone in different ways. Exercise, see friends, eat healthily, have enough sleep and make time for you. If you find you are struggling with anything seek professional help.
• Start your job search discreetly and reach into your network. Let search and recruitment contacts know that you are open for a move.
• Prepare your interview story. Don’t bad mouth your company. A skilled interviewer will be able to interpret what you don’t say if you focus on your future requirements.
• Resign correctly – give the appropriate amount of notice and leave your desk and workload in mint handover condition.
• Leave graciously – you may not realise it yet but you have had a substantial learning experience and developed many key skills: resilience, diligence, commitment, focus. If your colleagues behave badly you will always know that you did the right thing.
But above all , you will make better choices next time!
If you hate your job – get in touch NOW!
Thanks for this. It really is incredibly wise. I’ve worked with others who felt like this and mainly for much the same reasons – poor management and a lack of respect and recognition. These arn’t exclusive to small organizations but it is more difficult to deal with the problems in a small organization. Yes, I too would recommend sticking with it until you can make a dignified move into something else. In the years ahead you may well find you learned much from this experience, not least how not to manage. If you can, put yourself in the driving seat and gain a sense of control from managing your own exit well!
Wendy – thanks for your comment. My old econmics teacher used to have a great word
” stickability”. It is a quality that is useful – a bit like endurance when times get tough!
Really great advice Dorothy. Many years ago I made the mistake of leaving without a job to go to, but that was running away, and it did my confidence no good at all.
More recently, I’ve worked with lots of people who are going through similar experiences, and I support every word you’ve written about moving on effectively and gracefully, whether it’s from a badly run family firm or a maverick manager in a multintional..
On the other side of the coin, I also had the huge pleasure a few years back of working with a family firm that recognised a dip in morale and put a huge amount of effort into developing a more productive culture and better work processes. I think the fact that the boss had trained as a coach was helpful, though.
Thanks Anne – I appreciate your comment. It’s always dfficult being in that situation – but glad you found a way forward! .
Making a balance of pro’s and contra’s can help…except when one has the financial freedom and time (and if there’s no urgent reason to quit immediately) I would never recommend leaving a job without finding a better alternative…it’s far more easy to apply from an existing job than having to explain why/what/when etcetera over and over again…I only did it once, it was not my own decision and thus for other reasons, and I would never do this again. I prefer to play safe and to notice my employer well in advance when I find/found another job so she/he can/could approve my move without feeling harmed in any way. Mutual consent works better in the long run.