Hating your job and being miserable at work has a negative impact on your whole life. You lose your energy for everything, not just your work. That misery can strain your relationships and drain the colour from your life.
Does hating every minute of your job sound familiar?
Are you waiting for the fun to return to life (and wondering if it will ever happen)?
Do you spend all your waking hours staring down a dark tunnel with no bright light of hope at the end?
If you answered yes to any of these, it's time to do something about it.
Leaving your job feels like a really good idea. But you could be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fryer with a worse job than the one you have now.
Unless you know what you want next, you may find yourself in an even worse situation.
And then there’s the financial aspect. How long could you cope without your salary and how soon could you get another (and better) position?
So you need to figure out what your problem with your current job and what you could gain or lose by quitting now.
This may not be easy when you’re trying to just hold it together, but planning ahead like this could prevent you from making a rash move. In fact, the more thought, preparation and planning you put in place, the easier and faster it will be for you to find a new role that’s right for you.
It’s tempting to quit when your job is getting you down. And sometimes, that’s the right choice because you might need to leave a toxic environment before you can focus on finding something better. But even so, do some planning so you’ve got the practicalities sorted out first.
If nothing else, it’s a good idea to check the job market for a few weeks first to determine the availability of role you’re seeking. You also need to make sure the jobs on offer are in the right location and at the right salary for your needs. And before you make any decisions, make sure you’ve got enough money in the bank to see you through.
If you’re at a crossroads in your career or know you’ll need something fast, arrange to talk to a career consultant. A career consultant will help you identify a role and organisation that’s better suited to you, ensure you understand your skills and abilities and support you in your job search.
You don’t have to do everything yourself or do it in a rush. Once you’ve decided quitting your job is the best option make plans, do research and enable better decisions about your future.
If you walk into a new job and realise immediately that it’s not right for you, you may feel you have to hang on for a period of time before you move on. Of course, that might give other employers the impression you’re unreliable if you leave a new job soon after starting, but you might have valid reasons for leaving. These include key aspects of the job changing soon after or just before you started or a change in your personal situation that made the job untenable.
Of course, it just be the case that you walked in and realised the job was a huge mistake and you have to get out fast. You can do that and you can also fudge it on your CV so you don’t have to explain things to your next employer.
However, you do need to be aware of your contractual obligations. So read the contract carefully before you do anything. Don’t risk getting sued for breach of contract. If you work in a small, tight-knit industry, you may need to consider your reputation. So, check your contract and take legal advice so you’re clear on your options.
If walking out isn’t an option, your other option is to discuss your issues with HR or your line manager. If you’ve joined a large organisation, you may be able to move to another department or different roles.
Even if you're in a position to leave from a legal point of view, your personal situation and timing are other key factors when considering another job search. Before you do anything, it’s worth considering your options from the security of a regular salary.
If you’re not sure, get some advice from a career consultant so you can assess your situation from a more objective standpoint.
Your salary is likely to be a huge consideration when it comes to deciding whether to quit. It’s even more significant when that money could fund a new venture or give you financial security. If so, weigh up the relative pros and cons of leaving now or leaving later.
Leaving now might mean an end to your misery but it could also mean you won’t be able to pay off your mortgage as fast as you planned, fund the kids through university, pay off debts or shore up your pension.
So, the decision to hang on in a job you hate and take the money will depend on several factors, including:
Your decision will come down to whether the money is more important than what you want to do next with your life. Only you can weigh up the odds and decide what’s best. Of course, it’s worth remembering that there are no guarantees in life and if you want to move on, maybe it’s worth taking a calculated risk and just going for it.
If you decide to sit it out and keep the salary, you stay focused on the positive aspects of your situation and do what you can to protect yourself emotionally, physically and psychologically. Build the rest of your life so you don’t sink under the weight of your own misery. Cultivate a positive attitude and keep your eye on the prize.
There may be times when you look at your life and career and simply feel trapped.
But there are many alternatives to your situation. There are ways to be self-employed or to start a business. You can retrain into an area of work that you love and gives you a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Maybe you could work abroad or do a less stressful job for a while. Maybe you need to relocate so you can follow a completely different path.
Of course, finding something better means you have to be willing to change, and change isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s far easier to stay and moan about your current job. But there is another way, one that will ensure your working life will change forever.
Maybe you’ve considered a different career, but somehow, you’ve lost your faith in employers. You hear horror stories from people in every kind of role and industry. Nowhere feels like a safe destination for your career right now.
You can hear the prison doors slamming. You feel trapped, frustrated and scared. Is this it for the next 20, 30 or 40 years?
The answer is ‘Only if you let it be.’
Before anything else, you need to realise that you're the author of your own destiny. Recognise that if you’re capable of creating something you hate, you’re also capable of creating something you love. So don’t dump the responsibility for your misery on your employer’s doorstep when it’s you who needs to own it.
When you hate something, it tends to consume all your attention and energy. It feels as if it dominates your life. And in a way it does, because you focus on it. Wherever you go and whatever you do, your hideous job seems to be there. But hating your job won’t make it feel better. To do that, give your attention to what you love – or at least to discovering what you love.
That being said, it can feel hard to be positive. In fact, you don’t even WANT to feel good. But there are some simple steps you can take to switch your mindset.
Begin by noticing which parts of your job you like. There will be aspects of your job you enjoy but you’ve probably lost sight of them. Next, start to appreciate what’s good about your company, your situation and the people you work with (both colleagues and clients). You may not think there's anything to be grateful for, but when you start to look, you’ll find lots of good hiding in all that bad – even if it’s just your monthly salary!
Finally, do your best to avoid office gossip, moaning about your boss and criticising every decision made by your company. Instead, work on your mindset to look for opportunities. Become more efficient so you can power through tasks you dislike and make time for more challenging and enjoyable work.
Who knows, you might get promoted to a new and far better role.
If your work can’t deliver anything good for you right now and you’re not able to leave, look for good things elsewhere in your life. Make the effort to meet new people, learn something new and make time for friends and activities outside of work.
Cut the long hours at work, find ways to re-energise and feel more engaged in your life and work. If work feels toxic, decide how to detoxify – and don’t choose alcohol, drugs or spending as sticking plasters for your pain.
Get your finances in order too. Build your savings, pay off any debts and sort out your mortgage and pension. If your salary isn’t stretching as far as you’d like, look for economies. Are you paying out for something you no longer want or need? Could you economise so your outgoings are lower? Aim to save regularly to give yourself a nest-egg.
It’s easy to believe that you’re stuck with what you’ve got, but you always have options. Once you begin to see those options, you’ll feel less trapped. You’ll be able to see this job and this situation isn’t forever, it’s just what you have now.
Hating your job is painful. It can make your whole life feel agonising and purposeless. But the ball's in your court. It’s you who decides how your life is. You may have unwittingly created a work situation you hate but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. There are always choices. It may take effort and energy to grasp the opportunities open to you, but you can do it.
Your job isn’t the enemy – in fact, it’s providing you with an income and livelihood that will give you time to rethink, reassess and rediscover what you truly want from life and work. It won’t happen over-night and you may slip back into negativity now and again, but if you persevere, you’ll achieve your goals.
If you are looking to gain more purpose and fulfilment from your job, do get in touch. We have a complete online programme to help you get out of your current situation and to transition into something that fulfils you more.
Do reach out for help if you need to work out what your work purpose is all about.
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