Hate Your Job? Don’t Quit – Do This Instead.
Hating your job is a really awful thing. There’s a persistent feeling of being trapped and aimless, you dread Mondays more than the rest and your chants of “TGIF” sound more like a cry for help.
We’ve all had fantasies of quitting in a huff, packing up our things and strutting out of the office and in all of those fantasies, we are Bridget Jones. Yet one of the many, many cruel truths you realise as you get older (it’s actually not awesome to eat nothing but ice cream for dinner, smh), quitting on the spot is super irresponsible.
Here are some things to consider instead of marching up to your boss and telling them you’re dunzo:
#1 Set a timeline
You’ve been there six months now and you know for certain it’s definitely not your piece of cake. Instead of cutting your losses and getting out of there as soon as possible, make yourself a realistic timeline. You don’t want a dark, gaping hole on your resume because it could look a little bit iffy to potential employers. And dashing all prospects of a different job is definitely not what you need right now.
We think a year is a pretty solid effort to stick it out. If you think you can wait that long, then do so. Not only will it reflect better on you, you’ll feel like you really gave it your best. If you can’t, that’s cool too (some jobs are just THAT BAD); but make sure you make your exit strategically.
So what to do in the meantime?
#2 Upskill like a boss
Teaching yourself new skills will not only prove your worth to yourself, but also to the people who are hiring you. Think about the tools you lack that could be attractive to potential employers: Photoshop, graphic design, advanced Excel. Turn yourself into a one-person fix-it machine.
Also, going to classes and learning new things will also open your eyes to a huge amount of possibility. Maybe you dislike your job because it’s not the right career path for you, rather than just disliking the job itself. And you might also meet people who can help with your career while doing these classes (#networking) – teachers, fellow students…
No one ever lost anything from learning something new.
#3 Remain positive
This one is probably the most important tip to follow and the hardest to achieve. When you feel unhappy in a work situation, negativity claws at your common sense persistently. It feels inescapable. Sarcasm and bitchiness fall out of your mouth faster than you can catch it and soon enough, you’re swirling in your own pit of bitterness.
I get it, we’ve all been there. But rather than being a harmless way of letting the time go by, bitching will do more harm for you than good.
If you trick yourself into treating the crappy stuff like white noise, soon it will become just that. As my favourite Margaret Atwood quote goes, “You may not be able to alter reality but you can alter your attitude towards it and this, paradoxically, alters reality.”
And the best way to distract yourself?
#4 Go heavy on the life in work-life balance
If 40 hours of your week are spent in abject misery, you better make those remaining hours count. And I’m actually not talking about “self care”. It’s too easy to slip into the self-care wormhole when you’re already feeling a little blue. All it takes is a nudge for you to say yes to a litre of ice cream and five hours of non-stop television.
While this is perfectly fine to do, and self care in moderation is excellent for your mental health, it is too easy to go overboard. If all your free time is spent by yourself watching television, you’re going to feel more miserable.
Instead, you should make your IRL cool as hell. Exercise a lot and in interesting ways. What about dancing? Rock climbing? Hiking? Trampolining? You should also eat really well, spend lots and lots of time with your friends and family, go to concerts, take an art class, book a weekend getaway every now and then. Make your life so interesting that a Netflix binge sounds like a complete waste of time. Before you know it, your year tenure is up and you’re off to look for more work.
#5 Keep an eye on what’s out there
Check job ads regularly to see if there’s anything out there that speaks to you. The good part about setting yourself a timeline is that it gives you heaps of time to look for the next step, rather than desperately wanting it to come along right at this very moment. You know, a watched pot, etc etc.
Casually searching job ads will also be helpful in allowing you to see what you need to improve on. Do you notice that a lot of jobs in your industry require a particular skill? Brush up on it (see point 2).
The other surprising benefit of keeping an eye on what’s out there is appreciating what you already have. I know, I know. Your job sucks. But the job market can be bleak too, so a subtle reminder that you’re not doing as badly as you thought – and that you’re onto your way somewhere better – is always helpful.