What to do when you hate your job? How do you know when it’s time to leave?
by: Janine Hill
When you hate your job is life really that bad? Can’t you just be satisfied if you are earning a desirable salary? That’s what I used to ask people. In the past, my advice was to dismiss what you hated about your job and tomorrow would be a better day. Find ways to cope. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible and your health and quality of life can be significantly impacted if you are miserable at work. Just one toxic person or deficient leader can have an intense negative affect on your life. Especially if that person can directly influence what you do at work or you have to interface with that person regularly. You might experience feelings of inadequacy, a loss of self confidence, fear of humiliation, shame or disloyalty. As a matter of fact, sometimes you don’t realize how deeply you are affected until you make a change and can compare the before and after.
Everyone has bad days or weeks at work. Over the past few years, the economy has made it difficult to find jobs. Unemployment rates in many areas are still peaking so the thought of leaving a job without having another one is not a reality for everyone. However, if you are fortunate enough to be able to leave the job, the healing process can begin earlier. Most people are not that fortunate so you must find ways to cope and figure out the best solution to the problem. You can’t write off a job because you had a bad day or a bad week but if the negative feelings and resulting behaviors are ongoing, you need to do something about it. So, how do you know when it’s really bad and what do you do about it?
Often, when things are really bad at work, you don’t realize how deeply you are being affected. You need to stop and consider if your personal behavior patterns have changed or you wish your behavior was different. Below are some major warning signs that indicate your situation is worse than you may realize:
- You have less patience for your children
- You are losing sleep
- You have excessive anxiety and feel worried
- Your conversations with friends and family are dominated by talk about work
- You are eating too much or too little
- You aren’t giving your pets the same attention you used to
- You forget things and don’t listen to others (but you think you are listening)
These are big red flags that you should pay attention to. If it’s really bad, you might be experiencing most of these symptoms but you don’t realize it until you stop and honestly assess yourself. If you aren’t experiencing these signs, work probably isn’t that bad and this too, shall pass. But if it is worse than you realized and you must come to terms with the fact that it’s not getting better, there are things you can do. Here are some suggestions to start getting back on the right track:
- Work with an employment coach or advisor to update your resume to ensure it will solicit a good response (Nothing is more depressing than applying to jobs and not getting any bites)
- Update the resume and start sending it out
- Leave your work at the office and focus on yourself and your family when you go home
- Try and adjust your work schedule to make time in the early mornings or late afternoons to schedule job interviews
- Schedule telephone interviews during your lunch hour (Identify a shady location with good cell phone reception where you can park to conduct phone interviews)
- If you aren’t always networking, start networking (Beware your company may notice changes with your social media profiles and take that into consideration)
- Get back engaged with activities and hobbies that have fallen by the wayside
Remember, you are not committing a crime by looking for a new job and it’s not a reason for a company to terminate you. It’s still best though if you can keep it under wraps. Do not get discouraged if the right opportunity doesn’t arise immediately, it will come. When have you ever known a person who was never able to find another job? The most important thing to remember is there’s nothing wrong with you and you aren’t alone. If you allow your morale to continue to decline, that will make it more difficult for you to find happiness and a new opportunity. Don’t procrastinate. Set goals and engage your escape plan.
If you are in a position where you can leave a job without finding another, I always advised not to do that. However, if you have all of the warning signs that things are really bad and they have persisted, my advice today would be to leave the job. It will make all the difference in the world. Only someone who has lived the nightmare may endorse such a decision but you will be happier, healthier and revitalized. When you look back and realize you were irritated because your child asked you to make her a sandwich or your dog wanted a biscuit, you will thank yourself later for returning to your own life when you feel the difference. Don’t miss out on the things that make life worth living.