Why Do I Hate My Job?
If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve worked a retail, food service, or 9-5 office job at some point in your life. We usually view these kinds of jobs as temporary placeholders as we envision ourselves moving onto bigger, greater things.
However, many of us have also found ourselves in the position that even when moving onto to the better opportunity we’ve been dreaming of, we’re still unhappy and don’t understand why. So how can you find a job that you don’t hate and doesn’t leave you feeling stunted, apathetic, and drained?
Understand what REALLY makes you unhappy about your current (or past) situation.
It’s easy to blame a frustrating work experience on things like annoying coworkers, long hours, or a heavy workload. But the truth is, if you really found enjoyment in your duties at work, most of those annoyances would feel like minor inconveniences throughout the day rather than taking over your entire experience. So what is it that really makes a work day feel miserable? The root of the matter usually has to do with time.
When you feel upset with your present situation at work, what you’re really upset about is feeling that you’re wasting your time in the current moment and could be doing something better, more valuable and fulfilling. You think, “If I only I already had my job at X, I would actually be enjoying myself and doing something productive with my time”. What you don’t realize is that, wherever you go, whatever new role you enter, motivation to do your job well (while enjoying it) will normally fade after a certain period of time. In order to sustain that motivation and enjoyment, you need to ask yourself instead, “What is my purpose for being here besides a paycheck?”.
Identify your purpose at work in order to sustain motivation.
There was a point in time in which you fought hard for the current position you’re in. No matter the prestige of the job, you submitted your application, you attended all the interviews, and you sold yourself to win the position. However, three months into work and suddenly those days feel very far away and you’re stuck in the rut of the present moment wondering why you ever wanted to be here in the first place.
You can’t rely on natural motivation to get you through a process. Once that fades, you have to walk into work everyday reminding yourself of what your #1 reason for being there is. For most, money won’t ever feel important or fulfilling enough as compared to a deep, soul-felt urge. Your job at your local fast food chain could be just that, or it could be your gateway to learning the secrets to world-class customer service that has been the foundation of a mega-successful business model. You decide.
Treat work like a hands-on course for learning the skills you want.
Once you’ve identified your purpose, you can approach each new day at work like an opportunity for new lesson or practice you want to teach yourself. If you’re trying to get better at communicating with people, make a personal challenge to get five customers to laugh at something you say during one shift. If you want to get faster at completing a certain task, make a personal game of timing yourself until you reach your goal of time completion. Put your purpose into practice at work and watch how fulfilled you become.
Think about the kind of environment you flourish in.
One of the biggest influencers of personal satisfaction at work is environment. How many experiences have you had working boring, less than inspiring jobs but found joy in your day-to-day through the people and culture you were surrounded by? It’s the same reason people find happiness in working tedious jobs in big cities like New York, but are still filled with gratitude and happiness at the end of their workdays due to the external environment.
If you’re someone who feels best with a lot of flexibility and solitude with your time, a remote job might be your ideal environment. If you’re a natural extrovert who feeds off the energy of others, a tight-knit, collaborative office environment could be your match. There are pros and cons to every type of work environment but only you can decide what your ideal work setting looks and feels like.
Realize that the answer isn’t about finding your dream job/ultimate passion in life.
Perhaps the most important and most commonly refuted point on this list— the answer to your work woes does not lie in getting your dream job. Not understanding how to reach a certain level of contentedness and gratitude with your current situation will not set you up for happiness later on.
The same way that motivation runs out after a few months at your newest side gig, can and will happen after a certain period of time with your dream job. Ask any CEO or person who claims to have finally reached “the top” of where they always envisioned themselves to be. They’re grateful, fulfilled, and happy. BUT they also don’t brush over the fact that there are hard days, days where they don’t want to show up and do the work, and days where they fantasize about other routes they could take with their career. They still put into practice the act of realigning themselves with their higher purpose and “why” for showing up everyday.
This does not mean give up on your dreams! Rather, it’s about preparing yourself for your dreams now by allowing yourself to fully experience and find fulfillment in the present moment.
In short— if you hate your current job and don’t know where to turn, you should:
1. Realize what is most likely making you unhappy is feeling like you’re wasting away your time and higher purpose at your current gig.
2. Find a higher purpose at your current gig that matches up with what your bigger, longer term goals are. Remind yourself of this purpose everyday so you don’t feel like you’re only existing for a paycheck.
3. Make your job work for you by finding opportunities within it to learn the kinds of skills you would find useful for your achieving your personal and professional goals down the line.
4. Figure out what kind of environment you work best in and that has the biggest conversion for happiness in your everyday life. Your answer might surprise you.
5. Stop using your dream job as an excuse for why you can’t be happy in your current situation. Realize that if you can’t find fulfillment and satisfaction now, that will carry over to even when you do finally get the “big thing” you always wanted for yourself.