08 Feb Hate Your Job? How to Cope and Mope
Americans work long hours. Longer than a lot of other major economies (pretty much all of Europe, to start with). The average full time worker is at the office 47 hours per week. We also receive, on average 15 days of vacation – and take just 14 of them. (The average European worker gets 28 days. Yes, really.) So, if you hate your job, that’s a lot of time to be unhappy. If leaving immediately isn’t an option – and for most people it isn’t, here are some ways to make the work day more bearable.
Ways to cope when you hate your job:
Don’t be a hater. . .if possible. First of all, revisit the concept that you “hate” your job. Words really do matter, and the impact they have on your psyche is important. Do you hate your job? Or are you frustrated, bored, exhausted or overwhelmed? The problem with deciding that you hate your job is that it’s a vague sentiment. It’s hard to know where to start with a blanket statement. But if you’re tired, maybe you need to use a few of those (15?) vacation days. If you’re busy, speak to someone about getting things off your plate. But whatever you do, see if you can dial it down from mission critical unhappiness.
Shout it out. Sometimes it’s good to put on a brave face and soldier on. There are plenty of studies that say if you act happy, you can actually change your feelings. Whatever. There’s also something to just having a bit of a (planned, private) pity party. Find a good friend – outside of work – and just vent. Complain about your boss, your co-workers, your career path, the number paper clips in your desk drawer – whatever it is, go ahead and get it off your chest. Sometimes, just the act of letting go all of the restraint helps. And, you might even realize which things really bother you, and which are just the effect of being tired of being tired.
Chin up. While it really can help to find an outlet to complain about your job, it’s equally important that while you’re at the office, you keep it together. Check yourself and make sure you’re not beginning to “act out”. Don’t show up late, leave early, miss deadlines, become grouchy. You might hate your job, but you’ll hate losing it unexpectedly even more.
Prioritize and strategize. So should you stay or should you go? There are lots of reasons for moving on from a job. If you hate your job, and you need to figure out whether it’s time to get back in the market, write out what your options are. Not just career options, but how it impacts the rest of your life. Will the stress of looking for a new job be even worse than finding a way to stay? Do you need to acquire some new skill sets first? Would you have to move to a new city? Does the current job offer great benefits, flexible working hours, or other things important to you? As you get answers to these questions, the bigger decision to stay or not will become easier.
It’s ok to hate your job – for a little while.
But we spend too many hours at work for anyone to be unhappy with no end in sight. Find a way to improve your work situation, or a way to manage your feelings about it. Get professional help, find pastimes you can look forward to, volunteer some place that will give you perspective. Or, move to Europe — at least you can be unhappy fewer hours per week.