There’s no worse feeling than having to drag yourself every morning to a job you hate, day in and day out – especially if you can’t see any hope for improvement. If your job has you reaching for the Zoloft followed by a whiskey chaser, it’s clearly time for a change.
But before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, you need to take a good hard look at yourself. Are you sure it’s really your job that’s getting you down, or are you unhappy in other areas of your life and using your job as a scapegoat?
You need to break down the factors contributing to your unhappiness and figure out which ones are in your control, and which aren’t. Are there any things you can do to change your situation or how you feel about it, without necessarily leaving? It all depends on what the causes of your angst are.
So your boss makes your blood boil and you’d rather gouge your eyes out than go out for drinks with your colleagues … but is there anything you can do to improve relations? Maybe, just maybe, they’re not that bad after all and you just need to make more of an effort. Can you try organising group activities like regular lunches, after-work drinks or sports activities, to help build camaraderie and improve team spirit? Or sit down to have a chat and clear the air in a non-confrontational manner? It could make all the difference and turn things around.
If preparing those presentations and poring over those spreadsheets is enough to make you impersonate Munch’s The Scream, you might need to think about changing your role. Could you ask to be moved into a different area of the business? Does your work offer any training and development that you could take advantage of, to gain new skills so you can do a different type of work? If you feel you’re at a dead end, you should consider undertaking your own training to get out of your rut. With so many areas of study available online, you can get additional skills and qualifications while continuing to work full-time.
You’re good at your job and could do it with your eyes closed, but you’re bored witless. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and shake things up. You need to make things more interesting for yourself – can you take on any new responsibilities or create your own projects that you could throw yourself into with enthusiasm?
Sometimes you can talk yourself into a negative mindset and then it becomes self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling. Sometimes you just need to snap yourself out of it, simply by shifting your attitude to a more positive one and using that same self-talk to work yourself into a positive mindframe. All of a sudden, things might not seem so bad after all.
On the other hand, sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to call it quits, cut your losses and bail. Like a relationship that’s simply not working, it may be time to shake hands with your job and make a dignified exit.
Looking for another job while you’re already working can be very tricky. You’ll have to be prepared to spend time after hours checking out job boards, and spruce up your resume so it’s ready to go when the right opening comes along. Just be sure to cover your tracks and don’t let your work performance suffer in the meantime.
Social media can be incredibly useful to get the word out that you’re on the hunt for a new job, and your Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter friends can become useful contacts. But you also have to be extremely careful, because you don’t want the wrong sets of eyes to read about your job-hunting exploits.
With Facebook, make sure you’ve tightened up your privacy settings. If you’re FB friends with work colleagues, you might want to send your contacts private messages when putting your feelers out instead of writing ‘Hate job, seeking alternatives’ as your status update.
Whatever you do, don’t ever use social media to vent your spleen against your workplace or boss. It’s incredibly unprofessional and could potentially land you in hot water!