Most of us have occasional moments when we’d rather like to go home and curl up under the duvet. Maybe it’s when your boss dumps yet another huge “urgent” task on your desk, or when you get the tenth furious phone call from a customer, in a single afternoon. The occasional bad day is almost inevitable, however much you generally love your work.
But if you’re constantly saying (though perhaps not out loud at work) “I feel fed-up because I don’t like my job”, don’t just put up with it. You’ll find yourself getting more and more miserable, and suffering ill health such as backaches brought on by stress, sleepless nights worrying about work, or mild depression from feeling trapped.
Don’t keep quiet – talk to your line manager about problems at work
If you dislike your job, don’t force a cheerful smile and try to pretend that everything’s fine. Have a quiet word with your line manager or boss – there may be a scheduled way to do this easily (such as an annual performance development review), or you may need to find a moment where you can have a quick chat.
Let them know two or three things about your job which you dislike most, and also suggest a couple of ways they could improve it for you. For example, if you’re finding lots of your work boring, ask if there’s some way to do fewer of the tedious tasks and explain that you’d like more of a challenge.
Avoid colleagues who discourage or irritate you
Hopefully, all your co-workers are lovely, considerate, cheerful people who you’d choose to surround yourself with even if you didn’t just happen to work with them. Sadly, most of us find that there’ll be one or two individuals in the office who we just can’t manage to get along with.
It might be the office moaner, who drags everyone’s spirits down, or the office clown who is amusing at first but then begins to grate on your nerves. Don’t feel guilty that you’re not naturally inclined to be friends with everyone at work – be polite to all your colleagues, but try to avoid the people who make you secretly grit your teeth.
Sometimes, things might be more serious. If you’re being bullied or harassed, talk to your line manager or HR department – there will be company policies against this sort of behaviour (which you probably all signed when joining the company.)
Ask for more challenging work if you’re getting bored
There are some undeniable attractions to a relatively boring job; it’s probably not stressful, you don’t go home feeling mentally wrung out, and you can stick headphones in and ignore the rest of the world, without the distraction impinging on your work.
However, if you’re beginning to feel that your career is going nowhere, or that you’re already on the top rung of a very short ladder, it might be time to find something more challenging. Sitting around twiddling your thumbs all day is also a prime cause of office-cookie-tin delving…
Talk to whoever assigns you work: maybe the head of your team, your line manager or your boss (depending on the size of your organisation). Explain that you’d like a bit more of a challenge, and suggest what aspects of your job you’d like to learn more about.
Consider whether it’s time to move to a new career path
Perhaps you’ve tried, and failed, to improve your job by talking to senior people at work – and the only option is to move on. Don’t start by scouring the “situations vacant” ads in your local paper and applying for anything half-way suitable. Take the opportunity to think about what you really want from your life: you have to make a living somehow, so why not do so in a job that you love?
There are loads of great books and sites which can help you with this.
What Colour Is Your Parachute? is a classic for a reason. It’s breezily written in a very accessible style, and full of concrete, practical advice – but also takes you through the process of considering your values and interests.
10 reasons why you should never get a job (Steve Pavlina) is an article that may completely change the way you think about work, careers and job hunting.
Guerilla Job Hunting is an amusing, slightly different, take on the world of job-hunting. Worth a read if you’re trying to break into a difficult industry.
Dumb Little Man is a blog I read regularly, with a rather eclectic set of tips and advice, lots of which are orientated around career and work. Particularly relevant to this article is their recent post: Dealing With Careers You Simply Hate
Don’t struggle along in a job which you don’t like – find a way to change it.
(Image above by Xdjio)