Today we are talking about what to do when you hate your job. One of things that I find really sad about the state of the world today is the overwhelming number of people out there who are so desperately unhappy in their work because, let’s face it – we spend most of our waking hours at our jobs. And if we’re not happy in our work, then that has a huge impact on every other aspect of our lives. We’re drained. We’re disillusioned. We’re short-tempered. And we’re desperate. Because we know it’s not meant to be like this. We know that there has to be something more to life than this. And it’s soul-crushing to think that you’re trapped in a situation that you can’t escape from.
Now, the obvious answer here is: leave the job you hate and go do something you like. But really, it’s not that simple, is it? One of the comments I got following one of last week’s blog articles on following your passion was from a recruiter, who said that the reason a lot of people don’t like hearing about “following your passion” is because they’ve been in the same type of job for so long that they’ve become an expert, but they’re not really inspired about what they’re doing and don’t really enjoy it, but they can’t leave their existing jobs because of financial considerations. It’s just too risky to leave a job where you’ve got some seniority, only to start at the bottom of the ladder in another field. So when people hear about this whole “follow your passion” bit and going and doing something different, what they feel, instead of inspiration, is anger. Because they feel trapped. They don’t believe that it is even remotely possible anymore for them to have a career they can feel passionate about.
But I can’t leave my job!
And I get this. I really do. It’s hard to even contemplate leaving a job with a steady paycheck in order to take a risk on an unknown. How do you make a career change when you’ve spent years (or decades) working in the same field? Especially when you’ve got other responsibilities, like kids and a mortgage to consider? I mean, let’s be realistic here, you can’t really just give all that up, quit your current day-job so you can do what you love! So you either stay stuck where you are, doing something you hate, and feeling your soul wither with every passing day, or you jump of that ledge and hope you sprout wings before you hit bottom. Yep. You really are stuck between a rock and hard place, aren’t you?
But what if it doesn’t have to be like that? What if you can have it both ways? What if it really is possible to have your cake and eat it, too? What if you can keep that steady paycheck from a job you hate, while still finding ways to start creating the life you most want for yourself? Why do we build these things up into such huge, traumatic, either/or scenarios? Why burn bridges unless you have to?
You don’t need to burn your bridges
Now, there are some big names out there in the motivational field who’d tell you that that’s exactly what you need to do: burn those suckers down, quit your job and take the leap. Because you’re only going to make the big changes in your life if you have to; if there’s no turning back and you have no other choice but to succeed or basically die trying. They’re all about using pain as an incentive for changes. But, while there is some truth to the idea that great accomplishments are born of great necessity, I always think back to a self-defence course I took in Univeristy where the motto, rather than “No pain, no gain” was “No pain, no pain”. I’m just not a pain person. I don’t believe in pain for the sake of pain. And I happen to that think security is a good thing. So my view of the matter is, unless you’re so miserable where you are that you can’t stand it anymore, then keep the crappy job (for now) because it pays the bills and keeps a roof over your head and food on the table while giving you the means and cushion to create what you do want without fear.
A shift in perspective
There’s a real mindset shift that has to occur in this kind of situation; you have to wrap your head around this and stop viewing your current job as this big crushing block that’s keeping you tied down. Some of the worst mental health problems we have in life are spawned by that horrible feeling of being trapped. No creature likes to be trapped; we will fight it with everything we have. And if you view your job as something that is keeping you caged and preventing you from having what you really want in life, it is going to destroy you from the inside out; it is going to suck up every ounce of energy you have into a never-ending vortex of misery. You MUST change your perspective on this if you’re ever going to be able to do anything about it. You have got to change the way you look at that job.
If you can shift that perspective and start looking at your job as an opportunity or a stepping stone to greater things then it’s no longer a trap. It’s just something you’re doing for the time being, while knowing full well that’s it’s a temporary situation. There is a huge energy shift that happens when you make that mindset change. And with that shift, comes a great gift: you find the inner resources necessary to start working towards your real passion in any way that you can, in whatever time you can find. Your current job becomes a tool to help you build your greater vision. And you find new reserves of determination and optimism and creativity that you never had before. That you couldn’t have before because you were so damned miserable.
Change your thoughts, change your world!
Here’s the key thing: you don’t have to quit your day-job to start working towards something you really want. That will come in time if that’s what you really want, but for now that job is a building block! And if you know what you want, then you can use your current job as leverage to help you get it. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your basic necessities, and even your creature comforts, are taken care of while you work towards the bigger goal. Want to start your own business? You can use some of the income from that job of yours to pay for an online or night course in marketing, accounting, business basics, or how to create your own website. Craving a more creative line of work? Eat your lunch away from the office gossip and pool and use the time to work on your novel, write your screenplay, do some sketches or jot some notes for your next masterpiece. You can even use that annoying commute time to your advantage and enjoy the extra time it gives you to read or listen to books that will either inspire you to keep going, or provide you with useful information that will help you build what you want even more efficiently.
Shift your perspective. That job you hate is only a trap if you allow it to be. Why not use it to your advantage instead? Start looking at it as the tool it could be, and I promise you you’ll start to notice a difference.
photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo