If you hate your job, you will no doubt regularly think about leaving. But in many cases that wish does not come true for all sorts of practical reasons.
Fortunately, there are ways to get more satisfaction from your job without having to quit your job. This requires reflection and self-evaluation, but that can yield a lot. By doing just a few little things differently, you can get to work in the morning without feeling a knot in your stomach. And you will probably become even better at your job, research shows.
The current shortage on the labor market comes in handy, because employers currently have to do their utmost to attract and retain talent. So they probably won’t want to let you go either.
Insider shares some tips for becoming happier at work without too much effort.
Find out why you hate your job so much
Before taking action, it’s crucial to ask yourself what you don’t like about your job. What is the most annoying? Is it an annoying co-worker, an unpleasant company culture or the work itself that leaves you emotionally exhausted at the end of the day?
Once you identify the source of your frustration, you can use that information to develop skills to deal with it or avoid a similar dynamic in the future.
Lindsey Pollak pointed out in Harvard Business Review that we learn more about ourselves in difficult situations than in seemingly ideal situations. Taking a closer look at a tedious job can be a great way to improve your resilience and resourcefulness.
It can also help you determine whether there is a chance to thrive in your current workplace, or if you should look for another job.
Determine what your strengths are
Figuring out your strengths can be quite a challenge.
Research and consultancy firm Gallup has prepared a questionnaire to help you with this. This also applies to VIA, an institute that focuses on positive psychology. And as scary as it may sound, it’s also a good idea to ask your manager, colleagues, or even friends about your strengths.
Once you know what your unique qualities are, such as project development or talent coaching, you can look for a way to adapt your job in such a way that those skills come into their own.But most likely, after seeing better results, your manager will eventually get excited and get more involved in your work. Because when we do work in which we can use our strengths, we become more productive.
Try to find out what gives you energy
You may feel that every aspect of your job is boring, but there are often things that you do enjoy.
Psychotherapist and leadership coach Sarah Greenberg encourages anyone who finds their job difficult to find out how they feel doing different tasks. She calls it an ‘energy study.’
For example, you can get a lot of energy from brainstorming about a certain project, but you prefer to hit your head against the wall if you then have to work it out in writing. Or vice versa. Depending on your position in the company, you may be able to ask a colleague to perform the task that you really dislike.
Another outcome of energy research is that you know which parts of your job you like. If you can focus more on that and get rid of annoying tasks, it can prevent you from leaving early.
Find opportunities to improve yourself
The extent to which you can adapt your work varies from sector to sector and from job to job, but you can create opportunities to learn and improve in almost any workplace. It’s about being curious and eager to learn, says psychologist and author of “Decoding Greatness” Ron Friedman.
Hating your job is kind of a catch-22 situation: “You become less motivated to learn and grow, but learning is exactly what it takes to stay happy in your current job or get into a better position.” Friedman says.
For example, if you’re mentoring others and you’ve just attended a really inspiring meeting, you might want to analyze a recording of the meeting to find out what the speaker did so well and how you can use elements of it yourself.
You should realize that you usually have to initiate something like this yourself, says Friedman. “There is little point in waiting for the manager or the people on your team to recognize that you need to grow in your job.”
Avoid negative colleagues
Complaining connects. It is therefore tempting to seek out colleagues who are also unhappy with their jobs. Yet career expert and founder of Rise Up Consulting Rebecca Gebhardt advises her frustrated clients exactly the opposite. “Spend time with people who are positive and look up.Tara Hines McCoy. She encourages her customers to “active optimism.”
“When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to get caught up in office gossip and fall into negativity, but optimism is a choice,” says Hines-McCoy. “By consciously choosing to focus on positive things, you do not immediately get rid of your stress, but you do reduce the impact it has on you.”
Remember this isn’t forever
In her coaching practice, Greenberg once advised someone who worked at a startup and was frustrated with the long workweeks, which left him with hardly any time for his family. With Greenberg’s help, he began to see his work as “a bridge” to the life and career he really wanted.
In other words, it was temporary work and the best way to support his family at the time. With the image of a bridge in mind, Greenberg said it was “much easier for him to accept the current situation and feel better about the sacrifices he had to make.”
You also don’t have to plan the rest of your career right now. Career coach Amy Nguyen always asks her clients to name one to three things they will focus on that week and then name the achievement they are most proud of. That way, according to Nguyen, you’re “very focused” and “don’t feel overwhelmed.”
This short-term approach can be very liberating. This job won’t satisfy you for the rest of your career, but it might for the next month or year. And if you do eventually decide to leave, you can do so without burning your ships behind you.