Ever been fired and it was a complete surprise? If you have, it shouldn’t have been. You missed the cues. Whether you created it or the company decided it, you lost control of your career. Frequently those two are intertwined, and if you don’t dissect the experience, you may recreate it.
A Gallup poll found that 77% of Americans hate their jobs. After 20 years as a recruiter, I don’t find that surprising because most people, before they begin their job hunt, don’t do the examination to learn what their perfect job is. Instead of defining, actively seeking, and then choosing their next employer, they allow themselves to be chosen. So it’s no wonder that after a few years — or sooner – disillusion and distaste set in. This, combined with fear of change, creates what they wanted: to be outta that lousy place. In other words, if you don’t tune in, you’ll tune out, and then you’ll be gone.
Do you dread Monday mornings? Do you frequently disappear into your office grumbling about your stupid boss, how you hate your job and have another whole week to get through? If you’ve lost respect and enthusiasm for your company, your attitude is going downhill fast. Next you don’t care about your performance and you start slacking, rationalizing with “I don’t care.” Because you don’t. You start doing the minimum just to get by. If you don’t notice what’s happening, over time, your company will. So the constant refrain of “I hate my job” – sung to anyone who will listen – is where bells should start going off. If the fun has stopped, it’s time to act. And if you change jobs, you need to go to a new job, not away from your old one. When your attitude is sour and you’re desperate to leave, you lose your objectivity and jump, and risk going from the frying pan into the fire. Desperation does not breed objectivity.
Shortly after the quality of your work has dropped, you’re called into your boss’s office for a chat about your recent performance. If you’ve done some introspection and realized what’s taking place, you may wisely choose to have a heart to heart: you need more challenge or there’s an aspect of your job that’s been giving you difficulty. Maybe you’re having family or personal problems that are siphoning off your mental energy. But if all you do is listen, leave, and silently attack him, your days are numbered.
It happens over months, not weeks. Your attitude gradually exacerbates your situation causing you to continue the downward spiral. Management becomes terse with you. Casual conversation ceases, and their smiles are fewer. The new project that should have gone to you is given to someone else or your bonus is withdrawn. Your boss seems nitpicky. Maybe you’ve become invisible. You’re stressed, and it’s affecting your life outside of work, which in turn, you’re bringing back into the office with you.
Any scenario can contribute to this: you’ve outgrown your job, you’re tired of the commute, you feel underpaid, management has changed and philosophies of work differ, or you’ve become tired of the existing management style – who knows what the reason is, but you’d better figure it out and decide what steps you’re going to take to rectify the situation before it’s decided for you.
There are millions of people who hate their jobs, miserably schlepping through the day, in denial about the road they’re on and ignoring their power to change it. How do they miss this? Not everyone does. If it doesn’t compromise your performance and you hide your distaste from those who work there, the only repercussions are to your health for lying to yourself and your fellow employees.
What keeps people from changing is usually fear of change. Change is an anathema to most people, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” What if you change jobs and the new one is worse? What if you’re more unhappy than you are now?
Finding your perfect job means taking control of your career. That means being aware of what you’re creating. When you’re aware, you can discover why you feel that way and what steps you want to take to eliminate it. In addition to that, you avoid actualizing those “next job” fears. But if you hate your job, ignore the signs, and stuff everything, all you’re creating is sudden unemployment and a lousy next job.
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