According to a 2018 survey by Gallup, 66% of employees worldwide are either not engaged, are actively disengaged, or hate their job. This was before lockdowns or furlough became terms we were all familiar with.
There is nothing worse than feeling like you are stuck in a job you hate. Weighing up the decision ‘should I leave my job and have a career change’ is one of the most paralysing decisions for many people. So how do you even begin to approach such a life changing decision?
Chances are if you hate your job, you hate your life. Why? Because the quality of your life, comes from the quality of daily emotions you experience. Regardless of the salary, if you spend most of your time at work, and it makes you feel stressed, bored, inadequate, overloaded, unappreciated, devalued, drained on a daily basis, eventually these feelings seep out in to other areas of your life. This is because you know on a deeper level, you are meant for more.
No amount of money, flashy offices or perks can outweigh staying in a job you hate or that makes you stressed daily; because piece by piece it is killing you spirit and soul. And don’t think for one second that being a stay at home full time mum isn’t a job!! You better believe it is, so if you’re at SAHM who is desperate for a change to the daily routine, this is for you too.
So how do we get you to start experiencing feeling more happy, joyous, proud, valued, like you are making a difference, energised, passionate and alive, when it comes to your job?
So where to start?
You know that staying in your current job is not the answer. However the thought of leaving your job fills you with fear and dread. These feel like the only two choices, so it feels like a DILEMMA. Dilemmas make people feel STUCK in between a rock and hard place.
Some days are horrible, and you drive home thinking ‘I’m going to hand my notice in tomorrow.’ Then the next day comes and you actually have a laugh and joke with a colleague over lunch and that little moment leaves you feeling uncertain. Maybe you’re overreacting? You resolve to ‘wait and see’. Except you were saying you would ‘wait and see’ 3 years ago, and here you are. In the exact same job. And you still hate your life Monday to Friday.
You are in what is known as an indecision loop. You flit back and forth – should I, shouldn’t I? And by this point, it’s actually the indecision – the feeling of STUCK-NESS – that is actually draining you. You feel trapped, helpless, stuck, weak, tired and DISEMPOWERED. It may even be impacting your health, your sleep, your eating patterns, your relationships, your finances (maybe you are spending to feel better), your love life… maybe even your zest for life in general.
This blog is here to help you tap back in to inner power and whether you leave or stay; from this day, you will no longer be in a job you hate.
Forget Pros and Cons
If it was as easy as weighing up the pros and cons, you would have left years ago. You can easily debate the logical upsides and downsides of the job now off the top of your head. Most likely you need or like the money you are paid (which is a big one). You enjoy some of the work and actually you’re quite good at it. You have the feeling you are helping someone by doing it (team members, clients, patients etc). You’re respected or in some way valued for what you do.
Downsides are usually the commute, the hours, the inflexible nature of the job, overtime, you always seem to pick up the pieces when everyone else leaves on time. You hate the environment (whether it’s some of the people, the place itself, or the culture). Maybe you feel TOO responsible at times, as nobody puts in the same effort as you. When you come to take annual leave, you feel guilty. Often you don’t feel listened to, appreciated, recognised or valued by your management or boss. Therefore you feel like you aren’t rewarded adequately for what you bring to the table (even though you’ve now figured out no amount of money would help you to enjoy the job better). Perhaps you feel like there’s no progression for you anymore or you’ve been promised it a million times, but nothing ever comes of it.
Does that just about sum it up?
So where do you go from here?
The reason you keep going round in any decision is because your gut / spirit / heart / life is calling to you. It’s saying to you “Hey this isn’t working – make a different decision!” But your brain weighs in and says “Oh don’t be such a baby. Suck it up and just get on with it. After all, you need the money.”
What drives decisive action though is often not logic. Not when it’s something that requires courage, bravery, strength to do. It’s emotion that drives action.
Our brain is designed to make life easy for us. The easiest and safest option is always what we know. ‘Keep things the same’ and ‘stick to what you know’. That way you know where you are don’t you? That’s how the brain thinks anyway.
However, as humans we are not just our brains. We are heart, spirit, passion and soul. We are connected to our environments and attached to the people around us on so many conscious and unconscious levels. Using your brain on this one, just ain’t going to cut it.
Whilst humans enjoy familiarity and feeling safe; we also crave adventure and spontaneity. There’s something deep in all of us telling us that ‘there is more’ and you are right now, at this crossroads. You KNOW there is more for you. You KNOW you hate this job, and it’s sucking the very life from you. But you’re scared to step in to the unknown because…. well because it’s the unknown. And most people fear the unknown and uncertainty, and favour safety, security and familiarity. And it is this very conflict – this dichotomy – that leads to the pain you are experiencing righjt now.
You want MORE from your life. You want to contribute MORE to the world. Embrace and explore MORE of your talents and gifts. Meet MORE wonderful people and have MORE life changing and memorable experiences. But you aren’t willing to face your fear, and go for it because that involves leaving your comfort zone. There’s a reason they call it a comfort zone. It’s not easy to leave because indeed it is so comfortable…. even if comfortable is actually hurting and harming you; for some reason to you, it feels more ‘safe’ than something new.
What’s Holding You Back?
” And then we encounter society – a vast mass of people living largely miserable lives, doing work they hate, to support a lifestyle that is never good enough and then retiring half a lifetime later to start living. ” Alex, Milk the Pigeon
So at this point it’s really important to figure out what’s holding you back from getting more joy in your daily life. Is it the job itself? Or is it that the job is ALL there is? Has work become your life and identity? Have you forgotten about your passions, interests, hobbies? Do you spend enough time with people who lift you up, make you laugh until you cry, or provide love and support? Are you getting enough exercise each day, and taking care of your body? If you’re not, then perhaps this is the place to start.
People can get consumed by climbing the career ladder, and make their job their everything. Their career is their focus. Until one day they wake up unhappy and now they feel they have worked too hard, put in too much time, sweat blood and tears, to now ‘walk away’. The career owns them. Their identity has now become embodied in ‘what they do’ instead of who they are.
Perspective from Career Coaching
I coached a lady recently who was a working mother – she had spent years building her career, enjoyed her job, and it had taken a long time to become a mother. She had actually adopted, and the process had been long, stressful and emotionally draining, but of course, entirely worth it. Yet she found herself in a position where she was deeply unhappy. Caring for her elderly mother around work, trying to find time to bond with her child, and look after her own health (which was suffering greatly) she came to me looking for accountability coaching to lose weight, and feel good about her appearance again. She was looking for more confidence and more energy.
Whilst her diet and exercise regime needed addressing; we dug a little deeper. I asked her to tell me about the last time she felt really happy. The last time she felt fully like herself. It ended up being about 20 years ago at university. She took a year off and travelled around the world. No plan. No posh hotels. Just sheer spontaneity. That was the last time she felt alive.
Now desperately trying to schedule in more appointments to lose weight, look better, be a better mum, daughter, wife, friend, employee and serve her patients more; she had forgotten one thing. How to just BE herself. She didn’t necessarily need a career change. She needed a break from scheduling everything. Sometimes it’s not that you need to do more. It’s that you need to do LESS. Be less of a ‘human-doing’ and more human BE-ing. If this is you, check out my blog on What Happened When I Just Let Go…to see what happened when I found myself at exactly this point.
Who Would I Be, Without My Career?
Do you feel a little uncomfortable or anxious about how others would see you if you didn’t do your job? If you put yourself first, and not your job/your team/your kids first; would you feel guilty?
For instance if you left our job tomorrow would you struggle with feeling not needed, unimportant and insignificant when you found that someone else had replaced you and as doing your role just fine? . Might you feel frightened that after all this effort, if you leave your job now, you will have ‘nothing to show for it?’
It is very common for people to define themselves through what they do; as opposed to who they are. Similarly we have been conditioned since childhood to pick a career “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. They aren’t asking the sort of person do you want to be and how do you want to feel on a daily basis (this would be a far better question to ask children). They’re asking what occupation you want to do. Pick one and commit. No going back. This is the exact reason many people find themselves stuck. We grow, evolve and discover. And sometimes we discover we don’t like the job we thought we would. That’s ok. It’s a learning experience – NOT a failure. What really would be failing yourself is sticking with it for other people’s approval.
Nobody wants to be remembered for ‘what they did for a job’. People want to be remembered as that person who made a difference in the lives of others. Whether that’s your kids, family, or friends, at that gym class you love, or the wider community. Maybe even in a role you happen to engage in.
Does Your Job Make You Feel Important?
If you don’t feel ‘enough’ or feel ‘worthy’ without your job, I highly recommend going back in your life and thinking about things you have really enjoyed. The feelings that those moments gave you. In summary, figuring out a way to get more of THAT feeling in your life again. The question you should be asking isn’t ‘what career / job should I do?’ it should be ‘how can I feel more alive?’
For me, it was exercise, music and nature – often combined! I started there. It was easy to achieve day to day and it made me feel GOOD. More energy flowed to me which helped me to make positive decisions and be assertive. I realised I needed to make time for creativity (writing), coaching, growing a business and leading a team, animals, dance classes…. and to this day the list keeps growing of more and more things that bring me joy. I’m a better person for it.
Career is defined as “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” Oddly, I never felt attached to any particular job in order to pursue a career. I just wanted to grow as a person and learn new things.
I have worked in marketing, then as a Personal Stylist, a Fitness Instructor. Even now what my ‘job’ is can’t really be defined in to a category Every time I started a new course or job I felt embarrassed – almost like I had ‘failed’ by leaving the old one. The reality is, I stopped having fun, and wanted to try something else I was good at. These days I can see exactly how each role and job led me to be the person I am today, with the skills and experience to succeed where I choose. It feels like the perfect path for me, that probably makes no sense on a CV should I ever need to produce one.
I’m redefining career as “the occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life dedicated to personal growth and exploration..”
What is it you Hate about Your Job?
I once started a job and I knew straight away it was not the role for me. The commute was painful. Nobody had the time to help me to learn or support me through the process of induction and I felt out of my depth. In addition there was a lot of travel involved, and it felt overwhelming and daunting (because I didn’t truly feel confident in the role). In terms of culture, it was reactive not proactive, and this led to everyone being stressed out – I’m not good in reactive state! I just didn’t fit in. Therefore, I found myself comfort eating and before you it I was low, lacking in confidence (because I had internalised not being ‘good’ at the job) and was struggling with weight gain and overwhelming tiredness. After a few months I was depressed and my confidence was on the floor.
Before moving forward it’s really important to identify what it is that makes you hate your job. It might be ‘everything’ about it or actually it might just be one element of it – but a very important element? Either way, you need to discover how a situation, person, environment, commute, salary makes you feel and drill down into what you need from a job, in order to make you happy.
The reason I recommend this is so that you can be very sure you have done your research (internally) to ensure you don’t make the same mistake again. The last thing you need is to jump from one job you hate, to another.
Grab a Notebook, Free Your Thoughts
Get a notebook and write it down. This is essential so you don’t just have thoughts whirling around in your head. Getting it down on paper really helps when trying to get clarity on something. You should see my office – full of years worth of notepads!!
- Do you earn enough or not enough to pay your bills each month?
- Do the hours suit you, and what you’d like to accomplish in your personal life? e.g. time with family, health goals, passions and hobbies, social life?
- Do you feel confident, experienced, skilled enough in your role? Or do you feel out of your depth?
- Do you feel you have a secure future within the company?
- Is your job predictable day in and day out? Do you like that?
- Do you have a lot of responsibility? Too much? Too little? Do you enjoy that?
- Do you work alone or as part of a team? Which would be your preference? If a team, how many people? Men or women or both?
- Do you meet lots of different people, or go to different places? Is there enough variety for you there?
- Do you ever have fun at work? Have you had fun at work? What where you doing?
- Do you work closely with people? What kind of people? Is that good or bad? Energising or draining?
- Do you like your boss? Are you feeling valued? Is there mutual respect? How is that relationship?
- Have you grown and developed in your role? Learned things? Have you ever learned anything there? Or have you hit a glass ceiling?
- Do you feel like you serve an important purpose at work? Do you feel like you are helping or serving others in a positive way? Or do you feel unappreciated or used?
Now that you’ve answered these questions…
….you need to have a think about this question.
For each element of your job that you now don’t like or hate, was it always this way? Or did something change at work / in your life; that changed how you feel about this element?
For example, maybe you used to be happy with your salary, but now you have developed and grown and add more value, but you don’t feel it’s reflected in your salary.
Did you possibly experience health problems and things changed from there?
Did you have children and your priorities (and energy levels) shifted, or attitudes at work shifted towards your commitment?
Perhaps you used to like your boss, but he left, and you don’t like the new one?
Can you pinpoint the trigger?
Next, you need to write another list. Your dream day in your perfect role. What would you be doing? What sort of environment? Who would you be around? What type of people? Are you be sat down, stood up, indoors, outdoors or a mix? How would you get a sense of fulfilment from the role? How much would it pay?
At this point it’s time to come up with the dream life you want to live. If you define it, you will only move closer to it as time goes on. However when you don’t actually know what would make you happy, it’s impossible to get there, or even set out in the right direction.
Direction is more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast.The Best Self Project
Dilemma Vs Choice
When you feel you need to choose this or that, you have a dilemma. Stay or go? It’s a dilemma. And dilemmas make people think that one answer is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong’. So essentially you just get stuck as you’re scared of making the ‘wrong’ decision and having to live with the consequences.
The first thing you need to do is find more than 2 options. That way, you now have a CHOICE to make. Choices are empowering. Choices aren’t right or wrong. They are just a choice. Choices produce results. And if you don’t like the result of a choice you made, you can change your mind and go with a different choice, until you feel better.
So what are your choices …really?
- You could commit to looking to see what other jobs are out there, and apply for some that appeal to you
- You could take annual leave, get some life coaching and decide what you would like to do with your life.
- You could start a business whilst at your current job.
- Want to be an Author / Florist / Personal Trainer / Teacher – you could look at and book on a course (and take annual leave if you can’t do it at the weekend) and then build up your skills and experience in your own time
- You could ask to go part-time (and revisit point 4. above)
- You could make a plan to make progress in another career or role, and leave your job in 3/6/12 months time. Put an end date to it in your mind.
- You could just quit. (if you have some savings to keep you going)
- You could ask for a different role within the same company.
- You could ask for less responsibility and a less senior position (most people don’t like this option though!)
- You could start to do more hobbies/interests straight away that make you happy and see if this makes a difference.
When working with anyone, once we have decided that something must be done we take ACTION immediately. I’m not talking about resigning now! But I am talking about getting out that notepad and writing your list of options out, and then taking action on one of those choices.
So go on… off you go! 🙂 Let me know how you got on.
If you would like more help getting unstuck, drop me a line today on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp me with a question …