A global poll conducted by Gallup found that about 85% of people were not engaged in their job. After the COVID-19 pandemic, this number may have risen to new heights. While working from home comes with its benefits, some jobs function better with a strict work environment.
There could be several reasons why you hate your job. A strategy to deal with a job you are not happy with involves figuring out how you got into that state in the first place. Here are a few places you can start exploring how to deal with a job that you hate and a few solutions that might work for you.
1. Happiness does not come from your career.
It might sound downright odd, but a career does not result in happiness. It may result in fulfillment, give you financial security, which is a stepping stone to long-term happiness. However, if you rely on your job to make you happy, that will cause trouble. Some days might be good, and other days might be bad. When you attach your happiness to your performance at work, you sign yourself for a rollercoaster. Human performance fluctuates over time, and if you attach your happiness to it, it will start to fluctuate as well. As cliché as it may sound, no external object can give you sustainable contentment and joy.
However, that does not mean that work has to be a slog. As a generation, we grew up believing that our work is what we do to get money, and then time outside of work is enjoyment. There are workdays, and then there are weekends. However, that premise is fundamentally flawed. Work can be enjoyable if it has a purpose.
2. Figure out what you hate in your job.
The problem with issues like these is that we ask the question, "Where do I go from here?" instead of asking, "How did I get here?". The answer lies in the second question. If you don't figure out how you got here, you will get to this point again.
Dealing with a job that you hate comes down to figuring out what parts you like and what parts you don't like. Given a choice, what part of your job would you keep, and what part would you do away with? Answering that question will give you a good sense of what your internal compass is. Use that compass to change your work environment into something that works for you. Sometimes this involves talking with your supervisors. At other times, it involves creating a better work-life balance. And at other times still, it involves switching careers. The solution will be unique to you, and you deserve more than a general cookie-cutter answer.
3. Does your job make you complacent?
If you hate your job, one possible reason can be that it is simply not challenging. If you have to go to work every day and do the same things with no opportunity to grow, then that can feel soul-crushing. You may feel suffocated in comfort. Your job could be paying you handsomely, but the human mind yearns for challenge and growth. Often, this is what causes financially well-off people to quit their well-paying jobs to challenge themselves at other places. These people often end up starting companies or working at startups with which they share values. Growth can look like jumping out of your comfort zone into an uncertain and risk-filled situation.
However, if you feel complacent and hate your job because of it, that may not be your job's fault. Who do you hang out with? What does your inner circle of friends look like? Do they inspire you to do bigger things? Do they strive to grow as human beings? Or are they complacent as well? If your friend group is the source of complacency, then no amount of change in your job will be able to fix that problem.
4. Have you lost your passion for your job?
High-performing people frequently lose their passion for their job. It happens when they are highly motivated but repeatedly run into people or processes that prevent them from getting their work done. If their company loses sight of its mission, then that can also cause a loss of passion. They can also lose it if they no longer resonate with that mission.
If you want to recover your passion for your job, follow the three-strike rule. Give your company three changes to get it back. Determine what those conditions look like; have a conversation (or many!) with your supervisor and the company.
Also, start to explore the following questions: What motivates you to do more? What is your internal compass? Where is it pointing? Just orienting yourself in the right direction is much more important than taking the first step.
Also, ask yourself if you feel appreciated and valued in your job. Do you feel like it makes a difference in the world? Does it fulfill you?
5. Explore the possibility of burnout.
Burnout is a widespread occurrence in today's job environment. After the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout rates have skyrocketed. Burnout can look like stress, lack of work-life balance, feeling numb, loss of motivation and drive, and exhaustion.
There are varying solutions to burnout, depending on what made you burn out in the first place. One of the most common solutions is to take a vacation and take a step back. You could start by learning about what you need to do to take two months off from work (without maternity leave). Maybe you need that time; maybe you need less. But it's a good number to start with. Time off can do a lot.
If you want to learn more about burnout and how to tackle it, we wrote a guide. You can check it out here.
6. Cultivate work-life balance.
Even if you love your work, if you spend too much time with it, the chances are that you will start to hate it. Too much of a good thing can also be harmful. That is why work-life balance is so important. Here are a couple of tips to cultivate a work-life balance.
When you leave your job, don't bring it home. If you are working from home, do not attend work calls or messages after your shift ends (unless it is truly an emergency). Don't attend to work matters after you are done working for the day. It is essential to create this separation, especially for high-performance individuals, because they are more likely to spend their free time working too.
Additionally, take timely breaks. Every few months, go on a vacation. Have a change of scenery as well as pace. If that is not possible, take time off work and veg out at home. Any kind of reset is better than no reset.
7. Get support from people close to you.
If you hate your job, but it brings in a lot of money, the answer to that problem might lie in other parts of your life. Are you happy with your relationships? Do you have hobbies that you can turn to after work? Do you have a rich personal life that does not involve work at all? If not, then it might be worth exploring why that is the case and how you can build a fulfilling life outside work.
It is understandable if you need to work the job you hate because you need financial security. It can feel daunting to have a conversation with your superior about your work conditions because you may fear that they will interpret that as you not being engaged at work. That is a valid fear, and at the same time, may stem from an insecurity that you are not valued at work. Try journaling, meditation, going on walks to explore this feeling. You can also try out Healthy Gamer Coaching to explore the cause of this feeling, as well as hating your job.
8. Remember why you are doing this job.
It always helps to have a north star when you are going through tough times. If you hate your current job, it is worth keeping in mind why you are sticking with it. Do you need financial support? Does it help you gain experience for future opportunities? Do you resonate with the mission but hate the work?
All of these reasons are valid for staying in a job that you don't like. Remembering your goal, duty, or your dharma (the Sanskrit word for duty or responsibility) in a particular situation can be an immense source of strength for sticking through it.
Additionally, many people get caught up in thinking about how bad their job is that they spend several hours a week complaining about it. While complaining can be cathartic and healthy, it can also turn poisonous. Remember that a coping mechanism should stay a coping mechanism. It should not become a solution. If you spend 40 hours a week doing a job that you hate, try not to spend 10 hours complaining about it as well.
9. Consider switching jobs.
Sometimes you outgrow your job, become complacent, stop being challenged, or grow into a person who does not fit your current job anymore. In such situations, one solution can be to switch your job or even your career. It is a tricky solution to implement because a lot of uncertainty follows it. It can come with several fears: "Will I be able to get employed again? Is my experience working in this company enough?
Those fears are wholly natural and valid. At the same time, be careful about those fears keeping you stuck in this position. It's normal to feel the fear, but don't let it dictate what you do or don't do. Remember, inaction is also a kind of action.
10. Seek professional support.
It isn't easy to think about all these things on your own. Our family and friends can often offer advice, but they aren't trained to help us explore these questions. Helping someone explore an individual problem is different from offering advice that comes from your own experience. It is about understanding their experience and offering suggestions instead of giving generic, cookie-cutter advice. Therefore, it can be pretty helpful to seek professional support.
Healthy Gamer Coaches are trained to help people explore these kinds of issues. Healthy Gamer Group Coaching has dedicated groups for high-performance individuals. You can find other people who relate to you and share your struggles. They can act as a mirror and create accountability for you to take action. You can learn more about Healthy Gamer HiPe coaching by clicking here.