Hate Your Boss? Hate Your Job? You Are Not Alone
How to turn disgust to delight in the workplace
Posted May 17, 2016
It’s an uncommon person who can say that every career move they have made has turned out well. Most people have a story about the boss, or job, they hated. Some are still in those situations, and loathe getting up in the morning to face another day. If it seems like an epidemic, it is – a Gallup poll taken in 2013 found that a whopping 70% of Americans claimed to dislike their jobs and another poll in 2014 found that less than one-third of workers considered themselves “engaged” at work. The epidemic isn’t just US-based; the London School of Business and Finance found that half of UK workers would like to change jobs.
What’s going on? The reactions are a result of a combination of things – a difficult boss, difficult co-workers, a cultural misfit, job responsibilities that don’t match natural abilities or inclinations, repetitive work, the inability to follow through on assignments, not enough pay for hard work, doing multiple jobs to pay bills, and the list goes on and on. For many people the job is so distressing that they don’t sleep well at night thinking about the day just ended, or the next day, and then go back into a workplace they dislike without being rested to take on the new day.
Many people, as unhappy as they may be, they are “stuck”. Bills need to be paid, a skill has been developed, a degree obtained, and it isn’t as easy as saying “I’m going to start over” for most people. So what can you do if you are a person in the 70% bracket who hates your job? Is the only option to grit your teeth and bear it and just plow through, hoping retirement will come some day?
If you are tired of hating your job and tired of the mental and physical exhaustion that can occur as a result, maybe it’s time to take some steps to change things. Think about the cycle you may be in: hating the job while you are there, brooding over it when you are home, losing sleep thinking about it when you need to rest, and then going in yet another day to face things again. It’s not much of a life, is it? If you want to take charge and eliminate the negativity, try these six steps to turn disgust into delight in the workplace:
- Create a picture of what you do want. Most people spend their time ruing the things they want to eliminate. They focus on the negative aspects and think about running away from them. Instead, take the time to paint a picture of what you’d like to have in your environment. What would make the difference for you – a more tolerant boss? A better commute? Friendlier co-workers? Set the goal for what you’d like to see so that your mind stays focused on where you are going, not where you want to leave.
- Practice mindfulness. Be where you are, when you are there. This means that over the dinner table you don’t ruin your appetite and cause an upset stomach because you are yelling about your boss. Instead, tonight focus on your food. Focus on taste, texture and smell. Focus on the company you have – be it family, a roommate or a friend. If you eat alone, focus on your own company. Bring your attention to where you are, not where you have been or where you are going.
- Create an invisible shield of protection. Imagine each day as you go into work that you are surrounded by a shield that protects you and nurtures you. If you can, imagine it with colors or experiences that are meaningful to you. Think of this shield as your secret weapon. You can wrap it around yourself anytime you need to. This may seem hokey but once you do it a few times, it’s like your own personal secret in the midst of the things you don’t care about and don’t like. Use your shield to ward off the negativity.
- Find interests outside of work that are meaningful to you. Yes, it can be hard if you are working two or three jobs to find “me” time but even if it is an hour in the evening, or it means getting up a bit earlier in the morning, find something that matters to you – a hobby, an exercise routine, a phone call to someone you care about. Find other outlets that remind you that your job is not the entirety of your life.
- Focus on the positive. Yes, this one is hard. If you hate your boss, hate your job, hate your workplace – what is there to like? Make a list each day of the things in your life that are positive. This can range from being able to take a breath, to the sun outside, to the person who smiled at you at the coffee shop. They don’t have to be big things – just positive ones. Write them down and review them as many times during the day as you need to in order to bring your mind back to a positive place.
- Make a plan for change. This could mean anything from returning to school to obtain another degree, to saving money, to living somewhere less expensive. It’s hard to believe, but people from all walks of life take risks every day to leave situations that are untenable for them. It doesn’t mean you should just jump, but start to make a plan of what you will do, and can do. Sometimes having the plan is enough to remind you that as stuck as you may feel, you really aren’t. You could make a change if you had to.
There are many other aspects of job negativity that could be affecting you. Try and see if one or more of these six ideas could help you in some way.