You don’t have to stay in a crappy job.
You don’t owe your crappy boss anything.
You don’t owe your crappy colleagues anything.
The world will not end if you find another job.
You can quit.
It doesn’t make you a failure.
You owe it to yourself to enjoy what you do (or, at least, find it tolerable).
Okay. There; I got the most important part out of the way. If all you needed was confirmation that you
can should quit if you’re completely unhappy at work – then there it is. You can stop reading now. Just quit.
If you need a bit more of a push, then stay with me.
Lately, I’ve found myself having the same conversation with friends of mine. You know, that one where your friend tells you about how they are being treated like rubbish at work; how their boss is dismissive or rude, colleagues are getting on their nerves, projects are being halted or re-scoped over and over, additional duties are being piled on with no increase in resources, Julie from Communications keeps trying to make them create another pictorial describing their project (which no one actually understands anyway), there’s another fundraiser that they have to attend, there’s no capacity for self development, let alone a promotion and all in all they’re just done. They’re tired. They hate it. They hate everything about it.
Did that hurt yours insides? No? You enjoyed that?! You’re sick. You’d enjoy Office Space. Go watch it.
It’s normal to feel disgruntled and frustrated about work sometimes. In fact, it’s generally what drives a person to excel and achieve things. In a normal workplace, that sense of frustration transforms into a sense of achievement when you can overcome issues and meet that target/fix that problem. Delicious motivation!
However, when you keep feeling like you’re suffocating at work without any pockets of relief or periods of fulfilment – there’s a problem.
What I keep seeing over and over is that people linger around in these crappy environments out of a misplaced sense of loyalty (and a sense of fear that they are unwilling to admit to). That loyalty and sense of responsibility is great, so long as its not, y’know, ruining your life.
And let’s think about it for a second. Do you owe anyone in your workplace anything personally?
You owe it to your company to do your job to the best of your ability while you’re there; but you don’t owe them a single second more of your time if your job just isn’t doing it for you. Once you’re ready to leave, you put in your notice, as per company policy, and then you get the hell out of there. Obligations fulfilled.
If anything, you finally deciding to leave your crappy job will do the world a favour. Firstly, you’re likely to be replaced with new, fresh blood. Blood that isn’t bogged down by the history of frustrations that you’re now carrying. Untainted blood. This means that your projects will probably work out for the best, your boss can influence a new person, and your colleagues don’t have to deal with your sulking anymore. YEAH. THEY ALL KNOW WHEN YOU’RE OVER IT
Amazingly, most of the people that complain to me about their heinous jobs feel like they should just ‘stick it out’. That maybe, in time, things will get better. The annoying boss will leave or the project will implode and no longer be a problem. Just a few more months. Just another year.
But let me ask you this – why?
Why should you linger in a crappy position because of some unsupported idea that things may potentially-one-day-maybe-when-pigs-fly, get better? Why should you keep feeling run down and unmotivated for longer than you need to? Why should your friends and family have to put up with your complaints about Julie for even one more day?
Seriously. There are literally millions of other jobs that you could be doing. In July 2016, there were 11,955,100 people who were employed in Australia. That’s 11,955,100 other potential jobs out there for you to consider. And yes, I know, you won’t have the expertise to do most of them, but you know what I mean.
Now back to the fear that I slipped in a couple of paragraphs ago. The underlying driver of people staying in their crap jobs is the fear that a new job won’t be any better or that a new job just won’t come around. A fear that moving to another job will look bad on a resume or bring your career to a halt. That’s silly.
Imagine yourself as a car. Your life experiences are like fuel being poured into your massive petrol tank. Every experience that you have just adds more fuel. So you want to become a Project Manager, and find a policy role that looks decent. Great! Do it. You won’t be a project manager, but you’ll be developing an essential skill that will mean that one day, when you are a project manager, policy people like me won’t hate you for not understanding the basic principles of policy writing. Or you find a role coordinating an IT team. GREAT! You’ll learn how to manage multiple things and people, and learn to more efficiently develop the skills necessary to complete your job. All your skills are transferable, you just have to see it that way.
Importantly, we live in a world where people are moving around between jobs all the time! In Australia, people typically keep the same job for about 3 years and four months. That’s all. For those under the age of 35, it’s even shorter! Most people will have something like five different careers in their lifetime. So if you’ve been in the same position for a couple of years and feel completely over it – then you, my friend, are a normal person and it’s time to get out.
Do you know what happens to people who linger in a job they hate for too long? They become mopey, sulky, unmotivated, pessimistic dead wood.
Is that who you want to be?
And remember, just because you apply for another job, get an interview and get offered a position, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. Maybe going through the process and finding out that you have great skills and could leave if you wanted to will be enough to make you feel happy in your current role.
So stop hating your job and hate your job while looking for another one.
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