When the job you love turns into the job you hate. Have you ever been here?
What it was when you loved it
You didn’t even mind putting in extra when it was needed.
And then things changed.
You might be able to pinpoint the exact day or it might have been a gradual change.
What it has become
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Some of what I said hit you in the feels...I know because it hit me too.
This is exactly what I went through and let me tell you...IT FUCKING SUCKED!
Language...I know… #sorrynotsorry
There’s no better way to convey this specific feeling that with a strategically placed F-bomb in all caps.
Let’s move on, though…
This can be a very emotional situation...LOVE and HATE are very small but very powerful words...and it’s best to address the emotion and also come to an analytical resolution.
Let’s think back to when you LOVED your job...what did you love about it?
Maybe you have some other things you'd like to add to that list - qualities that were specific to your company, your department, your relationships.
Go ahead and think about it for as long as you need to. Write it down if you want.
Now here’s the not-so-fun part.
Why do you HATE your job...what has happened, what - or who - has changed?
Anything else you need to add? Again, each situation is individual, but based on my experience and what I’ve witnessed in those close to me, this usually covers a pretty good amount reason.
WOW...that’s some pretty heavy shit, if we’re being honest.
So, now that you got all happy in remembering how it used to be and you were quickly brought back down to reality…
WHAT DO YOU DO
It’s okay to have a small pity party...a mini-meltdown, if you will.
Take a day off during the week and sit on the couch
Take a day on the weekend (talk to your hubs of course and let him know what’s up) and stay in bed for a day if you need to
Here’s the key... don’t park there, don’t camp out there.
Feel how you need to feel, take a deep breath, and HANDLE IT.
Annnddd you’re thinking…
But how do I handle it? I can’t change things at work, that’s evident.
You’re right...you’re 100% correct that you can’t change things at work. You’re not in a position of control...at least not THAT kind of control.
But you can control something...and it’s a pretty important thing.
You can control your reactions and your thoughts.
First things first - and I’m going to sound pretty bossy here - I’m very emotional about this, it’s something I believe in TO MY CORE
NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL “LESS THAN” UNLESS YOU ALLOW IT
If you go in with a thought process of, “I’m just going to keep my head down, push through, and work. It doesn’t matter how I feel.” You’re going to continue to be miserable.
If you go in with a thought process of, “I’m going to do what I can to make my day better, regardless of what happens around me.” You’re going to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Big talk, I know...but let’s look at what you can change.
A co-worker once told me to take everything in bite-sized chunks.
4 hours in the morning, 1hr lunch break, 4 hours in the evening
5 days a week with a 2 day break
Come in at 8 and leave at 5 (or whatever your designated hours are). There is nothing that says you MUST come in and stay late every day.
Your first four hours…
The list goes on and on...there is something you like, you just have to find it.
And you can listen to it while you’re working on that God-forsaken report - you know the one - it’s the report that’s 2000 lines long and wouldn’t need to be run and analyzed if the people asking for it actually understood how to use the right transactions in the system...yeah..that one…
You may as well make the best of the time being wasted on this tedious report.
Take your break. Yep...you’ve been skipping your breaks for the better part of your tenure there. Why? Because your mental, emotional and physical health is worth it.
Use the ten minutes to walk around the building (weather permitting, of course), or do a five minute mini-workout in your office, or just get up and get some coffee or water, go pee, say hi to someone who seems to be having a pretty shitty day.
A couple hours left before lunch…
What’s on the rest of your schedule for the morning? How can you make it better?
And all of a sudden it’s lunch time!
Sit in the lunchroom, in your car, go out to eat, go home if you can.
The key is to leave your work area.
Use your lunch hour to take care of yourself
Back from lunch...4 more hours left
Part of your frustration is that you’re so inundated with meetings that you can’t get your actual job done...in fact you have a meeting right after lunch.
Use some time after lunch to block out time in your calendar to do what you were meant to do.
How much time? That all depends on you. What do you need...not necessarily to get the job done, but to feel some fulfillment today.
Take your afternoon break. Again, grab some water, use the bathroom, get some physical activity in. Or how about walk around, try to cheer up other people in the office.
Lighten the mood a little. Afternoons aren’t only rough for you. Others will appreciate it and it’ll help your mood in the process.
And all of a sudden it’s 5 o’clock.
Get the hell out of there. Say your goodbye’s, your see ya’ tomorrow’s, your have a good weekend’s and get out.
When you get in the car, take a deep breath.
Thank God, The Universe, whoever or whatever you believe in for helping you get through another day.
The Long Game
So, as much as you can do this on the daily, this too can get pretty habitual, and boring, and monotonous, and frustrating.
Figuring out how to handle the long term can a little scary and intimidating.
It’s like admitting you can’t handle life...and NO ONE wants to admit that.
There are a couple things you can do to prevent spiraling further down that rabbit hole of anger and depression and anxiety. Let’s be honest, that’s what it is to be in a work environment you hate.
Look for another job
Here’s a caveat with looking for another job, though.
People will tell you the grass always seems greener on the other side; that the corporate bureaucracy is the same everywhere you go.
When you decide that you can no longer be where you’re at, you need to take stock of what is an absolute non-negotiable.
Research companies in the area who are hiring, talk with recruiters and tell them the dynamic you’re looking for in a company.
Check GlassDoor and Indeed for reviews on companies you’re interested in; take these reviews with a grain of salt, though, because many of those reviews can be disgruntled employees...treat these as you would a product review on Amazon.
But prepare your resume and know that by TAKING ACTION you are creating a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t there before.
Remember: It’s easier to find a job when you already have a job, so push through a little while longer.
Find a therapist
Before you get all offended and defensive about me suggesting this, hear me out.
You can vent to your co-workers, to your friends, to you husband. More often than not, those people are going to be UBER supportive of you and, without intent, they’re going to rile you up even more.
This isn’t what you need when you’re in such a dark space about work. Find a therapist who specializes in work related problems and just talk to them.
They are trained professionals and we need to utilize their knowledge, skills and expertise.
A therapist isn’t going to fix your problem, but they will help you find the tools to get through or solve the problem yourself.
Ideally, if you do these two things together, you’re ultimately going to come out on top.
Finally, SO MUCH of dealing with a shitty work situation has to do with self-care.
If you refuse to do anything else about this situation.
If you are bound and determined to stay at this job, for whatever reason (benefits, pension plan, afraid of change, whatever…) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take care of yourself.
Make sure you’re taking your breaks and your lunch.
Stop working through these times because putting your head down and pushing through is only going to push you into a place that’s even worse mentally and emotionally.
You NEED your breaks during the day. You NEED that time to yourself to regroup, take a breath, and get yourself into a GOOD HEAD SPACE.
Mama, I would LOVE to help you more and connect with you.
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Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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