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Monday, Jan. 27, 2020

Are You Unhappy With Your Job?

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Asking yourself a few questions is a great place to start

“Dear Andy, I Hate My Job! I am in my early 30s and have been in the same line of work for about six years. For the past year or so, I have started to hate what I do, hate my boss, and some of my workmates often get on my last nerve. I don’t have the preferred college degree for my position, but the company hired me and pays me really well. I doubt I could get the same salary if I changed jobs, so I feel stuck. Because I feel so miserable about my work, my relationship with my wife and kids has also been affected. What do I do? Signed: Hate My Job”.

Dear “Hate My Job,” first, let me say what you’re going through is a common problem. Studies show that about 70% of American workers dislike their jobs. Keep in mind, the idea of “hating” your job is a state of mind. I relate it to feeling lonely. Sometimes a person can be in a room full of people and feel very lonely while others can be alone at their home and not feel lonely at all. If you decide you need to stay at your job, at least for now, finding a way to modify or reframe your thoughts and feelings about it will help you feel less miserable.

For people with full-time jobs, almost half of their life not spent sleeping is spent at work. So, it’s crucial to be in the right job. I can’t tell you or anyone whether or not they should quit their job, but I can recommend some things to contemplate to help you decide if quitting your job or learning not to hate it is the best course for you. The best way to do this is to write your thoughts down on paper or in a protected computer file. Writing ideas down can really help clarify the situation.

To start, decide if you hate your job (boss, company policies, hours, location) or do you hate the career you have chosen. Once you have determined this, detail the things that are good about your job and then what you dislike about it. This is a detailed “pros and cons list.”

The next step is to determine what things you value in life most and see if your job fits them. For example, if you highly value a good salary, security and benefits, you need a job that has these things. If you value your family time and hobbies, you need to see how your job fits this value. Some people want their jobs to help others by providing needed products or services. Also, consider some of your personality traits and how they fit your situation. People who are more introverted benefit from a job that lets them work alone or with few coworkers. Folks who are extroverted do better when they can socialize with customers or coworkers. Some people like dealing with numbers and facts, while others are more intuitive or visionaries who like to develop projects or policies. Think about what specific parts of your job are the most energizing and the most draining.

It’s not uncommon for people to grow and change what they value in a job. Marriage, children, health concerns and other life events can change what you value the most in life. What you wanted from work when you were younger may not be the same now.

You also mentioned you feel your job is affecting your energy level and others around you. This is certainly common. Stressors in one part of our lives can affect other parts. A good way to lower negative effects is to reframe your thoughts about how much you hate your job. When you “hate” anything, you put it on a pedestal and make it very important. It takes a lot of energy to hate something. That’s emotional and physical energy you take from other areas of your life.

If you decide that changing jobs is in your best interest, remember to plan your exit. Don’t just get mad and quit. You might need to rearrange your spending habits and monthly expenses so you can save some money to use between jobs.

Another significant contributor to job dissatisfaction in the U.S. is the number of options people have. With all the many college degrees offered and changing and diverse work opportunities, such as working from home, flexible hours and starting an online business, it can be overwhelming to choose a path or be satisfied with what you have. This can also be true for interpersonal relationships. A licensed professional counselor with experience in career and vocation counseling might be helpful. I hope you find these ideas helpful, and one day soon, you’ll refer to yourself as “I Love My Job.”

Andy Sibley, MA, LPC, LMFT is a psychotherapist in private practice and contracted counselor for “The Dr. Phil Show.” To Ask Andy a question about a difficult situation you may want advice with, please email him at Andy@AndySibley.com or go to his website at www.AndySibley.com.

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