Are you one of those people who go to work everyday basically out of habit? You feel kinda meh about things but it pays the bills. You kinda want to look for something else but you’re too tired after work or it’s just not bad enough that you’re willing to spend the little free time you have looking for a new gig. Next thing you know, you’re celebrating 5 years of tenure without a whole lot to show for it.
I read a funny thing – funny like interesting – not funny like King of Queens (the most underrated tv show of all-time). I read that 86% of people reported overall job satisfaction, but only 34% identify as very satisfied with opportunities to use their skills and 24% self-report as very satisfied with their compensation.
Something seems off with those numbers, so let me ask you a question.
How to know if you hate your job
Do you like what you do every day?
By that I mean could you see yourself getting up and doing the same routine every day – same commute working with the same people, doing the same kind of work for the rest of your career, for the same pay with modest increases along the way?
Take a second or two to think before you answer that, because if you have panic attacks every Sunday night, find yourself snapping at people Monday-Thursday, or can’t wait until your next vacation, you should be answering that question with an immediate “NO! I HATE my job!”.
How to know if you love your job or just like it
Notice I used the word “like” instead of “love” in the first line. I know some people out there who challenge everyone to love their jobs, but a big part of me feels like if you don’t hate your job, you’re in better shape than a lot of folks. Don’t get me wrong. I would still want to help people if it wasn’t my job, but it would probably look a little different than the way I help people now as a management consultant.
Maybe you can chalk this perspective of work being “just work” up to my pragmatic disposition.
Or maybe you can chalk it up to my fear of being poor again.
Either way, if you’re anything like me, the result is you put up with WAY more nonsense than necessary for your job.
While back in an unpleasant job situation may accelerate your motivation to make a change, you don’t have to hate your job to want better for yourself.
What I realized after getting some years and a variety of work experiences under my belt is that like and love also play a role in how you go about navigating your career. When you like (or tolerate in some cases) your job, it keeps you from making a knee-jerk decision to walk out one day and never come back.
When you love your job, you’re not perpetually looking out for the next best thing. Loving your job also usually means you won’t entertain a random call from a corporate recruiter or Linkedin message from a headhunter.
The sad thing is sometimes you love a job that doesn’t love you back. That unrequited love may also cause the grumbling of that small voice that keeps nudging you toward something but hadn’t quite interpreted yet. I’ve come across many people who feel underpaid and want to get an outside offer to negotiate a better deal. (I don’t believe in that, but it’s definitely a thing.) Others have some decent experience but don’t feel like they have the academic or professional pedigree to continue progressing their career the way they want.
If you can relate to that feeling, I have news for you – it’s time to make a change.
Stop fearing change – it’s not a “four-letter word”
Whether or not you’ve made up in your mind to see if you can find greener pastures elsewhere or try to broker an upgrade to your current work arrangement, one thing is certain, you need to make a change. You need to stop being so afraid of change that you don’t notice you actually hate what you spend most of every day doing.
Hopefully, this got you thinking because there’s more to come on this topic to show you what options are available to help you down this path.