How to Escape a Job you Hate
When I ran training programs on behalf of a boutique training organisation, I would occasionally encounter reluctant workshop attendees. It was nothing personal, they simply hated their jobs and so hated being asked to be part of a training program that they had not asked for!
It was this experience as a Certified Trainer and Assessor in the Registered Training environment that taught me how to design training for a wide variety of personalities and learning styles. While I’ve personally never hated any of my jobs, whenever I encounter people who have begun to hate what they do, I am always keen to understand why.
Here’s what I have discovered.
Why People Hate Their Jobs
- A difficult colleague is creating conflict for you.
- An unreasonable manager is creating too many demands of you.
- You feel overworked (and therefore probably also underpaid).
- The role or industry is not aligned to your passions or interests.
How to Escape a Job You Hate
If I am describing you, there is hope! Here is the advice I give clients who have ended up in a job they hate, are steadily losing their confidence and dangerously close to accepting any job they can get! I encourage you to consider my advice and make sure you do not get to the point where you will take ANY job other than the one you’re in. Chances are you will end up feeling the same way within 12 months if you have not researched your next step properly and considered why it is you do not currently enjoy your job.
1. Reflect on how you got here
Disliking your job can be a dark mental place. You may be feeling anxious, even depressed and this may be starting to impact on other areas of your life. If you have allowed yourself to get to the point where you are very unhappy and dread going to work, try to re-trace your steps and understand how you got here. If it helps, ask a friend or family member who knows you well to listen to your thoughts on how you came to hate what you do. Often there are key events (e.g. key staff leaving, colleagues you’re experienced conflict with or major structural changes) that have led to your current state. Consider what has happened in your own situation. It may be helpful to use a journal and write down your thoughts.
2. Decide what sort of environment you work well in
Learn from this experience and use it to help determine the type of environment and people you would prefer to work with in a future role, and the type of people you’d prefer not to work with. I was offered a marketing job earlier in my career for the FlyBuys program when it first started. While I really liked the manager, I asked to do a walk through of the office. This gave me a sense of the work environment and the type of people I would be working with. The walk through helped me realise this particular job, and more specifically the environment, was not suited to me.
Tip – understand the type of work environment you enjoy (e.g. indoors, outdoors, office based, on the road, working with people, regular travel, etc).
3. Size of the organisation
Some people enjoy working for smaller businesses where they can get their hands dirty and perhaps be given more responsibility than they would in a larger organisation. Some small businesses, depending on the industry, tend to work at a fast past and, if growing, experience constant change and moving targets. For some, this is thrilling! For others, this environment is overwhelming. I have one particular colleague who loves the idea of working for a very large organisation like a bank where her role is clearly defined and she can be left alone to do her job.
Tip – take the time to consider the size of the organisation you wish to work for.
4. Support for Managers
If you are a People Manager and have found yourself managing more than 7 people (which is my definition of being overworked), research your next role and make sure you are not taking on a role with the same situation. A client I regularly coach hates her job as she manages 13 people and has not been allowed to restructure and introduce team leaders and smaller teams. It is the reluctance of the owners of the business to make the changes she has recommended (and was employed to implement) that has unfortunately led her to decide to seek other roles. In her new job search, she is very focussed on finding people management roles that do not have more than 6 direct reports!
Tip – research the organisational structure and ask other people who work at the organisation how well they are supported as managers.
5. Do What You Love
I understand some people view the concept of ‘doing what you love’ a cliche or a fairy tale that will be forever out of reach. Consider this. Your job is not kindergarten. Your parents have not enrolled you to be there.
You have a choice.
If you consider what you enjoy doing, this is a much happier place to work from and will help you research types of roles and interests that may be more suited to your passions and interests.
Tip – access the many articles available on the website about Career Planning & Management.
The Final Step to Help You Escape A Job You Hate
Once you have considered these last 5 points, you will be in a much stronger position to make your next career move. It is time to update your resume, refresh your LinkedIn Profile and seek out roles (through contacts and job ads) that meet your criteria for much greater happiness in your job!
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