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You Can’t Afford to Stay in a Job You Dislike

June 15, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Given the looooong hours I know you put into your work, it seems obvious that you should get plenty of satisfaction from all that work. Yet according to Gallup less than one-third of workers are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”

If you are among the more than two-thirds of workers not loving your job, I hope you realize the worst thing you can do is to do nothing. Staying in a job you don’t like is disrespectful to yourself, and your loved ones. If you are not all you can be, you are selling yourself short. There is no way you can tell me that doesn’t negatively impact your relationships.

Moreover, a disengaged you runs the risk of not putting in the time and effort to keep your skills up to date. Or your attitude—don’t think you can hide it-gets you passed over for promotions, or potentially pushed out. Given that so many of you expect to work longer before you retire, it seems especially risky to stay in a job today that doesn’t bring out the best in you.

Before you start looking for a new job, let’s talk about the job you have. Take some quality quiet time to carefully consider the specific reasons you are unhappy.

Once you have that list whittled down to the one or two biggest issues, consider whether it is possible for management to help you overcome those roadblocks. The worst approach is to stomp in to someone’s office and say “I am unhappy.” The right way—the way that gets people to listen-Is to explain that you would like to discuss practical ways your job can be tweaked to make you more productive. After all, a happier you is going to be a more productive you. And what employer doesn’t want a more productive you?

Before you approach your boss, or HR, I want you to think through things from the employer’s perspective. Your “solutions” have to be practical for them. If you are a valued employee they do not want to lose, they will be inclined to work with you on finding potential solutions. Maybe that’s the ability to work from home one day a week, because the 2 hours you’re spending commuting each day is a total burn out. Maybe it’s coming to an understanding about work/home boundaries. Would an explicit policy that you are not required to check and respond to email over the weekend help matters? Just be clear on how what you’re proposing serves the company’s bottom line.

If the issue is a manager you don’t see eye-to-eye with, but you otherwise like the company, start sniffing around if there are other opportunities for you in a different division.

If you know in your bones that it is time to move on to a new employer what are you waiting for?! Bad jobs typically don’t get better. And waiting out a bad manager seems like a huge concession to the quality of your life today.

And now is a good time to make a move with the economy doing well, and unemployment being low. First things first: Discreetly let your professional network know you are exploring making a move. And make the most of LinkedIn. Check job sites for positions that interest you. Then look at the specific wording in those job listings. Customize your LinkedIn profile to include some of the key terms. Many employers will search on those terms when looking for candidates. Same goes for any resume you submit. Make sure it uses the same terms that the employer will likely search for.

If you have a job you hate, it’s your job to make a change. You deserve it.

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