Love it, Don't Leave it
In August, the economy created no jobs at all – not one! Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job in this economy, you may not enjoy it. And as the adage goes, if you don’t love it, how can you succeed?
If you are one of the many who dread Monday mornings, MainStreet has asked career coaches and experts to offer advice on how to make your job more rewarding, fun and motivational. After all, you spend five out of seven days a week at the office – so you should at least have fun while you're making some scratch.
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Do some soul searching and think about why your job isn’t satisfying you. Is it your co-workers, your boss, the overall industry?
"Often times, we're so caught up in disliking our job that we fail to recognize exactly why. Evaluate the specific reasons you are unhappy, and try to address them one-by-one," says Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert for Kinoli Inc. "Don't let the bad economy convince you to stay put at a job you hate. Despite the headlines, there are always opportunities; just take the time to seek them out. When all else fails, thank your lucky stars for a paycheck and plan activities after work that help you look forward to the day ahead.”
After completing this exercise, you may realize that you’re pretty lucky to have a job at all – and the problems with your current job are minor and manageable.
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Politics exists beyond Washington. Chances are you see “politics” at work in your office and among the co-workers at your company.
Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide, suggests making friends with your enemies: “Find a way to restore some balance or a quality in the relationship – especially if it’s between a person you don’t necessary get along with or someone who engages in activities that aren’t aligned with your best interest.”
Politics or favoritism can be frustrating – monitor the politics in your office to see if you notice and patterns or trends, and maybe you can defuse them or use them to your advantage.
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Find a Project
Time comes to a screeching halt when you are bored and have nothing to do.
Cohen suggests being proactive and finding something productive to do with your time: “If it’s stale or boring around the office – shake things up a bit – offer to do a project, take initiative – think about what your company needs that you can deliver – don’t wait for someone to ask you.”
Bold and aggressive qualities will take you far – and will show dedication to your boss, which can maybe land you in a better job that you do love.
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Keep Your Cool
Frustration and anger do not help – and those emotions will only make your blood boil even more.
“Do not waste valuable work time on showing your feelings towards your job. Instead, start planning your performance a day ahead and set specific goals to be accomplished throughout the day; this way you will be focused on the actual tasks instead of whining or feeling sorry for yourself,” says Erika Walker, human resources manager at BestEssayHelp, an academic services website with a large team of writers.
Think of it this way: you may not like your job, but at least act like you care.
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If you’re first starting out in your career or still in school, take as many internships as possible – you’ll gain valuable experience, make connections and most importantly figure out what you do and don’t want to do.
Internships are a great way to steer clear of potentially unfulfilling careers, and they may even open up an entire new world or passion you didn't know you had.
During your internship, do every task – whether it’s making copies or getting coffee. If you’re asked to do something, don’t hesitate; you'll stand out and increase your chances for a better job down the road.
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Find a Role Model
Try to find someone at your job who is willing to mentor you. Even if it’s your boss – learning is always beneficial. Perhaps the reason you dislike your job is because you are not trying hard enough to adapt to the culture of the firm. Each company has a different atmosphere – and if you are used to the style of your previous employer, it may be difficult to acclimate, which will tarnish your opinion of the job.
Learning and receiving advice from a fellow co-worker who has worked at the company for decades (and has a corner office!) can be a great asset.
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Write it Down
Documenting your experiences is not only therapeutic, but it allows you to think deeper and evaluate the purpose of your work.
Karlin Sloan, CEO, author of Smarter, Faster, Better and UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, suggests making a gratitude list: “Add three new items daily. What are you grateful for at work? You can start with simple things like your paycheck, but build on that daily as a regular practice. It will help you re-train your mind to look for positives every day.”
If you say to yourself, “There’s not much I’m grateful for at work,” then you’re not being realistic. Remember how millions of people are unemployed and would love to be in your shoes.
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High Salary = Unhappy at Work?
A common reason why people stay at jobs they hate is for money – a totally valid reason. Their job pays too much for them to leave and take a job that pays less but that’s more aligned with their passions. It’s a “good” problem to have.
But if you have an emergency savings account (enough money in liquid cash to cover your expenses for at least 10 months), you’re debt-free and able to find a job that suits your passions (even if it pays less), then go for it. If you love your job, it’s not work anymore.
Plus, your interest in the new job will impress your employer, which could potentially lead to a raise with a salary higher than the so-called high paying job that you hated before.
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Your Life Outside of Work
Brenda R. Coleman, health coach and cubicle-life survival expert, shares this personal anecdote:
“I come from a family of workaholics: My parents wake up, go to work, work long hours, come home, eat, watch TV, then sleep (and repeat this cycle until Friday evening). I knew I didn’t want that for myself. Therefore, I joined local social groups (e.g., meet-ups) and scheduled time for activities I always enjoyed and never did before. When you have something to look forward to outside of work, the eight hours in that cubicle become less painful.”
Take Coleman’s advice seriously. Many times we overlook allotting time during the week for ourselves. For your physical and mental health, this is a critical step – and it will make you calmer and allow you to forget about the stress from your job.
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You Don’t Work at the Same Firm Forever
You may feel as if you’ll be stuck at the same company for decades. But you control your life – if you want to quit the job, then so do. You may have to make some financial sacrifices, but if you’re determined to find your dream job, you should be willing to do whatever it takes.
Never give up and don’t take “no” for an answer. Use MainStreet’s multitude of financial tips to get your finances in order so you can quit the job you hate and pursue your ultimate desires – whether it’s starting a business, writing a book, auditioning for a movie or going back to school.
-Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com. He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, Fox News, ABC News and CBS. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter.
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