Kerry Hannon wrote the book on loving one’s job, literally. In her book Love Your Job, Hannon talks about what it takes to truly get excited about getting up every morning and doing what you do for a living.
In a recent post on LinkedIn, she discusses signs that indicate when it’s time to start looking for a new job or, if you’re not ready to make a move, how to improve your attitude toward your current one.
You know it’s time when…
In Hannon’s words, “The biggest sign that is telling you to search for your next job is that you dread going to work. Your job has flat-lined. You feel your work is not respected, or it’s monotonous. It feels futile. It’s demotivating to do the same thing again and again.
Other red flags: You’re frustrated by a lack of resources and support from your boss or colleagues. Or perhaps it’s a lack of growth opportunities for both pay and skills advancement. Your work no longer has meaning to you. (Employees who get meaning and significance from their work are more than three times as likely not to change employers.) You feel powerless.
Getting sucked into a mindless routine deadens you inside and puts you in jeopardy of losing your job if your boss notices. When you lose pride in what you do, your health, your personal relationships, and your sense of self-worth begin to diminish. And then perhaps the day comes when you can barely get out the door to get to the office.
Put simply, you tune out. You don’t tap into the energy that can come from your job, or you simply can’t begin to see where the hope lingers below the surface.
The truth is that when I talk to workers who are unhappy in their jobs the underlying issue is that they are bored. They don't identify it as that, but that’s the issue.”
So, now that we know the signs of being unhappy with one’s job, what do we do to become a little less unhappy?
No matter how dire your current work situation may be, find one thing or area about your job that you can personally improve. Then make that improvement. This simple act will move you in a positive direction, creating optimism while reducing your pessimism. Once you do this, find one more thing and repeat. It can be as little as cleaning off your desk or putting up a picture, but do something - anything - to create a positive vibe.
Taking on a new challenge may also help you change your outlook about your day-to-day activities at work. If most people lose interest in their job due to boredom, then taking on a new challenge might kickstart a different attitude toward your job.
Learning new skills is also a way to empower yourself through periods of stagnancy. Whether you end up using these skills now or in the future is not as important as the simple act of keeping your brain fresh and challenging it to continue to grow and expand its current comfort boundaries.
The value of others plays a big role in how you perceive your job, as well. Make a friend or two at work and schedule a monthly happy hour. As you unwind in a social setting, you’ll get to know these new friends on a more personal level, making coming to work that much more of a joy.
Hannon summed things up beautifully in her post when she said, “You consciously choose whether to continue being unhappy or pick an alternate path and work toward it, even if it’s in baby steps. Simply starting on a solution lifts your spirits.
Finding ways to love your job takes time. Be patient. You never want to be rash and impulsive when you’re rethinking your job. You may have to wait for the right opportunity to arise, but you can start laying the groundwork and preparation right now. At worst, during this initial building process, while you stick it out and still hate your job, you will learn how to work under tough conditions - a good skill to have under any circumstances.”
The question remains: are you going to choose to be miserable or are you going to take action to bring joy back into your workday? It’s entirely up to you and fully under your control. As Henry Ford purportedly once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!”