Hate your job? Let’s face it – everyone feels negative about work sometimes. Whether it’s frustration with the boss’s expectations or the lazy co-worker who seems to get away with everything, negative feelings creep up from time to time and make us wonder if we’d be better off working somewhere else. When it comes down to it, there’s a crucial difference between having the occasional bad day and hating your job. If you’ve slipped down that slope already, pulling yourself back up is not impossible (and is worth doing!).
Here are a few tips that you can utilize to learn, how to love your job even if you really do hate it.
1. Remember what you love
There’s a reason you took your job – why you were happy in the first place to hear “the job is yours.” Think back to the eagerness you felt in the beginning, or what positive things your job allows you to do and start making a list. Write down what you like about your job (and be fair). Is it close to home? Do you have a great view from your desk? Is your schedule flexible? Often what we take for granted is considered a real perk in the workplace. Mentally set aside any negative aspects of the workplace environment, and concentrate on what is positive.
2. Squash the negativity
Misery loves company, so do your best to avoid negative talk with co-workers. Try to steer the conversation to something more positive, like the things you were able to accomplish that day or how much you appreciated someone’s help. If you can’t manage to squash negative chatter, it might be best to avoid the co-worker who perpetuates it.
3. Build relationships
“When we get to understand a co-worker on a more personal level, it often elevates our tolerance and softens our approach when we need to ask for their help.”
We spend a good chunk of our day with co-workers, and having a few friends at work can really make it more enjoyable. Eating lunch alone at your desk doesn’t give you the needed mental break to return refreshed for the afternoon. Make a lunch date with different co-workers, or even ask to grab coffee with your boss. Avoid just talking business. When we get to understand a co-worker on a more personal level, it often elevates our tolerance and softens our approach when we need to ask for their help.
4. Ask for more
If you’re feeling under-paid or under-appreciated, the idea of taking on more work can be a jagged pill to swallow. However, it’s when you’ve flown under the radar by doing only what’s expected that you tend to be overlooked by management. Volunteering for a project can help you feel more involved and earn you those kudos that boost morale.
5. Create balance in your life
If you find yourself walking up in the night thinking about work (or worse, checking your work email), it’s time to create more balance. When you get home, shut down the laptop or the smartphone and put your mind on something completely different, whether it be a fitness class or hobby, or just spending quality time with family and friends. Work will be there the next day, and you’ll be better prepared for it when you’ve had a chance to clear your mind.
6. Make it homey
Even the most generic cubicle could benefit from a little makeover. Whether it’s photos of your kids or a little memento from your last vacation, personalizing your work space can really make being there a lot more tolerable.
7. Ignore your boss
A big part of the reason a lot of people don’t like their job is that their bosses are downright intolerable. Unfortunately, there’s no quick cure for that particular problem. However, how you deal with your boss can help. If you know there’s no pleasing him, then stop trying. Instead, focus on doing what you know will cause you the least stress and require the least interaction with said sadistic supervisor.
8. Have a plan
The secret to any success is twofold: Have a long-term vision and a short-term plan to achieve it. Use your time at the job you hate to figure out exactly what kind of job you want next. When you’ve done that, formulate a plan on how to get there. No one’s saying it will be easy, but you’re a whole lot more likely to find your way to a better job than if you’ve got no plan at all.
9. Bide your time
If you truly can’t stand your job, you should be using part of your day to look for a new one. It’s much better to look for a job when you still have one than to wait until you’re desperate. This way, you can afford to be picky and not get saddled with another job you hate.
10. Get some perspective
When all else fails, sometimes it helps to take a step back and get some perspective on your situation. There are lots of folks who’d be happy to have a job at all, and while yours may not be perfect, it’s better than not being able to make the mortgage payments. While changing your point of view won’t make your problems go away, it will help you muddle through until they do.
11. Get motivated to face the day
On the way to your workplace, think of how the work you have allows you to have your life outside of it, such as a great social life. A positive attitude will make the day more pleasant and productive.
12. Keep your work in perspective
You can only do the best you can in each situation. Look beyond yourself and your work, and consider the bigger picture. Do some voluntary work to gain a broader outlook. Find a way to contribute to society in general.
13. You are more than your work
Do not have your identity too strongly tied to the job you do. Give up thinking that your work life “should” be a certain way. Such expectations of what you were supposed to be, as set by your parents and teachers, stop you from enjoying what you currently do.
14. Plan your time and create a to-do list
In this list, include long term projects as well as the more imminent things that need doing.
Prioritize your to-do list – do the most important things first. When performing any task, ask yourself – is this the best use of my time? Schedule in enough time for your studies etc.
15. Concentrate on the task at hand
Do not let yourself be distracted by worrying about all the other things to be done or losing energy over the undesirable situation you find yourself in. Stay in the moment.
Be ruthless and take care of a task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For example, sort your morning post immediately in one go – open it, file it, act on it or bin it there and then.
16. Be clear about what’s expected of you
Clarify immediately, any time you are not sure or where you are faced with conflicting demands. The more clear and upfront you are with your manager and the other people you work with, the better it will be for you in the long term.
17. Delegate wherever appropriate
Decide if there is anything that can be delegated, or that more fairly belongs to someone else’s work load. Always remember the “3D” rule – do it, dump it or delegate it – never handle a piece of paper twice.
18. Have regular breaks
Get away from your normal workplace even if only for five minutes. Try taking a break from the laptop, emails and do leave the mobile behind. Make sure that you do have that lunch break – it is not just for food but also for fresh air and a mental break.
Eat a healthy lunch and if you must snack, make sure it is healthy too – an apple rather than a bag of crisps. Look for ways of energizing yourself, other than from adrenaline and caffeine.
19. Learn to relax
No matter how challenging the work gets or how demanding your bosses become, it, at the end of the day it is only a job and you are much more than that. In years to come, you will look back and wonder what the fuss was.
20. Make your workplace more pleasant
Contribute towards creating a pleasant work environment. Do not gossip in the office as it just creates negativity all around. Do not listen to any gossip either. Minimize your time with people that you do not resonate with or like.
Learn to have more fun at work. Laugh more and chill out. Perform with a more fun orientated approach.
21. Review your day before you leave for home
Look at what worked well, and what could be improved the next day. If you feel satisfied with the day’s work, then why not reward yourself later that day. You deserve it.
22. Switch off once you leave work
You are already at work a third of your time, so do not continue to keep it buzzing in your head during your supposed free time. Mentally say good bye to your work space the moment you leave for home.
See your work as a game. Life is meant to be fun and if you are going to spend a third of it at work, you might as well enjoy the game. Enjoy your work – and if it comes down to it, you can always find something better in the medium to long term.
Finding another job can be difficult, and while the grass may appear to be greener, you could find yourself in a similar negative mindset a few months into a new role. We can’t control what others around us do, but we can control our perspective and our reactions. The workplace is like a mirror – it reflects back what you project. If you keep your outlook positive, and not let the little things get under your skin, you’ll see a big difference in how you feel about Monday mornings.