Published on June 12th, 2011 | by thevyne


“I Hate My Job, Now What?”: Part I

By Keesha B.

I came across a stat a couple of years ago that said that on any given day, more than half of Americans are dissatisfied with their job. I wasn’t surprised by the stat but it sure is astounding to think that more than half of our population is spending upwards of 40+ hours a week doing something they don’t like. Subjecting your mind, body and spirit to 40 hours of anything you don’t enjoy is a lot for any body to endure. So a couple of years ago I got the idea to create and conduct a seminar called “I Hate My Job, Now What?” It was designed to provide participants with some simple, practical strategies to self-assess and re-engage in the work that they do. So for any of you Vyne readers who may be asking yourself “I hate my job, now what?” I’ve condensed the seven strategies that I talked about in that seminar into a two-part article. Here’s part 1 (strategies 1 – 3):

Strategy #1 “Pit Stop to Regroup”: When you’ve recognized that you’re feeling disengaged at work and you make the decision to get back in the race as it relates to your career/job, the first thing you should do is stop and regroup. This is important because often times when we’re feeling disengaged at work it’s because we’re physically/emotionally/mentally over whelmed, over worked, under appreciated or all of the above. When that happens, you just sort of shut down. Think about a racecar driver. They barrel around that racetrack at break neck speeds, but they always make several pit stops. Why? Because if they didn’t the wheels would be falling off, engine would start sputtering and a whole host of other things could go wrong. Starting with your own personal “pit-stop” gives you an opportunity to check your wheels. Assess where you’ve been, where you’re going and what you need to adjust to get there. Activity “Road Map”:  Pull out your resume and get ready to get in touch with your inner kindergartener.  Start by reading through your resume. Next, grab some white paper and markers and draw a road down the center of the paper. Then, along the sides of the road draw images (no words) of where you’ve been in your career. Think of them as little street signs lining your career road. It may feel funny drawing but psychologically, the drawing process puts your mind at ease and enables you to open up creatively. Debrief: The purpose of this exercise is to connect you back to why you’re at your current job. At some point, this job fulfilled a need for you.  Whether that need was financial, intrinsic, life long dream, skill based or just simply gave you the opportunity to try something new, it fulfilled a need that you had at that time in your life. Connect back with that need and get ready to move on to strategy #2…

Strategy #2 “Let Your Job Off the Hook”: Now that you are clear on the need that this job fulfilled for you in past, you can begin to feel some positivity and control about having chosen to be where you are right now. Let’s talk about the “now”. Often times when we’re feeling disengaged at work it can be because we’re holding our job responsible for fulfilling a need that maybe it was never intended to fulfill in the first place. Or perhaps it’s just not possible for it to fulfill. It’s like taking medication for a symptom it wasn’t prescribed to cure. You wouldn’t take Mylanta to cure the bunions on your foot would you? Letting your job off the hook for not doing something it was never designed to do in the first place, frees you to no longer feel frustrated/emotional about it but rather begin to feel practical, poised and in control to make decisions for what’s next. Activity/Debrief: Complete this sentence – “When I have a bad day at work it’s because…” Write until you have nothing left to write then read what you wrote. Ask yourself, what needs are not getting met on my bad days and list out each of those needs. Then for each need on your list ask, “Is that a need that I want my job to fulfill? Do I have control over ensuring its fulfillment? Is it necessary for my job to fulfill that need or can I get it fulfilled elsewhere? If it is not necessary, then let your job off the hook for fulfilling that need and move on to the next one on your list (Note: We’ll discuss what you do with these unfilled needs in Strategy #3). If it is necessary and possible for your job to fulfill a particular need, do a quick brainstorm on how to get that need met in the office. You can do this with your trusted friends/coworkers. You’d be surprised how the ideas of others not close to your situation can be very helpful.

Strategy #3 “Create the Outlet and Plug In”: So, what do you do with all of the needs that you let your job off the hook for? Well, you create another outlet in your life, away from your job, where you can get those needs met. When you create that outlet it’s a way for you to re-energize yourself. You may say, but I don’t have time or energy and I’ve got kids, I’ve got a spouse, I’ve got a second job. Go back to the analogy of the racecar driver. His job is to go around that track at break neck speed. Well what does he need to do that? A car! So if in your life you have the role of friend, care taker, sister, spouse, girlfriend, parent, worker, church leader, etc. what do you need in order to do that? You need YOU! If you’re running on empty, how efficient are YOU going to be at being YOU? Activity: Energy Depleters and Relievers. Pull out another sheet of paper and list everything that happens in your day that you feel depletes your energy and then beside that list, list everything that happens in your day that you feel relieves your energy. Did you have more on the deplete side of your paper versus the relieve side? Ask yourself why do you think that is? If you had more time in the day what things would you do to relieve your energy? List them out and start making the time each week to relieve your energy. See also The Vyne’s “Refyning Moments” initiative for ideas on how to tap into your best energy.

So you’ve taken a pit stop, you determined you were going to let your job off the hook for some of your needs, you’ve now found other outlets to get some of your needs fulfilled or relieved, but you’ve still got to come back to this job…the place you’ve been telling everyone who will listen, just how much it drives you nuts.  So what’s next? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article where we’ll reveal strategies 4 – 7.

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