You’ve been unhappy at work for a while now. Each morning when the alarm clock goes off, you hit the snooze button and prolong the inevitable for as long as possible. Throughout the day you constantly check your watch, counting down the hours until you can clock off and go home. You live for the weekends but get that familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach on Sunday evening. Sometimes it seeps into Saturday afternoons.
At some point you know you’ll need to update your resume and begin looking for something different. But what if you could wake up each morning and look forward to the day ahead?
What if when you got to work, you became so absorbed in your job that the time flew by and you hardly noticed the time? And what if you could achieve all of this without leaving your current job?
Skeptical? Read on.
1. Open Your Mind
First, you have to open your mind and accept the possibility that you could be happy in your current role without having to look elsewhere. Sometimes jobs are a little like marriages. You have to work at them to get the most out of them.
2. Make A List
Often there’s a very clear reason why you hate your job. Or, there may be many reasons. Other times, it may not be clear. In order to solve the problem, first, you need to identify it and consider it carefully.
Make a list of everything you dislike about your job. It could be the long commute every day, a specific co-worker, the hours, a task you have to do, etc. Go through each item one by one and consider exactly what you don’t like about it.
For example, if you have a problem with a co-worker, outline the nature of the issue? How does it make you feel? Now jot down the conditions that would need to change for you to feel happier. Limit yourself to the areas you can change.
There’s no point in hoping that co-worker leaves or is fired. Instead, focus on changes you could make to ease the situation.
Once you have identified what the problem is, you can establish a strategy to try to fix it. Not everything is within your control, of course, but you can still do everything in your power to turn things around.
3. Change Your Morning Routine
If you hate your job, it’s likely that you also hate mornings. You go to bed late to make the most of not being at work. When it’s time to get up you feel tired and reluctant, staying in bed until the last possible moment. This causes you to rush and feel stressed before you leave the house. It’s surprising how changing your morning routine can set you up for the day.
Start with the night before. Think about everything you need to get ready for work and leave the house the next morning.
- Decide which clothes you’re going to wear and make sure that everything is laundered, ironed and easy to access
- Take out your accessories and leave them in a pot or dish ready for the next morning
- Polish your shoes and leave them by the front door
- Get your house keys and car keys ready to grab and put in your handbag
- If you take a packed lunch to work, prepare it and leave it in the refrigerator
- Make sure you have fresh, clean towels ready for your morning shower
- Take out the makeup you use on a daily basis and place it into a smaller makeup bag or container
Go to bed earlier. If you’re a night owl, getting into bed several hours earlier than usual may cause you to lie awake. It’s better to do this in increments.
Start by going to bed 30 minutes or an hour earlier than usual, then add to this over time. Switch off your phone and do something soothing instead. This could be reading a book, listening to an audiobook, meditation, or whatever works for you. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you feel more awake in the morning.
In the morning, when the alarm clock sounds, get up straight away. Don’t hit the snooze button. Placing your alarm clock across the room, so you have to physically get out bed can help.
Take time to eat a healthy breakfast and do something relaxing for a few minutes. This could be listening to your favorite radio channel, watching the business news, etc. Having a few minutes to yourself before heading off to work can help.
4. Change Your Journey
If your commute is hellish, is there a way to change it?
- Suggest carpooling with colleagues to share the driving burden
- Take the bus instead of the train, or vice versa
- Walk or cycle part of the way and take public transport for the remainder of the journey
- If you walk to work, find an alternative route to switch things up a bit
- Download a podcast to pass the time
5. Change Your Attitude
It’s not easy to change your attitude towards work when you’re unhappy. In the early stages, you may have to take a ‘fake it until you make it’ approach.
Imagine this is your dream job and think about how you would feel and behave. Smarten up your work clothes. Even if you wear the same uniform each day, ensure they are carefully laundered and pressed. Find ways to personalize your uniform, while adhering to dress codes. For example, by wearing underscrubs from Careisma Scrubs or other stores under your work clothes, or wearing brightly colored Crocs. For men’s fashion ideas for work, check out this article from Esquire.
Arrive at work early to allow you time to grab a coffee and write down your to-do list. Say good morning to co-workers and be friendly and pleasant. Throughout the day, think of ways you could improve processes or go the extra mile. Share ideas with colleagues.
6. Do Some Training
Stress at work is sometimes caused by a lack of confidence in your role. If you feel you didn’t receive adequate training, ask for a top-up session. Or, look for related external courses that could boost your skills and improve your knowledge and efficiency.
If you’re unhappy at work, before jumping ship try to fix the problems. If the problem can’t be resolved and you’re still unhappy, then you can look for a new position in the knowledge that you tried your best and did everything in your power.
Without at first trying, it’s likely that the problems will follow you to your next role. And there’s always the possibility you could fix things and learn to enjoy your job again.