“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”-Confucius
Confucius was right. When you are having fun. On the job. Work is like play. But things can go wrong. Any time.
You used to love your job. Business takes a bad turn. People are shed. You have to do other things. Redeployed. To a nightmare.
Or there is a leadership change. You suddenly have to deal with a rogue. Who lies. For convenience. And steals. Work credits.
You need the job. You have to stick around. Until the next opportunity. What can you do? To save yourself. From feeling. The concentration camp syndrome?
What are the three big actions to find love with the job you hate?
-You are not alone
-Don’t be a whisperer
-Define the monster
-Protect your brand
-Re-love your job
If you hate your job, you’ve got company. According to a Gallup poll, 70% of US workers are “not fully inspired.” That means that they are less than satisfied with their job. That’s a huge community of yet to be happy people. And, it is hard to keep the numbers down. Discontent spreads. Like weeds.
Another survey shows that 15% actually said they disliked or hated their jobs.
A global survey by Kelly Services that covered 120,000 respondents shows that 48% of employees are unhappy in their current jobs. The keyword is ‘unhappy.’
If you are one of the 48%, you have got company big time. Which is bad news. What this means is that a huge number of people will be seeking to change jobs. You’ve got competition. Big time. If you are also yearning for a change.
You can’t be faulted. If you think of it. As a musical chair game. Someone leaves. You take over. And someone takes over the position. You left.
Reality. Things might not work out that perfectly. You risk being stranded in no job land. If you make an emotional decision to jump ship. Before you have something in hand.
Getting a job may take some time. You have to resume. Writing resumes. Polishing elevator pitches. Rehearsing the lines. To get yourself sold. And gainfully employed.
What if you need not? Do all that. What if you can still have happiness? And your sanity. In your current job. With some tweaks. Of perspective.
Granted. Being in a job you hate could be “poisonous.” To your wellbeing. There are antidotes. There are three big actions to suffer the job you hate.
I have been there. For me. It was a rogue boss. A peer promoted. With an axe to grind. And dulled ethics.
It was quick and steep descent. For me.
From an A-list performer, I degraded to A-verage.
Prior to the takeover, I was in a challenging operations leadership role. Which I thrived.
While I was ‘solving world hunger,’ plans were put in place. To design an end to my leadership days. Knowing. I work best with people.
In the name of an ethics driven job rotation. I was assigned to a desk job. An individual contributor role. I suffered it for 18 months. To leave. On my own terms.
I fought against it. Through HR. And, expectedly, lost.
In those dark days, it crossed my mind. Many times. To quit. But I had an eye on the cycle of re-deployment exercises that were a constant in the industry.
In a redeployment exercise. Triggered by ‘low business situation.’ The deal was. Either. There is a new job for you. Or, you will be paid to leave. At least 20 days pay. For a year of service. Good deal.
To look good. The company will pay. A bit more. Better deal.
For me, it was a trade- off I could not forsake. I was determined to end it. On my own terms.
So, I endured the meaninglessness. Of going to work. For a while. If 18 months is a while.
The mindset.During the testing term, a self- confident mindset is important. It helps you. To hold out better.
I acknowledged that I was still a valuable contributor. With still a lot to give to the business. I was not going to leave my job. I was not going to leave the company. It felt like I was leaving Ali Baba’s victims.
I was optimistic that it will end. As I had anticipated. Being financially rewarded for the years of service. I had put in. Some freedom chips.
The voice within. Urging me not to be reckless in this situation. Became clearer.
I contend that I was being judged by a person. With lower ethical standards. With a vindictive agenda. This viewpoint helped me. Persevere.
The wisdom of the motivation masters. Refreshed my self-belief. I wrote down and review my BAG (Blessings, Accomplishment and Goals). I was cognizant. That my response to the situation is crucial. For my agenda. To get the prize. The financial reward. Awaiting. For not throwing in the towel.
The bigger slap on my face. Was the sudden loss of power. In my previous position, I led a 12 person team, was empowered with a signature authority of US$ 10,000 and a budget of about US$ 5 million.
In the new job I became an individual contributor. With no such authority. I had. To do everything. Myself.
I vaguely remembered a Denzel Washington movie. It was about a jailed boxer who suffered a prison term better. By deciding not to crave for the freedom. Maybe. It was a story my mind made up. But it served me well.
I decided to work on. Not wanting the “power”. I rationalize. The loss of power was not a failure. In itself.
The loss of happiness was. A failure to be worthy of the challenge. To be worthy of the suffering.
The most important decision I made. Was. To turn things around. As far as my happiness and self- esteem were concerned.
I decided that. While waiting for the re-deployment exercise, I would try to find love. In the job I hated. Game on.
The key to achieving anything is action.
You’ve heard it. Actions speak louder than words. Getting from here to there requires actions, propelled by the first step.
The secret to being is doing. Action brings luck. As in. “The harder you work the luckier you get.”
Action makes you feel good. Imbues confidence. When you take action, you are taking control and accepting accountability. As in. “You account for something”.
When you take action, you are challenging the status quo. Willing to make a change. Instead of. Lamenting the situation. In a state of flaccidness. And life sapping emotional churn.
Of course, this is not a doctor’s prescription or a scientist’s formula, but a recommendation based on experience.
There are three groups of actions to be taken. Three big actions to suffer the job you hate. So that. If you decide to quit. You quit on your own terms.
Shh…let’s keep it among friends. There is a first things first thing. You have to consciously, painstakingly, wilfully and persistently conceal disappointment. With your job. You’ve got to fake it.
Showing unhappiness with your job. At the workplace. And ‘megaphoning’ it. Will not bring any good.
Unless, you are indispensable, no boss or organization is going down. On their knees for you.
The exception is when your skills have a direct impact to the immediate results. The only workplace I can think of, where this happens. Is the sports arena. And only. If you are as special as. Michael Jordan. Or Lionel Messi.
Showing constant grief and displeasure at the workplace. Will get you stereotyped. As a defensive loser.
You will not get trust and respect. You will get further from your goal of being happy.
It’s hard. But you have to refrain from advertising your unhappiness. To get to the state of happiness. Take the temptation. To squeal. With every passerby. Out of your repertoire. Of skills.
Leave your mind light. And free from. The grip of negativity. Because. Clarity and hopefulness are essential. To suffer your setback. And to plan your escape from hell.
William James was a master philosopher. Of happiness. Keep his wisdom ready. And near you. To neutralize your mind. When it’s clouded and muddied. With self-pity and negative thoughts.
These are my favorites:
“I don’t sing because I am happy; I am happy because I sing.”
“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”
“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
And one other thing he advised. Is.”Act enthusiastic to be enthusiastic”.
Of course, the idea is not to bottle up your frustrations. Till you are purple. It is good to toss things around your partner and people you trust. It is a bad idea to run around the workplace. As the guy with a problem.
The three big actions to find love with the job you hate:
1.Defining the Monster
2.Protecting the Brand
3.Creating the Love
DEFINING THE MONSTER, EXTRACTING THE VENOM
To deal with any threat. You need to know. What is it? Where it is coming from. Objectivity is paramount.
So. Try to catch your emotion thinking. Take out the emotion. Reach to the core of the problem. Smoke out the bug. Hold back the urge. To make a decision. Until you have defined the real problem.
It would be a self- defeating exercise. If you make an emotion laden decision to quit. Even before you attempt to understand the root cause.
Make your mind up. That you are on a mission to turn things around. To quit is not a first option.
Consciously, will yourself to appreciate that you have a job. A grateful state of mind. Removes the pain of hate.
Write it down so you can see it. Brainstorm. Why should I be grateful that I have a job? Understand that. If not you, someone will be doing your job. And could even be happy with it.
Be grateful that you have a job. You want to save.
The first part is to define. “Where is your hate?” Write down the components that make up your job.
1.The daily tasks
The next steps:
1.Clearly describe “what is it that you hate about each of the components?”
2.Look at each hate and ask “why do you feel so?”
3.Then, define the ‘owner’ of the problem, “you or who?”
4.Next, “what can be done about it?”
5.The final piece is your action plan to resolve the issues causing the hate.
You are now giving yourself the opportunity. To find love in the job you hate. By managing the hate.
Assuming that there are issues. Where your answer to 4 is, “I cannot do anything about it.” Ask. “Then, who can help me overcome the issues?” And, “why would he, she, they want to help me overcome the issues?” Develop an action plan to get the help.
Sometimes. It is a matter of perspective, attitude and mindset. If you speak to the ‘highflyers’ about the negative situations. You are facing. They will view them. Differently. Try checking it out with highflyers. They will give you another view. From a success mindset.
To listen in. To your negative-self talking. Join the pity parties at the pantry. Listen to the all the gripes. Scan the language used. Look at the body language.
Will they ever feel better? Sustainably? Are they giving their job and themselves a chance?
Since giving up on a job is such a risky decision, put more effort into saving it. Of course. Unless. You have a bulletproof plan.
Talk to people from other companies and other industry. Learn if they have similar issues. Seek out BKM (Best Known Method). To overcoming them.
Form an informal support group to work out the issues. Understand the core issue. Do you have to change job? Or change your thinking?
PROTECTING THE BRAND, SUSTAINING YOUR VALUE
Your relationship to your company is a business transaction. Unless there are family ties.
Even then. It is eventually P&L based. You’ll have to return at least. A sustainable, perceived value to the organization.
Your value will be measured by ‘focals’ or performance reviews. The assessment which will be largely influenced. By your immediate boss. And, perhaps, a 360 feedback from your customers and colleagues.
In essence, you have to be good. And be of good value. To them. In order to protect. Your performance. Sustainably.
You must be a valuable brand. To those who matter. It is harder. When you are not happy.
You have to manage your brand. By managing. Your mindset.
A lot of self- talk changing may be needed. To sustain a positive mindset.
You have to embrace the attitude of gratitude. Revisit your blessings, accomplishments and goals. When you are in experiencing FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).
Set small goals that challenge you. Recognize yourself every time you accomplish a goal. A better meal or a meal at a better place.
Write down the good things you have done and the good things that people have done for you. Give thanks.
Make your mind up that you are a worthy professional. Dress the part. Talk the part. Behave the part. Do the part.
Be mindful of non-verbal communications. Your body language. You have to create the visual of you as a performing employee.
If you need a script to follow, write that script. Describe the You. As an ideal employee.
Understand that. To get to the opportunity of finding love. In your job. You have to. Have a job.
Like healing all difficult relationships. You have to do it, inside out. Unless you are settled to give it a chance inside, you cannot move forward outside.
Done with the mush. What about your tangible contributions? How do you continue to churn out products? That are appreciated? In a sustainable mode?
Look at the stuff you are doing. Can you make it simpler? Easier? Can you break down a long chain of things? Into small, manageable parts?
If you get bored after 15 minutes of number crunching, can you do five minute breaks? Get distracted. With something you like?
Break down a difficult assignment. Do the tough tasks early in the day. Do the easy ones later. When you are not so perky.
Do you have the habit of over committing? Which means that you are likely to under deliver. Be mindful. When you are anxious. Feeling lack of confidence, you tend to do that. Overcommit.
Either that. Or you make a mess of yourself. By being non-committal. Even to basic expectations.
Do you have a disagreeable boss? Document everything. Your performance. Your agreements. Your disagreements. Other transactions.
Make sure you are not seen as a threat. To your boss’s success. Better. Be seen as a contributor to his success.
Have regular one-on-one meetings. Be bold enough to ask for recognition. Of your contributions.
Document the actions agreed for the gap closures. Update regularly. Make your successes public. Do not forget to include your boss. In the recognition. Of your success.
In summary. Make sure you are set up for success. Do not over commit. Or under deliver. Be proactive with your boss. Support his success.
Negotiate on expectations; make it win-win. Focus on the benefits of your proposals. What overwhelming benefit can you offer for the trade off?
Be prepared for meetings. Remove uncertainties by anticipating questions. Get the answers ready. Align ‘offline.’ With the influencers.
Documentation is king. In good and bad situations. Ask for data and documentation.
Make your success public. Make sure it is win-win for your team. And your boss.
Once you have solidified your brand as a valued contributor. You will feel good. From feeling good, we will move forward to building the love for your job. To suffer the hate.
CREATING THE LOVE, TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SUCCESS
You have put in the massive effort to be a contributing employee. You have set the platform where you can start ‘feeling the love for your job and from your job.’
Just for the sake of alignment, what is love? There are probably as many definitions. As there are people trying to define it. At the end of the argument, you would probably agree. Love is positive. Love keeps you charged up. Wanting more.
How does love with your job look like?
1.There is a strong commitment from you to make it work. You have to be the driver of the relationship. You have to put in more than you expect to get out of it.
Love always starts with the mindset of commitment to the other before reaching the commitment for each other.
Even if you are in a difficult situation. It has to start with your commitment. To make working work for you.
What sustains our commitment? To our job?
I think it was Mary Kay who said that there are two things people want more than sex and money and they are; recognition and praise.
Let’s admit it. We crave for attention. We crave for recognition at work. That is an important expression of the company’s commitment. To us. To keep us. Performing.
That is them. Keeping their part of the bargain when we perform. However. There are two problems. With our expectations.
a) When we think of recognition, we think of material rewards, money and promotion.
When think meaningful recognition. We think of a promotion. A raise. Or some kind of material reward.
Let’s get the money part out of the way. Researches have shown that money will not sustain your happiness. Over the longer term.
Unfortunately. Money is the common way. You keep score of your value. To the team or the organization. However, do not expect a bottomless refill.
In most organizations, there is a salary scale or range. The salary scale or range is usually relative to the practice of the industrial community. Your compensation is aligned to the benchmarks.
And there is a cap.
Accept what is current. Seek to meet requirements for the next level. The focus of working. Towards a promotion. Should be the opportunity to do more. At a higher level for the company. The money will follow.
Look at what is required for the next level. Get yourself ready through training and development. Importantly. Act as if you are at the next level. Position your act, not act your position.
b) We expect to be recognized based on our perception of performance expectations
Before the next performance period, have alignment meetings with HR. And then your boss. To discuss and document the expectations.
Make sure that the expectations are defined. As actionable tasks. Ask “how would I know that I am on the right track, what are the indicators that you use to measure my readiness?”
Make sure you have a plan. To move towards the expectations. Take the initiative to update your boss and your HR partner. Of your progress.
Do not assume that if you miss on any recognition, it is a slight. Seek to understand first. With all the guidelines and then with the people who are accountable to. Your boss and your HR partner. We always think that. Because. We have been there for a long time, we know the rules.
If an error has been made, acknowledge it. Move on with a plan. Ensure the lapse will not be repeated.
Create opportunities to demonstrate leadership. And commitment. To the organization. Especially out of an adversity.
Always demonstrate your commitment when the opportunity arises.
The great Abraham Lincoln said it well:
“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
2.Caring for the other. Again it starts from you. To win the respect and response.
Caring is not just doing your job the best you can. Caring means doing more than your what’s in your JD (Job Description).
It means looking at where you can make a positive impact with your skills and knowledge. Where can you. Contribute. Beyond your scope?
Mentor or coach a junior. It’s a win-win opportunity. The junior will benefit from your coaching. You will benefit in countless ways. It will add to your qualifications. Also. The more you teach, the more you learn.
Show that you care. You will get noticed at the highest level. Soon, you will get a positive response. You’ve heard this. “People don’t care of how much you know until they know how much you care.” Caring is always part of a lasting love story.
3.Build a community where you can thrive. The group of people who sustained me during my most difficult time at work. Were members of our ‘three thirty’ club.
It was an informal community, a few of us built. We meet at 3.30pm each working day. At the pantry. Where we shared our passions. Whether it was Barclays Premier League, photography or hiking.
More than that, we bonded so strongly. We were ready- made members for our work committees. I was never starved of membership for my events.
And, they would get my support too. Whether it was to clean a school library or painting up an orphanage.
Create fun. Google for jokes and share them the next day. People enjoy comic breaks. They will remember you for the laughs.
An important action you can take. To sustain you in the hard times. To build love into your work. Is to build your own supportive community.
You will be energized by the camaraderie .You will build your confidence. With confidence, you will have the power to break through barriers to reach the love you seek.
When you display commitment. To your organization’s aspirations. When you show care, by going the extra mile. To provide solutions beyond your scope. And, when you are seen to be an upbeat, positive employee. Having fun and lots of influence at your level. You are strengthening your brand. Galvanizing your credibility.
Stretching your potential. You’ll enjoy a new sense of fulfillment. Be motivated by the appreciation of your value. Enjoy. The display of love. Garnered. Through your engagements and contributions.
Focus on building love. You would have a better chance. Of being happy. Where you are.
There is no point hating your job. You were hired to provide for solutions. In your area. Of expertise.
You know how to work. The problem through. If you think. It is too big. Cut the elephant into manageable parts.
If it comforts you. Get an exit plan developed too. File it where you can find it.
Start focusing on your well -structured plan to build love into your work. You may never need to go to your exit plan. At all.
Are you having a tough time with your job? What are you doing to make it better? For you.