Do you have anxiety when you walk into work? Are you reading all the career books and blogs on career development, but find yourself stunted and frustrated in the job you're in?
You may even find that you not only complain of hating your actual job description and boss, but also the commute to the kind of coffee they serve. In other words, it's easy for the negativity to spiral and become a vicious cycle.
But have no fear: learning to love the job you hate currently may move you closer to finding work that you love later in your journey.
Now you're probably thinking, HUH?! How does anyone love a job they dislike?
Well, unsurprisingly, it's a matter of perspective. It’s thinking about your job differently and valuing the parts of your job you can tolerate. Instead of focusing on why the job isn’t a good fit or why you’re not fulfilled, try these seven methods getting the most out of your work.
1. Focus on the parts of the job you enjoy (there's probably at least one).
You may dislike the good portion of your day at work, but there are inevitably aspects that you truly enjoy, even if it's a relationship you have with a particular co-worker, or the neighborhood where your office is based.
So try to reduce the number of tasks at work that don’t bring you joy and focus on those handful of tasks that do. When you allow yourself to spend the day in a more positive mindset, it becomes easier to play to your strengths and your passions. From that point, the positive vibes (just like the negativity) builds on itself.
2. Learn new skills where you can.
What skills will help you do your job better? What skills do you enjoy doing or want to get better? And finally, what skills will help you land a sweeter job?
As most people know, a huge aspect of landing a job is experience — the skills you have. So be pragmatic, as long as you're stuck in this specific work environment. Spend more time developing your skills on the job. Learn from colleagues and others in the industry.
3. Get more training.
Reach out to people at your job who do things you admire, even if it's slightly out of the scope of your description. That way, you cannot only get better at your job and improve your skills, but you can also find out about alternative opportunities at work. Training in this way may introduce you to a line of work you had never thought about.
Plus, in general, you can’t go wrong with having more training under your belt — the more you know, the more valuable you are to this employer and any future employer.
4. Get to know the people around you.
Your greatest source of contacts is the people who are in sitting right where you are in your office.
If you get to know the people you work with, you’ll have lifelong contacts to rely on for "networking" purposes, which definitely beats going to countless after work meet-and-greet events.
So the bottom line? Get to know your office colleagues better. Go out with one for coffee or lunch. Find out how they ended up here and what’s next for them. The power of connection is real!
5. Tap into the gratitude that you do feel (it's in there somewhere).
It sounds lame but you’ve got a job, a steady paycheck and a future. That’s something to be thankful about. You are also ideally learning and improving your skills on the job.
So think more and be creative: what else are you grateful for at work? Did you land a new position? Get more responsibility or a bigger paycheck? Take a minute to be thankful for something at work or for even having the job you have right now.
6. Clarify what's resonating ... and what's not.
If you’re in a job you’re not enjoying, use the experience to figure out which parts of the job you’re not feeling.
Get crystal clear on which aspects of the job you love and which aspects of the job you never want to do again. Then as you start looking for your next job, be sure to stay away from those things that you can’t stand.
The clearer you are about your likes and dislikes, the easier time you’ll have landing a fulfilling job next time. No need to make the same mistakes twice!
7. Look for (small) ways to make a difference.
Focusing on negativity gives you tunnel vision, while optimism causes us to expand our perspective. But it can work in the reverse order: expanding your perspective by focusing on opportunities, rather than complaints, can help change your attitude.
Look for opportunities to add value to your company. It may not be in your job description but what can you improve in your workplace? What systems are missing? What procedures could be updated? What additional services could your firm offer?
Continue to look for ways to improve your office or the customers they serve. By continuing to generate ideas and improve your workplace, you’re going to stand out in the eyes of your supervisors. And more importantly, you are going to learn to be more present and focused on personal and career growth.