A recent study found that 75% of the workforce considers themselves "job seekers," which suggests that a whopping three-quarters of us experience some degree of dread going to work every day.
"Job dread" can sometimes feel like a huge burden.
What if I don't find another job? What if I'm stuck in this one forever? I should just be grateful that i have a job! What's wrong with me? Can I quit? I can't quit. I'm not supposed to hate my job!
For those of us who actively seek out positivity and serenity in our lives, these thoughts seem extra threatening because they feel so out of character. They harken back to people we "used to be," ways of being that we've intentionally improved.
For those seeking a one-way ticket out of the 75% (or at least a life preserver until the next great opportunity arrives), I offer these suggestions:
1. View your situation objectively.
A useful self-help technique involves imagining yourself as your own best friend. If you were in the shoes of your BFF, how would you see yourself and what advice would you give? When in a negative thought pattern, you'll probably find that this view involves far more compassion and positivity than the view you've adopted of yourself. Be your own best friend.
2. How did it feel when this job was a "dream?"
For those of us fortunate enough to have earned a job in a desired field--even if that desire is past tense--try to remember what it felt like when your current job was all you ever wanted. What did you find so wonderful about it? What ambitions were a part of that "dream?" Getting back in touch with your idealism may reignite some of your vocational fire and extinguish some burn-out.
Be content. Even if you're sending out so many resumes that your MacBook is begging for mercy, there is no rule that orders you to mentally resist your current situation. If your mind chases itself with negative thoughts about your job situation, you're probably in desperate need of some surrender. It might be useful to think of surrender as neutrality: You neither love nor hate your job; It's in your present, so you will do your best.
4. There is no "should."
Forget the Negative Nancy Neuroses who tell you how you're supposed to be, what others think you ought to be and all the things you're expected to achieve. You have absolutely no way of knowing how you'll react to a situation until you experience it. Save your energy. Concern yourself with what is, not with shoulds.
5. Separate what you do from how you do it.
When bureaucracy is what plagues your work life, try to separate what you do from how you are prescribed to do it. If you can channel your mind to focus more on the greater purpose of your work, the "how you do it" gets to fade in the background.