What to do when you hate your job

The shackles tighten around your ankles, cutting beneath the skin. Your wrists weigh heavy in the cast iron manacles.

 

The perpetual rattle of the chains annoys you as you try to wake up, the welts in your back sting as you cower from your masters’ whip heading back from…

the coffee machine.

 

Sorry, what?

 

This is what you feel like.  When you think about your job as a master / slave relationship. This is the picture you have painted. OK, you hate your job, but …

It’s a bit ridiculous isn’t it?

If, you think about it.

Master & Slave? A little over dramatic, perhaps?

But let’s face it, those pictures match your feelings. Those feelings of being a slave to your job

What if I told you that you can remove this whole feeling just by changing how you look at it?

 

Are you sick and tired of “working for the man”?

Fed up of being a slave in your job?

Coming in to work, day after day after day after day…

Doing a job you hate and working your butt off for a company that doesn’t care about you?

hate your job- - managers lying

 

 

Is it possible that you’ve fallen into the trap of believing the lie?

The lie?

The lie that you don’t have a choice.

Being a victim in these situations is a choice. It is a state of mind.

How long you are going to put up with it is the only question?

 

Do you want to feel like there is a purpose to why you go to work every day other than because you need the cash?

Do you want to feel that there is an end game?

Would you be interested in learning a technique to give you this purpose? If so, read on.

 

Reframing

Reframing is a technique used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The first principle of reframing is that no situation or event is horrible in and of itself. It has no inherent meaning. What makes it horrible is the story you give it. This isn’t always easy and may take some time to get your head around.

 

The second principle is that we “frame” what happens to us in the light of the beliefs we hold about the situation (or the story we tell ourselves). So when we go to work feeling like a slave our beliefs are that we have no choice, that we are being forced to do this.

 

So we feel helpless and everything feels like having your fingernails pulled off with pliers. So a reframe will look to change that belief.

 

Tim Brownson explains Reframing as “the act of taking a situation, event, interaction etc you feel negatively about and changing how you view, and thus, feel about it”.

 

All of this is reframing in its simplest form. There is more to it that I will go into in a later post, but if you’d like to get into it deeper now you can read Tim’s post here.

 

How I used Reframing when I hated my job

I actually used reframing before I even knew what reframing was. And many people do on a day-to-day basis.

 

So what did I do?

I became my own boss overnight.

I didn’t leave.

I was still being paid by the same company

I still had a contract with them

I was still doing the same work.

And I had clients and customers the next morning.

But, how?

 

I turned myself into a business (in my head)

It was early on in my career and I was struggling with my motivation. I hated the idea of working for someone else. I then had an epiphany.

 

I realised that I don’t actually work for anyone else and I never did. I work for me. “I” am “my” business. And my employer was just someone I had a business contract with. Not my master at all.

 

This completely transformed my career. Practically overnight I went from just another employee sitting at a desk to someone that was actually interested in what was going on around me. I participated more and I found myself working longer hours because I was enjoying my work.

 

I worked on becoming a business other businesses (employers) would want to form contracts with. My colleagues and my bosses became my clients and customers that I served. By serving everyone else in the best way I could I found that I was actually serving me.

 

If you were a business, what other things would you need to consider?

 

What is the aim of your business?

What is the mission of your business? Who do you serve? What is your goal? What do you get from your business?

 

For me, my aim was to provide the best service my ‘business’ could offer. That meant my mission was to work on developing me. This shift was massive. Working on me for me did not feel like working for someone else. They were just my client.

 

What are you selling? What is your product?

You are selling your service, your labour. That is what you have that your company wants. They want it so much that they are prepared to pay you for it. You agreed a price for that service when you started.

 

If you want to change that, then something needs to change. The best place to start is you. Make your service more valuable if you want to be paid more for it.

 

As I was the product or service, this outlook really is what started my interest in self-development and further education. The great thing about this mindset is that everything you put into it you get to keep! It doesn’t go if the job does. As Jim Rohn said, ‘Work harder on yourself than you do on your job

 

Upgrade you product / service

If you were a business you would need to be upgrading your products regularly. Take Apple and Samsung for example as two of the most high profile companies around today. Their releases are never very far apart. This means they are constantly innovating and looking to improve on their offering.

 

In the business of you, what skills do you need to develop?

What qualifications do you need to get? What else do you need to learn?

What in-house training does your company offer? Find out and apply for them.

What courses or qualifications do they provide? Put yourself forward.

 

Take action. Do something to make change. But do not wait for someone to come to you.  They won’t arrive.

 

How often do you need to upgrade?

Constantly. If you want to avoid getting stuck again don’t stand still because standing skill is going backwards.

 

Upgrading for you can be reading books, getting qualifications, taking online courses and even networking to improve your knowledge and skills. Even if you have no lofty ambitions of reaching the upper echelons of management things are still changing. You still need to be stimulating yourself or you risk slipping back into the shackles.

 

I found that continuous learning made my job more enjoyable. I had new knowledge to apply, different approaches to try out, and new challenges to overcome. All of this changed how I viewed my work and why I was doing it.

How do you do your market research? What feedback are you getting?career direction - feedback compass

Companies do market research to see how people are reacting to their products and services. How do you get your feedback?

 

Use 360 degree reviews. Ask your colleagues how they perceive you in the workplace and if there is anything they think you could improve on.

 

Ask your boss for feedback on how you are getting on. Trust me – bosses like being asked this question because it shows a hunger to learn and improve, it shows initiative and most of all it shows courage.

 

It also gives them the opportunity to give you solid feedback that they might not have gotten around to because of their own time management or fears (yes, because everyone at every level is learning). For you this feedback is gold. Take it and use it. Why do companies spend millions on market research?

 

What is your marketing strategy (Who knows you exist?)

Who knows your name? How do you network? Are you known as a positive person that people feel good to be around, that they come to for help, or are you company for misery. You know, the whiny miserable chap in the corner that grumbles at everyone? How is that working for you?

 

I attended every in-house training program I could. A side benefit of this was that I connected more with people outside my department. I volunteered to work on projects that broadened my skills base but also connected me with others, including people outside of my location.

 

I have worked with too many people that insist on only working on the job they are paid for and will only do extracurricular if there is some kind of payment. This approach only holds you back!

 

Remember, ‘you’ are your brand

A brand with a crappy reputation doesn’t get a lot of traction. What you do, how you do it, the image you put forward – that is what comes back to you. This is strongly linked to how you market yourself. You need to be clear on what you want to be known for and then deliver on it every time.

 

Is it your customer service, your problem-solving, your attention to detail, your strategic thinking, or your negotiation skills? Leverage your strengths.

 

Why would you bother doing all of this?

Because you are stuck

Because something needs to change

Because there is no one coming to save you

Because there is no magic pill that makes it all change

 

If you hate it now, and nothing changes, it is only going to get monumentally worse. I have worked with people that refused to change and watched them get more bitter every year blaming the job, their boss, the government, the postman, the cleaner, anyone but themselves,  for all their woes.

 

But when asked if they would work on a project or take an opportunity to better their skills they would just say, ‘How much?’ So instead of thinking like a business and investing in themselves to improve their service, their service stayed the same. As did their paycheck and their opportunities. Don’t let that be you.

 

Be Smart and Stop Being a Slave

career improvement - no excuses

Making a decision to be the best you that you can be is smart because you will feel happier and like yourself more. Because let’s face it, you’re most likely going to be working for the next 20-30 years.

 

Doing this sets you up for a better future and in the short-term it takes away the misery. It takes away that belief that you are a slave.

 

It makes you again the master of your own destiny. It puts you in the best position for getting out if you still want to.

 

YOU are your business

When it comes to your work, YOU are your business. Run it as such. Own it. Take care of it. Be proud of it. Grow it. Aim to be the best you can in spite of the circumstances.

 

Nothing changes at the start except the way that you look at it

When you go back to work and use this technique, nothing outside of your mindset changes. But everything looks different. And that makes everything feel different. Suddenly, instead of being stuck in a master / slave relationship and hating your job, you have the opportunity to be your own boss. And who knows where that might take you.

 

Please do share your feelings and thoughts on this in the comments below. What is the biggest thing you hate about your job? What are you struggling to change?


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Showing 6 comments
  • Vishnu
    Reply

    Great to see you back at it Keith (with the blogging) and awesome new site. Wishing you much success on your coaching journey and business.

    When I was in a job/career, I hated, I basically thought about the skills I was acquiring for work that I would do in the future. Today, almost every single skill I’ve used in my past career comes in handy for the work I do now. So, as you point out in this post, you may not be able to immediately love the situation you’re in but you can flip things around in your mind to help you get the most benefits out of it. Thinking of ourselves as a business is a great reframe to encourage self-improvement, branding and marketing ourselves. Who knows – marketing ourselves could be the key to getting out of that job?!

    • Keith Clarke
      Reply

      Hey, Vishnu.

      And again, this time, you are the very very first person to comment! Great to see you, my friend 🙂

      You’re exactly right. So many skills we have are transferable, but it can be difficult when we are in the depths of hating the job to see that.

      Thanks for dropping by, Vishnu

  • Meredith Hooke
    Reply

    Hi Keith! Loved this post. You are dead on about the stories we tell ourselves and so often we chose the negative story line – which is a lie! I really enjoy and get a lot out of your posts – thank you!

    • Keith Clarke
      Reply

      Thanks, Meredith!

      It’s unbelievably powerful. Some people struggle with it though and feel that it is being fake to reframe things, instead of realising that we really can change our life experience for the better. It can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it.

  • Sandra
    Reply

    Hi Keith

    I recognised myself and previous colleagues in a lot of your points.

    In my previous life I was a midwife, and for many years loved with a passion what I did, either clinical, managerial or education. However, 20 years + of trying to change the system, by becoming ‘one of them’ (you know, the managers that people ‘blame’ for everything), it felt like I was going round in circles. I’d took the opportunities for learning whenever they arose, and rose to the higher echelons of the profession in UK. Working 50+ hours a week as a project lead took its toll. I then moved to NZ and reignited my passion. Eventually though, similar challenges reinvented themselves and I became disillusioned. I recognised it was time to get out before it destroyed my love of midwifery, and I saw myself becoming the grouchy old midwife I’d despised in my early days! What I did was formulate a strategy to change to self-employment, so I no longer was accountable to an organisation I had little control over. In the meantime, I told myself every day that I’d have a ‘good day’ whatever happened. Just going in with that mind-set was transformational, and got me out of the dread I’d been feeling.

    So yes, our mind-set can alter the way we see our work – but I believe there comes a point when we need to recognise it’s time to do something different. It’s scary but extremely liberating!

    • Keith Clarke
      Reply

      You are absolutely right, Sandra. This isn’t about denying an unfavourable situation. Sometimes the job IS a bad job. But until we actually give it everything how do we really know? And if we do realise that maybe it is time to move on, reframing can make it more bearable and add that spring to our step whilst we figure out our next step.

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