Each day, most of us spend about 16 hours or so awake. Some more, some less.
Typically, eight to 10 of those hours are spent either actually at work or thinking about our jobs, loving the job, putting up with the job or hating it. Sometimes it depends on the time of the day.
If you dread going to work, that’s a surefire formula for an unhappy life that adversely impacts your health, your relationships, how you raise your kids and on and on.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Oh, you mean that’s already happening?
You must be like the fellow I know who was telling me about his unhappy life after one of our early morning racquetball matches. As we headed to the locker room, he casually said to no one in particular, “Is it Friday yet?”
Trouble was, it was only Monday.
When we pointed that out, he said, “Don’t tell me that. That’s the last thing I want to hear. I hate my job.”
Among the group, there’s plenty of loose talk and kidding around. But hearing such a clearly serious remark caught us off-guard.
After an awkward pause, I couldn’t help myself. “Well, if that’s the case, are you doing anything about it? Like look for another job?”
“Nah, I haven’t done that,” he replied, by now somewhat chagrined. “I know I should do something.”
Turns out, he handles mortgage loans for a real estate company and does well. Good for him. A healthy paycheck goes a long way to salve most “woe is me” blues, but often only masks the dislike of the actual job.
If you’re feeling the same way as my friend, now might be an opportune time to ask yourself if you really want to spend the rest of your life doing something that you hate. Believe me, if you can’t stand your job now, a year from now you’ll be even more disappointed in yourself for not doing something about it.
But what to do?
First, unless you can afford to quit, don’t quit. It’s much easier to get a job when you already have one. Besides, if you quit outright, you won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits. How’s that piggy bank?
Second, avoid blabbing how you feel about your job when you’re at that job. And do yourself a favor: Refrain from telling co-workers how awful your job is. (If you can’t help it, be sure to complain the right way.)
Another reason to lay low: Whining about your job simply isn’t a “good look.” It makes you look and sound like a complainer and nobody likes a chronic complainer. Keep it to yourself.
Third, think about how your unhappiness might be related to the quality of your work. Perhaps if you performed at a higher level with a more positive attitude, you might feel differently, and your boss might feel differently about you.
Who knows, such a change might lead to a better fit somewhere else in the company. But your negative behavior has the opposite effect.
Fourth, slow down and take a few deep breaths.
ou don’t hate everything about your job
Not every day at work is awful, right? You don’t hate everything. Besides, you’re good at what you do, an expert. You’ve spent years getting to this point. Maybe it’s not all that bad and you just need to work on your attitude.
Or maybe you have every reason to loathe Mondays, which provides that added motivation to do something, anything, like changing to a new boss or asking to be reassigned to another role.
If that’s not an option, look elsewhere.
In today’s economy, with many well-paying jobs going begging, now could be an ideal time to get that search underway. And by the way, do yourself a favor and shed any guilt or shame you have about wanting to leave. Happens all the time.
In the case of my buddy, blurting out his discontent was a sign to himself that the time had come to take charge of his life.
He’s out there interviewing right now. Maybe you should be, too?
Phil Blair is co-founder of Manpower San Diego and author of “Job Won.”