Gallup reports that only about a third of us love our job. That means that over 66% don’t! In a nutshell – if you dislike your job you’re not alone.
We've all enviously observed co-workers or friends we believe are in the "third". Like studying chimpanzees in the wild, we take note of odd behavior. The way they smile as they come into an early Monday morning meeting, the way they calmly handle stress; the way they seem to get recognized for even the smallest of accomplishments.
We then begin to compare ourselves to them. Why am I not as happy as they are? Or we try and justify their happiness. Perhaps they’ve been given special treatment. Or maybe they just got lucky?
The reality is that “they” have chosen to see the world through a different lens - and you can to.
It’s all about reframing your current work situation to understand what your current job can do for you instead of what it’s not doing.
The following technique changed my whole perspective on the job I disliked the most. In the end, it turned a job that seemed miserable and stressful into the best opportunity of my career.
The first step is to set a secret career goal.
This is going to be something you don’t share with your boss or co-workers - unless of course you really trust them and need their support. Think beyond your current job and about what type of career success you really want.
In order to do this you first have to get clear about what your larger career goal is. I’m not referring to some kind of 10 year plan, but rather clarity on your next big step.
Do you want a management role? Change career paths altogether? Work for yourself? Work for a specific industry or brand?
Once you’re clear on what you’re striving for, the next step is figure out what you need to do or achieve to get yourself closer to that goal.
For example, when I decided I wanted to start my own company, I knew I needed at least 6 months expenses in the bank since I’d heard from other entrepreneurs that cash flow was the reason they failed in their first year. I also knew that I needed to build up my LinkedIn network with professionals I could sell to on day one.
Now, take a look at your current job and ask yourself what this job might provide to you that aligns with your larger goal.
Does this job:
- Give me the experience that will make me more attractive to the company I really want to work for?
- Give me access to resources that can help start my own company down the line?
- Offer benefits that meet some immediate goals like health or building up your savings account?
- Help build my professional network?
- Build up my credibility or resume?
- Give me an opportunity to learn new skills that I might be able to user later?
- Give me an opportunity to take some risks that will help me figure out if I want to do something differently?
If you determine that your current job doesn’t align with anything to support your larger vision, then it may indeed be time to find another opportunity. Chances are if you don’t like it now, you may never be happy with it.
However, if you are able to reframe what this job can actually do for you, then you can approach each day through a new lens. Instead of focusing on what you dislike about the job you can fall in love with how it moves you closer to your larger goal.