You hate your job. I mean you absolutely detest it. The thought of another day at work makes you want to throw up. All week long at work you think about the weekend. All weekend long you can’t stop thinking about having to back to work on Monday.
You want to leave and find another job but you’re afraid to give up the steady paycheck, trading in what you know for something unknown. So, you suck it up, put your head down and trudge back to work, the place you hate, and you are miserable. I know, I’ve been there.
Surprisingly, the majority of the workforce feels this way, according to a 2014 Gallup survey which found 68.5% of those surveyed are either ‘not engaged’ or are ‘actively disengaged’ from work. Workplace engagement is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption, the exact opposite of workplace burnout.
Workplace burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment. Job burnout rates are highest where employee turnover is highest. If you hate your job it is highly likely you are either unsuited for the work you do or you’re burned out. A workplace environment which has become toxic is the usual culprit 90% of the time.
The are six major mismatches between the job and the employee which actually cause job burnout. They have been well documented. They are Work Overload, Lack of Control, Insufficient Reward, Breakdown of Community Absence of Fairness, and Conflicting Values. Either singly or combined, these mismatches will burnout employees if they are of sufficient intensity.
The major obstacle preventing employees from leaving a job they despise and seeking other more enjoyable work or better working conditions is fear — fear of not being able to find work in a tight job market, fear of losing benefits, fear of jumping into worse working conditions, fear of losing seniority, fear of starting over, or just plain fear of the unknown.
Life is too short to be miserable for more than half of it while working. The fears which hold you hostage at a job you hate can be surmounted with a plan of action which includes the following steps.
1.) Make sure of your calling. Are suited for the work you are doing, even if you feel your education or degree dictates it? If you aren’t suited for the work or career you have chosen, switching job locations won’t work.
I’m a family physician and I can tell you approximately 10% of practicing physicians should have never gone into medicine. They hate what they do and they always will, and it shows.
If you are not suited for what you do, for happiness sake, find what you LOVE to do instead.
2.) Do your homework. When looking for a new job, do more than just scope out potential new workplaces and what salary or benefits they might offer. Talk to present employees and find out if they are happy where they work, what they like about their company.
Ask a lot of questions. Is their a sense of community and an air of cooperation among the employees you’re surveying? What complaints do they have? Is turnover low? How old is the company? Are they growing?
3.) Have plan B firmly in place. Once you make the decision to bail form your current job, do not do so until you have secured other employment or income. It might be time for needed change but it isn’t time to be foolhardy if you have a family to support and obligations to meet.
4.) Be relentless. In your pursuit of the job your desire you must do more than the minimum of dropping off applications for new hires. A coherent, broad based job search strategy and a modicum of patience will get you what you want.
To help you go all in on this, read and execute the strategies taught by Dan Miller in his bestseller 48Days to the Work You Love. It will get you top-of-list positioning in any company where you are seeking employment.
5.) Become entrepreneurial. Thousands of new products and services are being created everyday by newfound entrepreneurs who burned out at traditional jobs and decided to create their own. This, of course, makes you squarely responsible for your own destiny.
Before relying solely on your income as an entrepreneur, make sure you have one. Remember, an entrepreneurial pursuit which doesn’t generate income is just a hobby.
Take the time to build a solid side business which generates income before penning a resignation letter to your current employer. A functioning entrepreneurial business generating income will give you the confidence to resign from your regular job when the time is right.
6.) Make change happen. If you feel you can’t go on day after day where you are, don’t just complain about it. Don’t stay and attempt to tolerate the intolerable. There is nothing noble in that. You will never enjoy a life of purpose and passion if you are burned out. Make a clear plan to exit and execute.
If for some reason you really want to stay where you are, perhaps because of loyalty to your company or to the people you work for/with, then see if you can become the agent of change in your workplace. Try to discover which job-employee mismatches are in play and do what you can to help your company recognize them and eliminate them.
There are consulting services available, like mine, which can help. For business owners, identifying, mitigating, alleviating and preventing job related burnout is not only cost effective, it is income generating.