Do you hate your job? Not just “I can’t wait for this meeting to be over, I guess I’ll just doodle in my notebook for another 15 minutes” bored, but feeling 100% stuck in a meaningless gig? Like wedged against the wall at the dinette table with your overly involved mother in law AND her sister…. trapped ?
Does your job makes you feel that if Karen in accounting so much as looks at you in the breakroom you’re gonna put a fork in the microwave on ‘high’ for 2 minutes?
Let’s be honest. Shitty jobs are comfortable. We know what to expect. The surprises are few. Especially when it comes to careers, people fear the unknown to the point of setting up housekeeping in their miserable gigs.
Hey, you might be miserable, but you know exactly what that misery entails. However, humans are curious by nature - our brains crave novelty. Your job might not actually be THE WORST. You might just need to do a few things differently.
So, how do you show up, do the work and get paid without sticking a pencil in your cubicle-mate’s eye? Here are a few suggestions:
1- Find inspiration elsewhere. Can’t imagine how making the logo bigger for the umpteenth time is helpful to anyone? Go flip through a magazine or watch crazy Japanese commercials on YouTube. Check out the new coffee shop down the block that is pure white tile. Looking at new things can make you see old things in a new light.
2- Write it out. If you weren’t stuck on this particular hamster wheel, what would you do with your days? What job would you be thriving at? What new challenges would you take on?
Write down your answers - sometimes seeing things out on the page makes them more “real.” Can you make anything on your list more real right now?
3- Try looking at a single project from a new vantage point. What is the outcome of your project? How will it be used and by whom? How can you make it most useful for them? Stepping out of yourself and finding some empathy for the end user may at least give you a reason to complete the task without screaming silently.
4- Switch up the scenery. Take a walk, find a new conference room to hide in, ride your bike at lunch, take the elevator to the 32nd floor. Just do it without any purpose but clearing your head and calming your mind for 20 minutes or so.
5 - So bored you’re angry? Do something that guarantees you a laugh. Does Gary in production do an amazing duck impression? Ask him for a command performance. Got a video on your phone of your little niece in conversation with the family ficus? Watch it on repeat. Unless you’re an evil villain, you can’t laugh and be angry at the same time.
7- Think back. Stop thinking of it as ‘just a job’ but remember why you were excited to be there in the first place. What made you say ‘yes’ to the job offer?
8- Use that job to reach your career goals. Will your company pay for classes, train you up, let you take on different tasks? Tackle new skills, responsibilities and projects that will be transferable to the next job.
9- Build out your career plan. So, what IS the next job? Use this job for all it’s worth to get you there.
10- Plan a vacation. The data proves it: the more vacation you take, the more you destress from your job, the better you are at your job and the more productive you are for your employer. Meaning? Win, win, win. For everyone involved. Nodding your head but your bank account in screaming NOT NOW!!!? Even just planning a vacation (whether you actually take it or not) still makes you better at your job! Freaky awesome right?
Look, no job is ever the perfect job. You’ll probably always need one or two of these tucked under your belt but you spend 30% of your life at work - make it meaningful.
Need help figuring out how to do that? Check out some of my free resources right here.
Yours in career goodness-