Those are the exact same words that I used to repeat over and over for years. My wife was tired of hearing them. I would sit on the couch and just complain about how I hated my job and the whole nine to five rat race. If you feel the same, don’t lose hope because it can get better : I am totally happy with my career today.
However, at the time I thought that its was a problem without a solution, and that I was doomed to hate my job until retirement. It took a lot of frustration, trial and error, introspection, and career moves to figure it out. I had to find a solution on my own, because everyone around me hated their job as well. That’s why I want to share my experience with you, so that you don’t have to go through this alone as well.
In this post I’m going to explain in details the steps that I took, as well as what worked and what didn’t. By the end you will know everything that is needed to change your situation and start enjoying your job.
What do you hate about your job?
That sounds too simple right? I guarantee that it isn’t and that it’s probably the hardest question to answer. There are many people that are all hating their job for very different reasons. This is a question that I answered on Quora :
I’m 27, and tired of going to work every day. Sixty-five seems so far away. What can I do to get through it all, when I don’t really have any dream to aspire toward?
There are over 100 people who answered that question. Guess what? They all gave very different answers based on what they hated about their work. Here are some reasons that were given :
- Don’t want to support myself. Instead I want to find a partner with money.
- Life has no purpose, just suck it up.
- Let’s enjoys the small things, some people don’t have that chance.
- Live frugaly, save agressively.
- Make a plan to retire in 10 or 20 years.
- Start a business.
- Change job, find something you love.
- Find a mentor, or life coach, find purpose in life.
There are are so many reasons for why people hate their job, but I don’t really care about that. What I care about is : Why do you hate your job? Answer the question as simply as possible. Here are some possible reasons :
- I hate my boss.
- The pay is too low.
- I hate being told what to do.
- My job is too demanding physically or mentally.
- I’m working too many hours.
In my previous situation I had identified, after years, that my pay was too low, that I hated being told what to do, and that my job was too demanding mentally. Do the same exercice for yourself and write down the reasons. Now that they are clearly identified, let’s turn them into requirements.
Define your requirements
A requirement is a thing that is needed or wanted for you to be happy at work. Before you do something drastic like quit your job or start a business, be sure that you’ve clearly defined your requirements.
Guess what will happen if you change job? That’s right, you will end up hating your new job as well after a few months. I know, because I’ve done it. Here’s how to turn the reasons your hate your job into requirements :
|I’m not getting paid enough||The minimum salary that I want is $60,000 per year.|
|I hate being told what to do||I want the freedom to do my own thing. I want to use my creativity and be trusted to come up with my own solutions to problems.|
|My job is too demanding mentally||I want the freedom to take a break whenever I need it. I don’t want continuous tight deadlines. I want to take days off whenever I need them.|
List your reasons for hating your job and turn them into requirements exactly like in the example above. Don’t be scared to be too demanding at this stage. Simply write down exactly what you would need to be happy with your job. Don’t worry about if it’s realistic or not yet.
Congratulations for creating your requirements. This is what you want from your job. Now we’re going too look at your constraints, or in other words, what the market wants from you. You will land somewhere in between what you want and what the markets want. Here’s an example of constraints :
|My requirement||Market constraint|
|The minimum salary that I want is $60,000 per year||The salary range for my profession is $30,000 to $70,000 per year|
|I want the freedom to do my own thing. I want to use my creativity and be trusted to come up with my own solutions to problems.||My profession requires me to execute repetitive tasks and follow strict rules.|
|I want the freedom to take a break whenever I need it. I don’t want continuous tight deadlines. I want to take days off whenever I need them.||I need to be on call for emergencies and have little freedom on when I take my breaks and days off.|
In this example, the requirements are not in line with the market constraints. At first you may think that that’s a bad thing, but I guarantee that it is not for the following reason (put your pen down and read carefully) : The real cause of you hating your job is the difference in between your requirements and the market constraints.
The goal of a career plan is to close the gap in between your requirements and the market. In other words, it’s a plan to achieve your career goals. Career plans are also very simple to create.
The first step to build one is to recognize that the only moves available at any given point in time are the following four :
- Do nothing, because you’re already fully satisfied.
- Work towards getting promoted.
- Change profession or get a new job.
- Start a business.
A career plan is the use of one move, or a combination of moves, to close the gap in between your requirements and the market constraints. Using the example in this post we could create the following plan :
- 1 is not an option because I am not currently satisfied.
- 2 is interesting since being promoted to management would give me a higher salary, more flexibility, and more freedom to direct projects.
- 3 is also interesting since I won’t be promoted at my current job. I might want to apply to a management position at another company. In the meantime I can try to get more management projects at my current job, without the official title, just to get experience and exposure.
- 4 is not an option for me since I can’t handle all the stress, and there is no guaranteed income.
At the beginning of your career you might not get a lot of sympathy for your requirements by employers. That’s normal because you don’t have a lot of leverage : There are most likely ten other people like you in line for the job.
However, trust me, this will get better over time. As you get older and get more experience in your field, employers tend to go the extra mile to get their hands on you. Just be patient, but don’t assume that it will be the case until retirement.
All of this is useless if you sit on your couch and look at it for hours. Do something about it! Take (planed, not reckless) action! The worst thing that you can do is to remain passive and unhappy.
If you need to change profession to be happy then start looking into what degree and courses are needed. If you want to start a business then start planning. Create a business plan, look at legal requirements, try to start selling your product to test the market. If you need to change job then start applying today. Try applying to one job per day for the next 30 days and see what happens!
The most important thing that you need to remember is to be clear about your requirements with yourself and with other people involved in the process. Don’t be scared to tell an interviewer what you need in order to be a happy employee. A good employer will appreciate an employee that knows himself well and is honest about it. It will save them (you) time.
I’d love to hear about your career plan, so leave me a comment or contact me.