Are you struggling through the daily grind?
Is the mere thought of getting up to go to work, powerful enough to induce your flee or fight response?
Is the ‘shoulder-slouch’ getting to be your default position?
Mornings and I, have a mutual respect. I will rise to meet it in meditative like silence and it acknowledges that my best ‘social’ type work is done from 11am onwards. I crave the silence of empty chairs, desks, and computers all staring at me while I gather my thoughts and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead while dealing with the tasks that tend to hijack precious work hours e.g. unread emails. When I start to get that melancholic feeling at work, the first thing that suffers is my need to get to work before everyone else. So wary am I of losing this quiet time, that I put all my effort into shaking off the gloom and returning to the beauty of an empty office in the early morning hours.
Here are my suggestions for how to cope when you’re stuck in a career or job and find yourself feeling miserable.
- Change the narrative – Work is neither good or bad, work is work. Yes, some days can be more challenging than others but at the end of it all, it is still work. It is the negative stories that we attach to it that are the problem. Your stories about your job are a creation of your mind and are neither true nor false. They’re simply stories. If you want to feel less miserable in your current situation, then change your stories to something neutral or even positive. For example, you could tell yourself “I will continue working toward a meaningful career or what I’m doing right now is only temporary.”
- Figure out the WHY – Why are you miserable? Don’t put the onus on your manager or your coworkers. Be proactive and work toward actively improving how you are feeling. Don’t give up your power. Find out why you are miserable. Is because you are not feeling challenged. If it is, go in search of a challenge. Look around you and see what you can do or talk to your boss. Once you find the ‘why’, figure out how to change it or to change your attitude towards it.
- Connect your job to other values – Your job might not be fulfilling all your needs at this point in your life but it is good for something, so start connecting it to other values by making statements such as:
- Because of my job, I am able to support my family,
- Because of my job, I am able to indulge my creative side,
- Because of my job, I have X amount of paid vacation time available to travel to a new country at least twice a year,
- Because my job is flexible, I am able to volunteer at my favorite charity twice a week,
- Because of my job, I was able to send my parents on a week long, paid vacation.
- Put it in perspective – There are people we all know that are making a lot less money, while working longer hours, and often in far worse conditions. They’d change positions with you in a split second. When you’re feeling miserable in your job or your career, try thinking about these people and remembering that your situation may not be as bad as you think. Things may be far from ideal, but they could also be much, more worse.
- Focus on other parts of your life – Finally, if nothing else works, you can always focus your energy on other parts of your life. Build the best, most meaningful relationships that you can. Explore all sorts of different hobbies or delve into a specific hobby, and go the distance with it. Get involved in volunteer activities that provide you with a sense of meaning. Just because work is miserable does not mean that the rest of your life is.
Life is too short to be miserable! Try embracing the above suggestions and see if you can improve your current situation while also taking steps toward a more meaningful, future career.