What to Love About the Job You Hate

It’s a fact: Most people don’t like their jobs.

There are tons of articles on the Internet that help you to analyze whether your dislike of your job is actually misdiagnosed hate. This is not one of them. Besides, if you really hate your job, I doubt that reading an article would be necessary to help you confirm it.

This article starts with that assumption that you hate your job. It’s written with the objective of helping you change that situation.

Changing the situation is not always synonymous with changing jobs. That’s the easy and often misleading remedy. The situation that this article focuses on is changing how you look at, approach, and do your current job – the job you hate.

So how do you look at your job? As an 8 hour prison sentence from which you are eager to escape at the end of the day? Or as being temporarily placed in an insane asylum? If you can vaguely relate to either analogy, it’s time to do something about it right now.

The stress related illnesses that result from hating your job have been well-documented, but just
in case you are unaware of some of the physical manifestations of mild stress they include chronic headaches and increased susceptibility to colds. More serious conditions include depression, diabetes, hair loss, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, obesity, obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder, ulcers, and sexual dysfunction.

Clearly there are tremendous health benefits to doing “what you love.”

But that’s more idealism than realism in America. According to The Conference Board, a market information company that also puts out the Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators, Americans hate their jobs more than ever before in the past 20 years, with fewer than half saying they are satisfied.

For workers under the age of 25, less than 39 percent reported being satisfied with their jobs. Workers age 45 to 54 have the second lowest level of satisfaction (less than 45 percent).

This echoes a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com that four out of five U.S. workers do not have their dream jobs.

So why does so much rampant hatred exist in the workplace towards jobs?

The specific reasons vary from person to person. Some reasons are petty. Some are substantial. But from what I have observed, it really comes down to just one thing: Perspective. Healthy perspective.

If you view your job as an 8 hour prison sentence from which you are eager to escape at the end of the day, then chances are you also feel like a prisoner. Consequently, if you view your job as time spent in an insane asylum, you will inevitably drive yourself crazy.

Is it worth it?

The issue of healthy perspective comes into play when you lose sight of the meaning and the role that your job plays in your life.

Let’s start with the meaning. For many, jobs are merely a means to an end; a financial means of paying the costs of living. Many people employ the strategy of emotionally detaching (or at least fool themselves into thinking they are) from their jobs. For others, their job plays an identification role; it’s what they are and how they want to be recognized in the world.

Whether we are placing stock in titles, salaries, or the prestige of the companies we work for, the tendency is to offer a piece of ourselves in exchange for a paycheck. This is why we become susceptible to the mental and physical perils of stress when that exchange leaves us unfulfilled, disenfranchised, or rife with indignation.

The way to circumvent these negative emotions is to fine tune your perspective by focusing on what really matters.

I was in my twenties when I first saw Billy Crystal in the movie City Slickers. The whole premise of that movie was about finding the one thing that matters most to you. For most of us, it’s our families – which are supported by our jobs. How you can hate something which affords you the opportunity to sustain the one thing that matters most to you is fundamentally incorrect, and very ironic.

Because so many people hate their jobs, it’s only logical that they would want to leave them. But like the droves of people who are unhappy with their spouses, they will stay; whether it’s for the money or the benefits. The key to prevailing in both situations is to change how you chose to look at your situation, and undertake the actions to support your new perspective by paying closer attention to your bottom line – which is what makes you happiest – without being distracted by the challenges that make them seem unattainable.

In business, CEOs constantly pay attention to their company’s bottom line. That’s what cutbacks such as streamlining, downsizing, re-organizing, and outsourcing are all about. They are made to achieve greater efficiency and increase productivity. You can remedy a lot of your unhappiness at work by cutting back on your negative thoughts, and guess what? You will achieve greater efficiency, increased productivity, and reach your bottom line as well.

For example, a receptionist who hates answering phones will inevitably come to dread every call that comes into a switchboard. The dread will manifest itself in unpleasant interactions with the public; the very people that the company has hired them to have a positive and professional interface with.

If the receptionist approaches their job from the perspective that each phone call is an opportunity to leave positive impressions upon the members of the public and strengthen the brand of the company, they will undoubtedly view their role in the company as significant. So you see, merely answering phones and being the trusted ambassador of a company’s brand are two totally different responsibilities that are brought about by different perspectives.

Money has nothing to do with it. Using money (or the lack thereof) is a cop-out. Work is personal and it reflects on you. How much of a dollar value can you truly place on the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you do your job well? What dollar amount equates to high self-esteem? Even if you are one of the millions of underemployed or misemployed people in America, doing your job well, regardless of what it is, gets you – and keeps you – in the practice of doing quality work. You are paying yourself with improved skills and increased confidence; both of which lead to higher self-esteem.