From the title of this post, you’re probably thinking “if you’re not happy in your job, why not quit?” and I agree. But I also see that as the ultimate last resort. There may be so many reasons why you’re not happy in your job, but quitting is not always the answer. I’ve learnt from mistakes and experiences, that unless you truly understand the reasons why you’re unhappy in your job and learn to deal with the dips and lows that inevitably come with a job, you’ll only face the same type of unhappiness in your next role, ending up in a vicious cycle of quitting and moving on which doesn’t look good on your CV.
So, how do you stay happy in a job you hate? Here are some of the things I’ve learnt that keep me happy:
Find a network of friends
I know this may not be the luxury for some people in their workplace, but I found that when I made a conscious decision to include myself in events or social activities, it really helped me to remain positive in my job and reduce the urge to quit. Extreme, I know, but I soon realised the importance of friendship groups in the workplace. My mood and thoughts towards work became more positive when I found connections with people at work and I started to look forward to my next day of work, knowing that I’d be able to laugh and joke with colleagues – imagine that!!
“I would convince myself that colleagues didn’t like me…I soon realised that was not my problem.”
Don’t let your thoughts dictate your feelings
This is so important and also relates to the previous point. Honestly, the times where I used to convince myself that what I was thinking predicted or projected reality – really wasn’t the case. All it was doing was stopping me from growing, particularly when it came to group activities. I would convince myself that colleagues didn’t like me because of the looks they gave, or I’d notice that they didn’t speak to me when they walked into a room. Sure, they probably did have a problem, but I soon realised that was NOT MY problem.
Understand why you’re there
Finding your purpose is imperative, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your career / job. Without an understanding of why you’re where you are will really make you feel lost, stuck and unhappy, especially in those low times. I would constantly remind myself why I was in my role, despite me being unhappy – whether that was to save enough for a particular financial goal, or to gain more experience or skill in a certain area. This helped me to understand that I was there for a bigger purpose and I became less frustrated when I realised that I was still achieving what I needed to, despite me being unhappy.
Address what it is that is making you unhappy
Whether that’s having to speak to a colleague about their actions that are making you unhappy or switching up systems or ways of working, addressing the problem is key to making you happy in a job you hate.
Approach the situation calmly and privately either in a meeting or over coffee to help ease the pressure off. It’s a good idea to have a discussion when you’ve had time to gather your thoughts and what you want to say. I was given good advice once to approach a colleague with an issue with facts, not emotions and this helps to get your point across without it seeming like an emotional, personal attack which will cause the person to go into defensive mode and your point getting lost.
You want to start and end the discussion on good terms because let’s face it, you’re still going to have to work with this person and things can get a little awkward if it goes south.