I Hate My Job!

We just celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. And the four-day holiday weekend is over. The beginning of a new work week has already begun. For some, you dreaded this week. Why? Because frankly you hate your job. Well “hate” may be a strong word, but it accurately describes the way you feel.

Over the years, I have come in contact with people in general and Christians in particular who have expressed this sentiment about their jobs. I often would wonder: “Why do they feel this way? What is causing them to despise a job that they once were grateful for?” Here are a few reasons (in no particular order) that I have observed. My initial thoughts were: “Hey, quite complaining and just be thankful that you have a job, especially in this economy. It could be worse.” But I have since realized that such thoughts (and comments), although they are true, come across to people who are genuinely thankful but are struggling with the current realities in their workplaces as being naively optimistic, unsympathetic, inconsiderate, and/or simplistic. Telling people to simply quite complaining and be thankful is not all that is needed in some cases, especially if you desire to see them flourish and thrive in their current employment. So in an effort to be helpful and beneficial to those who “hate” their jobs I want to list these reasons along with some some corresponding words of advice.

1. You no longer feel maximized, inspired, and challenged in your current role. In other words, you have outgrown the position (due to training, education, skill-set, drive, work ethic, etc.).

I would suggest you sit down with your boss and have a conversation with him or her. Maybe a good time to broach the subject is at your end of the year performance review (if you have one). I wouldn’t recommend going in and framing your conversation in the negative (“I don’t feel…”). Ask if there is anything else that you can do to help your department or company, and list some possible ways for your boss to consider.  Try to mention things that are within the scope of what you have been hired to do, or in your department. This of course assumes that you have an approachable supervisor. If you don’t feel like you can speak openly and honestly about your situation without fear of repercussions, then you should just probably begin applying for another job, either within your company, or outside of it.

2. You feel more used than valued.

A person can feel this way for a myriad of reasons. What I am specifically referring to here though has to do with the lack of moral support, genuine expressions of gratitude, and common courtesy. Honestly, there is not much that you can do to get your manager, boss, etc. to do these things, with the exception of bringing it to his or her attention. But you can value yourself! Tell yourself that you are doing a great job. Give yourself a pat on the back. I know this may not go a long way, but even remembering that you ultimately were the one who was hired for this position will serve to encourage you. That in and of itself shows that you are valuable to your supervisor (or company, church), even if he or she fails to express it to you.

For those of us who are Chrsitians, remember that you work for the Boss of all bosses – Jesus. And when we do our work as unto Him, He is pleased. What is fundamentally important is to remember that our value and worth before Him is not based on our performance on the job (or in life), but rather on his performance on the cross (on our behalf). Simply put, know that your value rests in the One who is supremely valuable, and on the fact that He thought enough of you and I to come, live a perfect life, die a death on the cross for our sins, and rise from the dead, so that we might be saved and have a relationship with God through Him. That is infinitely more significant to us than how we are being treated on our jobs, wouldn’t you agree?

I am not trying to over-spiritualize this. I do understand that we all have a need to be appreciated and valued for our work. But at the end of the day people cannot ultimately provide that to us. It comes from God.

3. Your interpersonal work relationship with staff and/or supervisors is in poor condition.

Let me cut to the chase. If there are problems of which you are aware, either between you and a co-worker or supervisor, address them (Note: All battles are not worth fighting. Use discretion.). If you have tried but to no avail, then resolve to at least treat that person cordially, with a basic sense of human dignity. Pray for them. Love them. Respect them.

4. You are in a field of work, in a position, or assigned tasks that don’t comprehensively match your passion, calling, gifting, talents, degree, etc.

If you asked God to direct your paths and He opened this job up for you, then understand that in spite of the “menial” tasks He has you there for a purpose. What purpose? It could be any number of things: a. To provide you with a means of income, b. To develop something in you that might be lacking (patience, faithfulness, work ethic, faith, etc.) or to bring something to light ( exposing an idol in your life, etc.), c. To reach some people with the Gospel of Jesus, d. To prepare and position you for what He has for you in the future, etc. Trust in His goodness and wisdom, and embrace where God has you right now, even if you don’t fully know or understand why.

5. Your compensation is not commensurate with your education and/or experience (but others are being paid beyond their competency).

You probably won’t be able to do anything to change this in your current employment. But who says that job has to be your only stream of income? Maybe it’s time for you to start that business that God placed on your heart awhile back.

Maybe it’s time for you to change careers. I don’t know.

Instead of seeing this as solely a problem, might this be a catalyst to propel you to something else?

Oh yeah, and also stop comparing yourself to others. I know this can be hard, especially when we feel that we are being mistreated or overlooked. But it’s not going to help you. It will more than likely only breed contempt, resentment, envy, and jealousy in you towards that individual who, by the way, probably doesn’t know why  you are being so standoffish or snappy with him or her.

6. The work environment is opposite of one in which you work best (e.g., the job has little structure – i.e., procedures, policies, processes – but you thrive in one that has more structure, or vice-versa).

If a place is too structured for you, it may be difficult for you, but while you are there, you need to accept it.  What may help is if you seek to understand why a place is the way that it is.

Also, sometimes the reason why we buck against the new is because we have become accustomed to the old. Come to terms with the change and your feelings about it and accept it for your benefit and your company’s. As the saying goes, “It is what it is.” So because you know that, resolve to no longer waste energy over what you cannot change or control. Understand it. Accept it. And work within the parameters.

If a job (company, department) is not structured enough, you need to adjust to it. You structure your workday. You create your To-Do List. Where you are able to implement or suggest structure, do so. That just might be one of the reasons you are there.

In conclusion, being grateful is a fundamental way to fight off the feelings of dread and disgust that you have related to your job. If you are like me – I am a recovering perfectionist – then you know how quickly we can get fixated on what is wrong at our jobs and lose sight of all that is going right. So remember this: Gratefulness helps to ground your perspective and keeps you from blowing things all out of proportion.

Being grateful may not move you from hating your job to loving it, but it can help you to like it enough to say I can “work” with this.

Was this helpful? What are your thoughts?

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Posted on November 27, 2012, in Life. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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