Have you ever felt like that in your job? One of my clients just said this to me. My answer was “we can’t have that!”
How awful is it for someone – even you – to feel like their job is killing them. Slowly, day by day, being ground down, boxed in, diminished, disempowered, devalued…until you feel like you are literally dying.
You’ve tried everything suggested to help you have a better attitude, a thicker skin, a “not taking it personally” approach, sticking up for yourself, ignoring bad behavior, affirmations about how valuable you are, doing what you’re told, anticipating problems and circumventing them…I’m sure you can add to the list. And if not, simply talk to a friend or loved one who will undoubtedly have another suggestion about how YOU can fix either yourself or the situation and make it tolerable for another day.
There comes a time, however, when you finally realize you can’t change any more, that what you’re doing helps for a while and then stops, and that it’s the work situation itself that will not change. Maybe it’s not toxic for everyone, but it is for you. The chemistry just is bad. Your job and you are no longer a “right fit” – if you ever were.
Now what? First thing: have some hope that you can find another job. Hope that you have skills and abilities and talents that are valuable and will be valued by another employer. Hope that you can feel valuable and motivated and excited about work once again. Hope that there is an end to this misery!
There is hope! I work with people every day who are unhappy with their work situation, and one thing I offer them is hope. Hope based on experience. Experience that clearly shows people finding work that they love and that loves them. I’ve worked with many dozens of people who have found work they love even in the horrible job market. It has taken time, yet it has happened.
Second, it’s time to get realistic about how long this search is going to take. It does take time to discover what you really love to do, to develop the marketing materials that will show off your talents and results, to network with people, to apply and interview for jobs. The escape usually is not just around the corner – it’s around the corner and down the block a piece. You’ll go through a process, one that involves a lot of focus, attention, and emotion.
Emotion is part of any job search. And the toughest emotion is despair. Despair about ever finding something. That’s why I start the list with hope based on experience. Hope is the antidote to despair, even if it feels a little Pollyannaish and unrealistic. When despair comes along, it helps to say “thanks for visiting and so long! I have hope that I will find work that I enjoy and want to do for a while.”
When you feel despair or frustration, talk to someone (not a loved one!) about your emotions because venting it helps dispel them. Ask the person to just listen, not to offer suggestions right now, because all you need to do is let go of the pressure. After you’ve done that, you’re open to all suggestions. Loved ones are generally not great listeners because they get very invested in you being happy and successful. Best listeners are a friend or a coach, or a mutual support group like the one at my local library where job seekers share war stories and helpful tips.
As long as you’re willing to do the work, you’ll find the job in due time.
For more about the process, take a look at my other blog posts or pick up my e-book onYour Right Fit Job: Guide to Finding Work You Love.