I’ll admit that I don’t exactly leap from my bed every Monday morning. While I am a morning person, I’m not sure I’d put the start of a new work week at the very top of my list of favorite things. Those spots are reserved for hanging with the family and tinkering with old cars. But it is actually pretty close to the top. I enjoy my job quite a bit, and I virtually never dread the alarm clock’s ring.
This wasn’t always the case, but more on that in a minute.
More and more I’ve been noticing posts on Facebook and Twitter howling over the end of the weekend. More and more complaining about the work week bringing much gnashing of teeth and gloomy doom. One particularly bad string of these posts culminated with a link to career podcast host claiming that two-thirds of Americans say they hate going into work on Monday.
2 of 3 people. That’s a lot. So I thought I’d put my 2 pennies in on this one.
Now, I assume that a good number of those asked would rather just not go to work at all. Fair enough. This post isn’t for those folks. This is for those readers who aren’t happy with their jobs, but do want to work. So if that’s you, read on.
I get it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to sit on the couch on a Sunday evening and to watch the clock with dread.
Only 2 more hours before I have to go to bed.
Only 8 more hours before I have to be there.
What fresh hell awaits at the 8:30 meeting?
Will I be able to fix the broken thing that I didn’t break but will take the heat for its brokenness?
Will I be able to fix the thing(s) that I did break?
I hope my boss is late or skips that meeting and the next one.
The pang of anxiety when a new email hit my inbox.
If I was in a car crash, what injuries would keep me from work until this project is over but not harm me permanently?
That last one may sound ridiculous, but I did actually considered it on my way home from a previous employer one very stressful afternoon. I’ve also read career blogs on which others have expressed having the same thoughts, which is both comforting and terrifying.
This experience didn’t last too long for me. Check out my earlier post for the details.
So what’s the point?
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
The solution is simple, but extremely difficult. Wait for it…
If you don’t want to dread Monday mornings, you must find a place where you enjoy being on Monday morning and go there.
Stunningly brilliant, I know.
But in truth, it really is that simple. If you hate your job, get one that you don’t hate.
Now, here’s the not-so-simple part of actually doing that.
(Not all of this applied to me because I waited until I was fired to do these things. But you don’t have to.)
Here are some things you can do TODAY get you on track for workplace happiness:
- Step back from the swamp that is the day-to-day (minute-to-minute?) drudgery that is your job and write down 3 things that you like about what you do. Not who you work for or with, but the tasks that you enjoy completing.
- Now, give yourself a VERY honest assessment on what you’re good at doing. Think outside of your daily tasks at work. If you polled 5 of your closest friends, what would they say that you do well?
- Ok, take your answers from 1 and 2 and think of industries and/or types of jobs where you could combine what you like to do with what you’re good at doing. These jobs may even exists at your current employer.
- Now scour your network (if you have none, GET ONE) and see who you know that works in those types of places.
- Take those people out to lunch and get a real idea as what their works entails.
- Apply for jobs that FIT YOU BEST regardles of your current experience.
- Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs you think you won’t get. HR folks might have a need coming-up for a similar job with different requirements.
Easy-peasy, right? Not quite. Here are some things that might go along with such a transition:
- You might have to move. Your dream job may live somewhere you don’t.
- You might have to take a pay cut (YIKES!) – It’s true that switching industries can sometimes involve starting at a lower-level position. This isn’t always the case, but your happiness in the long-term might mean a lifestyle change for the short-term.
- It’s going to be uncomfortable for a while. Being the new kid, especially in a new industry or job type can be a struggle at first.
- You might have to suck it up for a bit while you acquire a new skill, take a class or get a credential you need for the job you want. Don’t quit your job until you’re ready to take the better one, but don’t use this as an excuse to stay put or as an excuse to go back to school forever.
- You actually have to do these things rather than sit and wait for things to improve where you are now.
That last one is the kicker. You must act. I know it sucks, but no one is going to shove you out of your own cubicle hell and into a job you love.
Change is painful, but I’d much rather face the pain of change than the prospect of hating (or even strongly disliking) the place where I’ll spend most of my life. You may never love your job, but you don’t have to hate it.
And when you don’t hate it, you’ll actually be good at it. And when you’re good at your job, all sorts of good things happen.