Escape That Job You Hate
By Byron Moore, posted August 29, 2017
Originally published in the News Star and the Shreveport Times on Sunday, August 27, 2017.
Q: I hate my job. Absolutely hate it. But I have a family I support so I can’t leave. What do I do?
A: You feel trapped.
I’m not sure why…it may be your job. Or it may be you. No matter.
Either way, you must be free. Just make sure you don’t jump out of one trap straight into another.
David Covey suggests there are four secrets to a successful and fulfilling career: making enough money, making a contribution, having passion and making a difference.
It sounds like you’re working on one out of four – you’re making enough money. You may wish you made more money, but if you weren’t making enough money you would have already quit. But your employer has cleverly discovered an amount of money sufficient to incent you to stay in a job you obviously hate.
I say something’s got to change.
One option is that you need to change. Why do you hate your job? Just asking a few diagnostic questions here, but have you really sought to bring your best self to your job? Do you approach your work and co-workers with a sense of negativity and cynicism? Are you treating your work and co-workers the way you wish to be treated? Are you working smart and hard, or just phoning it in?
Don’t gloss over this set of questions too quickly. If you got a call Monday and were offered the perfect job, you would still bring something from your old job with you. You.
And if you’re the problem, you’ll eventually find your next job equally unfulfilling. So make sure you don’t evaluate yourself in a vacuum. Ask at least three others with enough character to speak truth to you.
If you are the problem, only you can be the solution.
But if you conclude you’ve given it your best shot and it’s time to make a change, here are some steps you might take to make your escape to freedom:
Dream. While in your current job, and using Covey’s four characteristics of fulfilling work, imagine what kind of work would meet those criteria. Think hard. You won’t get your answer on the first draft, but you won’t get there until you do a first draft. So get out a pen and paper (or open your lap top) and start thinking about your ideal future by writing it down, one dream at a time.
Decide. Eventually you’re going to have to transition from your “dream” job to real life. That means you’re going to have to aim at a real life change. It’s not time to quit yet, but it is time to quit focusing on the past. Focus on the future by selecting a direction you wish to go which will come closest to meeting the four criteria for fulfilling work.
Deadline. Set a date on the calendar by which you commit to be moved into your new situation. Deadlines do wonders for clarifying your priorities.
Develop. Working backward from your now-set deadline, develop a plan that will prepare you for the new position. This step could be days long, weeks long, months or even years long. For example, your new dream job may require you to go back to school. Well, you just can’t microwave that. It’s going to take some time. Make a complete plan from A to Z on how you are going to prepare for your new dream job.
Depart. One day D-Day (deadline day) will come. You promised yourself; you prepared yourself; now it’s time to pull the trigger and exit stage left. Depart from that job you hate. And don’t smile too big on the way out the door.
Dedicate. If you are under the naive assumption that your new “dream job” is going to be 100% dreamy, you still haven’t learned your lesson. This may be a job about which you are passionate, in which you are making a contribution, through which you are making a difference…and it pays you well.
But there are still going to be hard days. Dedicate yourself to giving a 100% effort to being your best in and through this new situation.
You get to do the life thing exactly one time. Even if you live to 100, you don’t have time to spend any more time than necessary in a job you hate.
It’s time to plan your escape.
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