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I Hate My Job!

February 17, 2012, 04:00 PM
Topic: Careers

How often have you said or heard this statement? More than likely, too many times to count.  But it is a fact of life that we often find ourselves in a professional position that is not living up to its hype. Whether you made a bad decision taking the job, or the job was not described to you accurately, doesn’t really matter. The fact is—you are unhappy.  What should you do in this situation?

First, analyze your situation in order to lessen the odds of going from the kettle into the fire.  Reflect on why you hate your job. Is it the level of responsibilities— not enough authority, too menial, too many responsibilities, or the type of responsibilities overall? Is it the work itself— too complicated, stressful, too people oriented, or is there too much (or not enough) emphasis on sales? Or, maybe it’s your boss who is too hands-on, doesn’t provide enough guidance, or demonstrates no trust in his employees. Is the work environment too open, too competitive, or is there a lack of camaraderie? Is it the commute?

If you determine that you enjoy the responsibilities of your job, but find that you and your boss are “oil and water”, then you know you can likely pursue the same type of job, but look for a different personality in your next boss. But, if you don’t like the work itself, then you have some real soul searching to do before you even start looking for a new job. If the latter describes your situation, you may wish to consider speaking with a career coach. 

By defining the “why” in why you hate your job, you’ll gain an understanding of what to look for in your next job. And if you have held multiple types of positions, ask these questions for each position, including the positions you enjoyed, because the answers will give a better picture of what works for you.

You should also look back at the interview process you went through prior to accepting the position you now hate. Think about the questions you asked and the answers provided.  Now that you know more; did you ask the correct questions?  Maybe a question worded differently next time will focus it more to the point you are trying to learn. What about the answers you were provided? Did the answers give you hints that you did not hear, or didn’t pay attention to regarding the real situation, the real job responsibilities, and the real authorities? Maybe you didn’t ask questions during your interviews. Well, you know better now, right? Yes, you do have to be cautious in how you ask your questions during the interview process. 

When you do finally go on an interview, remember you should never complain about previous bosses or previous companies— you don’t want to sound like a whiner. But there are ways to ask questions that produce answers loaded with information.  I’m sure you have all heard of behavioral interviewing: the interviewer asks questions that relate to the interviewees past performance. There is no reason this should be a technique reserved only for employers. You can use it too! 

The culture of your next employer is also an important consideration. The best way to determine a company’s culture or the way a boss will react to specific situations is to ask how they reacted to various issues in the past. Describe a telling situation to the interviewer and ask how they or the company would handle it. But remember, the interviewer will be “selling’” the company to you so you must listen carefully to the response. Listen for hidden meanings, hesitations in answering, and watch for facial expressions. You will be surprised at how much you can learn by paying close attention during the interview process.

Let’s say you’ve carefully analyzed your situation and determined you are ready to hunt for a new job, but you need to remain in the job you hate until a new position is offered to you. I know it is an overused cliché, but it’s a good one:  DON’T BURN YOUR BRIDGES. The world is actually very small and you will come across prior peers and managers time and again in your professional life. Trust me, I’ve had it happen too many times to mention! 

Finally, it’s important to remember that you must do the best job you can while you are “stuck. Depending on your situation, this can be very difficult. Therefore I recommend that every day you say to yourself, “Yes it’s bad, but I already know this and I’m taking the appropriate steps to get into a better situation.” Put all the thoughts and facts about how bad it is in a box and close the lid. You’ve already gone over these issues numerous times and it will not help you (or those around you) to go over them ad naseam.  Re-hashing the issues will cause you to be negative will make it harder for you to perform well while in the “no-win” job and that negativity may even show up in an interview for your next job.

Remember to take at least one action a day towards finding a new position: networking, answering or looking at ads, calling a search firm, placing your profile on LinkedIn, etc. Your attitude will improve if you are taking positive actions that will change your situation.

In a bad job that you hate? Analyze how you got in the situation and what makes it so bad. And determine how to avoid making the same mistakes in your next career move…and get on with enjoying life!

Gni Grossman
Founder | GG Companies
Gni Grossman is a principal at GG Companies, a human resources consulting and executive recruiting firm. She started this company after over twenty years as a human resources generalist with corporations such as The Hay Group and De Lage Landen and 5 years focusing on recruiting for the equipment finance industry at Molloy Associates, Inc. Gni holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

Readers may contact Gni Grossman at and/or contact Gni at 781-859-5157.

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