I normally try to avoid making sweeping generalizations, but I feel pretty comfortable making this one: at one time or another, almost all of us has had a job we dislike or even hate.
Not liking your job is as American as apple pie, baseball and the occasional economic collapse. A 2016 study by The Conference Board (surprisingly, not a made-up name) found that 51% of Americans are satisfied with their job…which means that 49% of Americans are not.
To be fair, not everybody can feasibly do what they love. Maybe your passions aren’t realistic, or maybe there’s just not enough money in your dream career for you to make it a reality. And that’s okay! It’s entirely possible to have a long and fulfilling career even if the job itself doesn’t fill you with joy on a daily basis.
Sometimes, though, we get so dependent on a job – and the money it provides – that we end up sacrificing our own happiness. With that in mind, here are a few telltale signs that can help you determine if it’s time to tell your boss to eat several dicks and take your talents elsewhere.
You Dread Going to Work
Sunday used to be my least favorite day of the week. I was always filled with this overwhelming sense of despair as the afternoon turned to evening and I realized Shit…I gotta go to work tomorrow.
I’m not talking about that occasional feeling of “Ugh, work” – unless you’re one of the fortunate souls who happens to do a job they truly love and are passionate about, there are always going to be times when you don’t feel like going to work.
No, I’m talking about that constant feeling of foreboding, day in and day out. The one where you wake up and your stomach feels like it’s in knots because guess what, fucko: you gotta go to work. If you’re waking up like that more often than not, then it’s time to find a new job; nobody should have to deal with constant anxiety about their job.
You Don’t Care
Some jobs aren’t quite so bad that they’ll make you anxious about going into the office each morning, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth hanging onto.
There are a lot of ways to cope with stressful situations, but coping with a bad job is more difficult: you can’t just yell at your boss or tell some whiny customer to toss themselves down an elevator shaft. But we also can’t just hold it in forever, because that’s a recipe for a workplace massacre.
So instead, a common coping mechanism is to detach ourselves from the job; in other words, we stop caring. It makes sense: the more committed you are to the job, the more stress comes with it; thus, the easiest way to get rid of stress is to just not give a shit at all.
If you find yourself going through the motions day in and day out, not putting in an ounce more effort than is required to do the bare minimum, there’s a good chance you’re miserable and you’ve stopped caring as a coping mechanism. Of course, most people don’t head home from work with a big ol’ grin plastered on their face at the end of the day, but at the very least, you should feel some kind of enthusiasm for the work you’re doing.
You’re Only Doing It For Money
Jobs are a way to make money. And my research has shown that money, surprisingly enough, is required to live.
It’s remarkable how easily we adapt to working in terrible conditions solely because we need the money. If you polled random people on the street, nobody would say they want a job that pays them a pittance, promises to work them half to death, and doesn’t offer any room for advancement.
And yet, millions of Americans take those exact kinds of jobs all the time; even worse, they stay in them for years. Why? Because they need the money. Very few people can afford to just up and quit their job on a whim, and even fewer have the financial stability to support themselves for however long it takes for them to find their dream job.
As a result, a sort of Stockholm Syndrome sets in. We develop an attachment to a shitty company that doesn’t care about us, because as bad as things are, they’d be even worse without that job, right? Not necessarily. If you’re doing a job and the only time you feel anything close to happy is on payday, then it’s time to move on.
You Don’t Want Your Boss’ Job
Here’s a good way to tell if you need to start looking for new employment. Look at what your boss does on a daily basis, then ask yourself this: Would I be happy doing that job? If the answer is no, then get the hell out.
Logically speaking, if you stay in your current job long enough, the next step up is your boss’ role. But what if your boss’ job sounds like a nightmare? Maybe they don’t get paid enough for what they do; maybe, as bad as your job is, you find yourself thinking At least I don’t have that job. If that’s the case, then it’s time to pull the plug; otherwise, you’ll someday find yourself hating your job even more, but feeling less comfortable about quitting because, hey, you need the money.
My point is this: Life is too damned short, and we spend too much time at work as it is. In an ideal world, we’d all have the freedom to pursue our passions without having to work, but in lieu of that, you should do something you enjoy. Or, failing that, do something you can tolerate. It’s the least you can do for yourself.