I know, I know. Having a bad job can cause tons of stress, health problems, family problems, and so on. Bad jobs suck. Bad bosses suck. We’ve all had our share of them. But here’s the secret: hating your job could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Seriously.
My bad job (one of them, anyway)
I used to have a bad job, along with a bad boss. She wasn’t a bad person, but she was certainly a bad boss. Within 18 months after she was promoted to supervise the team I was on, nearly 100% of the team members (myself included) left the company–and these were people who had all been at the company for several years, through many other bosses, acquisitions, team restructuring, and transitions. Around the same time, our company was acquired. The company culture–which had made it such a fun place to work early on–was eroded. Benefits were chipped away–both bread-and-butter benefits like health benefits, as well as quirky benefits like a masseuse, or free snacks. New policies were put in place that didn’t serve our customers well. Employee training and development was essentially eliminated. Morale kept sinking. As for me, I no longer had a flexible schedule which allowed me to pick up my kindergarten son from school. I felt guilty that he spent 4 hours each day in lackluster before- and after-school custodial care, a tiny kindergartener among kids in 5th grade. He learned how to swear and give the finger. I felt guilty that I couldn’t always stay home for him or my daughter when either of them were sick. And when I did stay home with them, I felt stressed that I wasn’t at work. I complained and whined to whomever would listen. My wife got tired of hearing about it, and told me to look for another job. I looked for other jobs, but they all looked pretty similar. I felt like all I could think or talk about were the bad things about my job, boss, or company. And I got sick of hearing myself complain, sick of hearing the negative tapes running through my head.
Hating your job can be a great motivator
Eventually, I knew that my bad job wasn’t going to continue. So I got sick of hating my job, but used those negative feelings in a productive way, and started doing some things to change my situation. Negative feelings like anger and resentment can be very powerful, and they can drag you down. But you can use the energy behind those feelings to push yourself to change things. Every time you think, “I hate my job,” you can add something to that thought, like, “so I’m going to do ___ today to change it.” Do at least 1 thing each day, and keep a journal of your tasks. At first, the things you end up doing might not seem like much, but over weeks and maybe months, you’ll see the massive snowball effect that these daily steps has built. You’ll be miles away from the place where you started. For me, I found a job at a non-profit where I used by technical skills to dramatically build their membership. At the same time, I started my consulting business. I gradually built up my client list and consulting workload. I learned how to run a successful business. I became fully self-employed. I can say without a doubt that starting and running my own business has completely changed my mental outlook. Starting my consulting business–even though it seemed like an unrealistic lark at the time–has been one of the best life-changing experiences I’ve ever had.
What gets you going?
Like I said, negative emotions can be powerful, and you can use them to your advantage in a very positive way. Use that negative energy to propel yourself forward. So what’s your motivation? What get’s you going?
- Hating your job is a great motivator. Don’t make any more excuses: get out from under it and change your situation.
- Maybe seeing others make several times your annual salary can motivate you. Ask how you can compress the time it takes you to earn your current salary.
- Do you want more flexibility? You set your own hours when you become a consultant.
What do you have to lose?
It can be safe to stay in a bad situation that you’re at least familiar with. But you could also step out of your comfort zone. Having a bad job is good for you because it provides great motivation to change your situation. Starting a consulting business could be your ticket to freedom–it has been for me. Check out the following article from Brazen Careerist for an interesting take on how long you should stay at a job you hate.