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6 Reasons You Hate Your Job ... and What You Can Do About It
Hate is a strong word. We often say we hate something when we really just don't like it. On the surface, the two attitudes might sound interchangeable, but they are different. Hate is venomous and suggests a displeasure that looms over your daily life. Disliking something isn't typically that upsetting. For example, you might not like cheddar cheese, but the thought probably doesn't keep you up at night. Does it?
When people discuss their jobs, hate is a common bond for them. They hate their jobs or the people with whom they work. Or so they say. If you catch yourself griping about your job, stop and ask yourself if you really hate the job or if you're annoyed with it and can do something to change it.
Here are six common reasons people claim to hate their jobs and some possible solutions to the situations.
I hate my job because ...
... I'm too [brilliant, experienced, innovative] to be here.
What it could mean: You should've moved on a long time ago.
What you can do about it: First off, congratulations on being awesome. Now, if you are capable of holding a job that is more challenging or has more responsibility, don't stop looking for it. In the meantime, put forth your best effort where you are now because you still need recommendations and you need to not get fired. Volunteer for new assignments or try out new tasks so that you can add new skills to your résumé. Plus, your time at the company will pass more quickly if you've broken out of the routine.
... No one values me.
What it could mean: Your employer and colleagues are taking advantage of you.
What you can do about it: If your talents, efforts and time are taken for granted, you deserve a change. Walking into the boss's office and saying, "You don't appreciate me," is not easy. If you have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with your boss, whether in a performance review or a scheduled discussion, explain that you're worried you won't ever advance in the company despite your achievements, and then give examples of your contributions. When you frame the issue as a professional concern and also illustrate how the company relies on you, the topic is more about improving business and less about you whining. No one hands out raises and promotions because they think it's time. Employers respond to results, not a calendar.
... I don't earn enough money.
What it could mean: You can't wait around for someone to give you a raise.
What you can do about it: First off, it's safe to say most people think they don't earn enough money, so simply complaining to your boss that you want more cash won't work. But if you look at your W-2 and wonder why the number isn't bigger, start researching. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics or CBSalary.com to find out what other professionals who share your experience, job title and location earn. If the number is low, bring it up at the appropriate time with your supervisor. Hopefully you can negotiate more, but realize that some companies don't have wiggle room in their budgets and bosses can't always give you a raise, even if you deserve it. Use your newfound knowledge of your peers' earnings to find a new job with competitive pay.
... I don't care about it.
What it could mean: You've given up.
What you can do about it: Did you ever care about it? If you took this job to get a paycheck and kill time until something better came along, then you probably never will love it. But if you took the job because it offered you something -- a chance to use your talents, learn something new, interact with people -- then maybe you just need to remind yourself what it offers you. Will other positions at the company or elsewhere fulfill you in a way this one does not? If you know that other opportunities are better fits for you, start looking. If you become comfortable being bored, your work will suffer, your employer won't be happy and you'll be wasting each other's time.
... I hate my boss.
What it could mean: You both need to meet in the middle.
What you can do about it: Dealing with a boss comes down to knowing what you can change and knowing what is permanent. For example, a micromanager might be receptive to your need for more freedom if you sit down and have a conversation about it. But you can't expect someone to undergo a complete personality change just to please you. Instead, realize that some managers will listen to you and try to create a better work environment. Others can't change their styles any more than you can change yours; therefore you need to assess what compromises you can make. If a happy medium exists, make the most of it. If your boss will never coalesce with your style, you need to either accept the fact or start looking for another job. Of course, if your boss is truly the problem and others agree, you can address the situation either with him or her, a supervisor or the human resources department in order to have your concerns heard.
... I hate my colleagues.
What it could mean: The culture no longer suits your personality.
What you can do about it: Not getting along with co-workers is similar to problems with a boss in that you can try to change them, and you should be willing to give in a little, too. Sometimes a simple conversation can clear up tension, but other times differences are irreconcilable. If you otherwise love your job, you can try to remove yourself from co-worker situations that cause you stress. Perhaps you've evolved and traits you once enjoyed in others are now annoying. Accept the fact that you could be the reason you no longer get along with your colleagues and decide where to go from there.
Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.
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