How to fix your job (so you don’t have to quit it)

You might not have to quit your job in 2018 after all. Your current job just might be better than you think it is. Here are some strategies you can use to turn the daily grind into a great opportunity.

Earlier this week we published the clear signs that you will need to change jobs in 2018. If you dread going to work, have a bad relationship with your manager, have stopped growing in your career, or just aren’t making enough money, it could be time to move on.

Then again, maybe you can make the change – without actually changing jobs. I’ve had jobs that I loved, jobs that I liked, and jobs that I just couldn’t stand. Looking back, I can see that the real difference was largely my own approach and attitude towards the job that made the major difference.

How to turn your job into a dream job

Making the transition from dreading going to work to actually looking forward to it can be done with a simple change of perspective. First off, don’t think of your job as a life sentence. No one has that kind of job security anyway. You know that sooner or later you’ll be working somewhere else, so what can you do in the meantime to make the most of this temporary role?

Learn all that you can

One of the reasons that many people don’t like their jobs is because they are bored for much of the day. Well, that can be deadly. (It’s true, you can literally die of boredom.) We need to be challenged to grow at work. Try to do more.  Volunteer to help out with other projects, find new and better ways to accomplish your tasks. Is there a department whose work seems less dull than your own? Pitch in on those, and learn all there is to know about that area of the business. One of the most significant perks of any job is what you can learn during your time there to grow your career.

Find something you can be really good at

There is a feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing a job (any job) really, really well. And this pays off in other ways too. People notice excellent work, and they respect those who put in the extra effort to do a fantastic job. Advancement, connections, raises, and recommendations all stem from demonstrating that you go above and beyond.

It can be difficult to stay motivated when you dislike your job, but just showing up, slacking off, and getting through the day doing strict minimum never made anybody happy. (And that behaviour can make it harder for you to land a new and better job.)

Focus on the things you do like

Every job has its pros and cons. When you’re in a negative state towards your job, you tend to only pay attention to the things that bother you. Try looking at the good instead. Are there some people who you see over the course of your day whose company you enjoy? If not, try making an effort to get to know people better. That in itself can be a creative and rewarding challenge. (The other great perk of just about any job can be the people you meet, the connections you make.)

Do you get any satisfaction out of the work itself? How’s the commute or the work environment? At the very least there’s the paycheque, you must enjoy that. And not just for the money, but for the recognition that someone values your efforts enough to pay you to show up and work for them.

What can I change about the things that I don’t like?

What bothers you about the job? Is it the schedule, the commute, the workload, the physical work environment? A surprising amount of things from shift to job title, from salary to seating arrangement can be negotiated with your employer. Fixing even one of the issues bringing you down can improve your day, show you that your boss values you enough to make changes to keep you happy, and can leave you feeling more empowered about your work life. Negotiation is a valuable skill that will help you out over the course of your career. Get some practice negotiating in at the job you already don’t like while there’s less at stake.

Remember that it makes it easier to find a new job

You will likely have an easier time finding a new job while you are already employed. So, if the cons outweigh the pros of your current role, you’ve learned all you can, and you can’t change the situation to make it better, there’s still an upside. You can show up cheerfully knowing that this less-than-ideal position is still helping you snag that next step along your career journey.

We’re not going to love every day at every job we go to, and we’ll probably always like Fridays more than Mondays. But by taking every learning opportunity, making new friends and connections, standing out from the crowd by doing excellent work, and having a positive attitude, we can turn the daily grind into just a part of an overall dream career.

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