photo credit: Andy Wilkes
You get up every day with a frown on your face. Grab your towel, drudge down the hall to the shower. Get dressed, eat some breakfast, kiss your kids goodbye and walk out the door. In half an hour you’ll be back at the job you hate. Tomorrow you will do it all again.
Why do you continue to work in the job you hate? Why do you get up every day of your life and spend eight precious hours doing something you resent? In this post I want to take a look at this common phenomenon and try to give you some suggestions to change your attitude towards work. It is time to stop hating your job.
30,000 hours of misery
I know people who have been in the same job for 20 years and have hated every minute of it. Now lets assume they work five days a week and 45 weeks of the year. That means they have spent around 30,000 hours doing something they hate. What a waste. What a waste of the precious time that we have on this planet.
Should I quit?
This article is not really about quitting your job. It is more about learning to love your job. But lets be honest. If you hate your job so much that you feel like there is nothing you can do to change it then it is time to quit. Be brave, start looking for other career options and then hand in your resignation letter.
When it comes to the end of your life you do not want to look back and say, “I spent 30,000 hours in a job that I hated. I wasted my life.” Stop thinking about all the reasons not to quit (mortgage, financial crisis, etc.) and find a way to make it happen.
Learning to love your job
I honestly believe that we need to do more to learn to love our jobs. It is not enough to just go to work and go home every day – we need to try and make that experience more rewarding. Its time to stop hating your job. It is time to realize that your own attitude can make a big difference to your happiness. Here are some suggestions.
1. Recognize how lucky you are
Seriously, we have it pretty good in the West. We have quite nice job laws that protect us in many ways. We get a regular pay check. And we get to go home to a house. Not a shanty or a plastic tent, an actual house.
It is time to start recognizing how lucky you are. Why spend your whole life cursing your situation when, in actual fact, your situation is pretty good?
2. Be more grateful
Similar to number one is learning to be more grateful. A lot of workers go about their daily business thinking that somebody owes them something. The boss owes them more pay. The payroll officer owes them more overtime. The Board owes them a promotion. No. They don’t. Nobody owes you anything. That is your own expectations talking.
Instead of thinking that the world owes you something why not be grateful? Be grateful for the number of hours you got this week. Be grateful that you have a dental plan. Be grateful that you made it to work alive, even if you weren’t driving a Mercedes. Learning to be grateful is one of the most important things you can do if you want to change how you view your work.
3. Think of all the opportunities it has created
When I was just out of high school I really wanted to go to India to meet some Buddhist masters. But I was broke. So, I got a job as a cleaner in the dirtiest pub in town cleaning up 20 year old’s vomit, cigarette butts and a whole lot of other junk. For a few weeks I hated it.
photo credit: trixnbooze
Over time, however, I realized that this job was enabling me to go on a journey of a lifetime. It was due to that job that I traveled to India and went to some of the most amazing places on the planet. I met great meditation masters and found friends that have loved and cared for me ever since. I will never forget sitting at the Dalai Lama’s teaching hall and watching him smile and wave as he walked past and thinking, “Wow! That shitty cleaning job just allowed me to meet the Dalai Lama himself.”
Your job has probably bought you a house, nice food, a car, medical care, etc. It has probably allowed you to do things that you never thought you would do. Think about those things.
4. Realize it is your own fault
I want to introduce you to a Buddhist teaching from a book called the Seven Points of Mind Training. In that book it says “condense all blames into one”. What this means is that anytime a bad thing happens to you it is your own fault.
Now why is it our fault? Well from the Buddhist point of view it is like that because we have created the karma that caused that condition to come around. A very simple example might be that you now have a bad job because you slacked off in high school.
Whether you “believe” the karma theory it is a useful slogan to use in your work life. The next time something bad happens to you think “condense all blames into one” and move on. Don’t get angry at the person or the situation, just consider that it is your fault and move on.
This is a fantastic way to live your life as you are no longer getting angry with the world around you. You now realize that your happiness depends on you. You and no one else. If you want something to change you need to change it. If a bad situation occurs it is up to you to rectify it.
So why do you still hate your job? Why do you still go to work every day and refuse to be happy? Will you attempt to change that attitude? Once you go to work with the positive attitudes mentioned above I can guarantee your life will be more meaningful.
If you have any other suggestions please leave a comment and let us know. It might really help someone.
I love the concept of learning to love your job, rather than quitting. Yes, this isn’t always possible, and I’m sure some jobs are really, really terrible, but for the most part, I think people can learn to love what they do. As I’ve discussed on my blog before, changing the situation (whether it be a job or something else) won’t necessarily make you happy. Being happy — with your job, your life, etc. — is all about you and your attitude.
The Daily Minder
Absolutely. It is not about the outside world, it is about your mind.
Thanks for commenting!
All good recommendations, especially #1. We take so many things for granted – food, shelter, safety & security, health, etc. – that it’s a good practice to remember that many people in the world lack these basic necessities.
Like I commented on Twitter – I realised in time that I was doing something I absolutely didn’t like and fortunately had the opportunity to change my life around.
As for the slogan “it is your own fault” – to an extent I can agree. I ended up in a job I hated (and was not good at) for several reasons:
1) I let my ambition get the best of me and let myself be steered into a management position while I knew I am not much of a manager. Being a consultant and manager seemed like a nice epithet on my businesscard. Wrong move :S
2) I listened too much to others instead of to my own inner voice. Everyone around me was doing the same kind of job, and was enticing the others to run with the same crowd.
3) I stayed too long in the situation, blaming others for the mess, while only I had the power to change things around.
Once I realised all this, things went quickly, and no, I wasn’t afraid to change. I simply set the things in motion that enabled me to go in a different direction. I started a new study. I talked to HR officers at my job to make sure I could make a new start. Ultimately I ended up founding my own company and have been working as an entrepeneur, making my hobby my work, and going to work with a smile on my face every day. It just dawned on me that I didn’t have to torture myself every morning by doing something that was not fit for me, but that I could actually CHOOSE to do something else.
Of course I had it easy – I had opportunity, money and a husband with a steady job so I could make a change pretty easily. But still I believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. The clue is just to DO it. Instead of thinking about doing it.
The Daily Minder
Fantastic comment. Thanks for stopping by after chatting on Twitter! Isn’t Twitter great. Thank you.
Nadia _ Happy Lotus
It is nice to know that I am not the only one who went searching for answers in India. 🙂
This was an interesting post. However, I think the problem is that most people are more concerned with making a living than living. We are taught in school that life is hard and we have to make ends meet. We are not taught to find our passion. So yes, you may have to work at job that is not your passion but you can do that and work on your passion in your spare time. I have a day job that I love because it allows me to have the schedule I need to work on my passion. I think people need to know what they want out of life and go for it. I think your point of wasting 30,000 hours is very valid. Great job! 🙂
The Daily Minder
Thanks again Nadia. Always love your comments.
Elizabeth Scott @ About Stress Management
Great post! I think it’s important for people to be able to appreciate where they are, especially in today’s economic climate! An immediate job change isn’t always possible. Here are some more thoughts:
1) Build in rewards. If you’re in a job where you get very little recognition, gather a group of friends (even just one other person–or yourself!) and create a supportive group where you ‘reward’ one another’s accomplishments on the job. The rewards can be tokens, like high-fives or e-cards, or you can take one another out for drinks if the accomplishments are big. Sometimes you have to pat yourself on the back!
2) Be sure your outside-of-work life is rich. Do at least one thing that you really enjoy–regularly! Sometimes people are able to transition their hobbies into second incomes and eventually quit their day jobs, but even if this isn’t in your future, it’s important to enjoy life. If your needs are getting met at some time during your day, you can handle job drudgery better.
3) Find things to make it fun. I love watching “The Office” because the Jim and Pam characters find a way to make a very boring paper company interesting and fun. You may be able to change your work environment in some way–think about how.
Again, nice post. I really enjoy this blog.
The Daily Minder
Hi Elizabeth. Number two is a really good suggestion. Sometimes I forget this for weeks on end!
Thanks for commenting.
There’s nothing so true as the saying “…You may not have a choice about what you do, but you can choose how to do it.” The hardest thing to overcome when seeking happiness in a job is yourself.
Nice article – but accepting blame I have spent a long time (10 years) at work being nice to people and have never had a promotion or raise – on two separate occasions people have lied about me and received a subsequent promotion.
In short this advice is very good as long as you are happy in your current position and have no ambition to go any further
My wife is thirty-five and still believes that she bears the blame for her being raped when she was eighteen. Failing to understand that you have no control over the thoughts, behavior and choices of others will lead to insanity and codependencey. Blaming yourself for everything that happens to you is terrible damaging advice. It will ruin your life.
I think the last comment has to be put in context. In this case is obvious that you don’t blame yourself for being raped.
But there are other many occasions where I actually find very interesting to blame myself. For example, today I really hate my job. (i need to change my attitude because I can’t change my job). The thing is, should I blame my bosses? I had an interview and they just explain me what i was going to do. Perhaps they were very possitive but they didn’t lye. So i was the “stupid” one who chose it. They pay me real shit but it is something that we also spoke in my interview so I shouldn’t blame them because I accepted it. Things like that.
In this way you can control your hanger and be nice with the rest of the people which at the end is the best for you.
I found this article very interesting. I work in a head-hunter. I hate my job and I talk everyday with people who hate their job and try to change into another. I can tell you that at this moment that is impossible mission in many cases. Well, then lets try to be happy with what we have. I don’t say don’t look for another job but you will have to cope with the same shit everyday because normally is not that easy to change your job. Then try to stay positive, and change your actitude and well, i don’t want to repit the article.
In other words, blame yourself for being taken advantage of because your basic needs such as food, shelter and health are controlled as comodities to enrich someone. Better to ignore that fact and just improve yourself. Oh, make sure you feel gratitude you are just miserable and not a prisoner of war somewhere or working in a sweatshop. How convenient. Then you don’t have to go through the possibly, actually courageous work of making a real difference in the world.
Don’t bother trying to improve the world you live in. Just develop “inner wisdom” and a better attitude.
The people who make money off of everything you need to survive love advice like this.