11/4/14

I Hate My Job and My Life! Solutions that Help…

hate your job - do something

Sounds sad, depressing and without any way out. Some of you have already been there, some are there right now and some of you could be there at some point in their life and career. Hating your job so much that you start thinking you hate your entire life…well, I have been there and I found a way out and one of my dearest friends is there right now and her current status has inspired me to offer some optimistic solutions to her and to those of you who might feel like tomorrow is no longer worth living.

First of all, no matter how you feel, you don’t really hate your life. It just feels like it. So, life comes out of the question. Job is the only thing that needs to be analysed. And what you need to remember is that there’s ALWAYS a way out. Always. You just have to regroup and think clearly about it. And more than that, you need to do something. Just complaining won’t solve things. It will depress people around and you will end up complaining together.

Secondly, assess the situation – what do you really hate? Is it that bad? Is there something you know that can be done but you don’t have the power, the courage, the means to do it? Can anybody help?  To keep it simple, here’s what can be wrong about your job, here’s who can help and here are the solutions.  Please add more to my list:

What you hate
Who can help
Potential solution/s
Job – too many tasks
Your manager
Discuss openly and try to explain that tasks have piled up in time and you no longer have the time for all of them
Job – acceptable volume of tasks, but boring
Your manager
Discuss openly to see if your manager can redistribute tasks between the members of your team – maybe one of your other colleagues can give you something that is interesting to you; if you are interested in management tasks, maybe your manager can delegate some of his own
Job – difficult tasks you have no clue how to solve
Your manager
Your colleagues
HR
Try to see if your manager or some of your colleagues can help you solve your tasks, maybe they are more experienced; if not, try to get involved in training sessions, maybe the initial training you had when you got hired wasn’t enough or maybe tasks changed over time and you were overwhelmed by the changes
Job – no tools to do it
Your manager
You don’t have the PC you need, not enough paper, not enough access to the system, no access to a printer, no specific software that might help, whatever there is necessary, just ask for it. Sometimes there’s no money for what you need and you need to manage, but sometimes nobody thought you needed it since you didn’t ask. Maybe the person on the job before you didn’t know how to use MS Access to reduce reporting time, but you do, so just ask. If they can’t offer you what you need, check if you can bring your own. Sometimes the company can’t afford to buy you a Blackberry. They just give you a plain mobile. Try to see if you can use your own and maybe they pay something for it. In this way, you get to improve your work, make it easier and they pay for only part of a new Blackberry. Some companies accept this ‘bring your own device’ system.
Job – all about it, I need a career change
Your manager
HR
See if there’s anything else available in your company. If not, leave…

All the above sound ideal, but what do you do when you find no support in your manager? Believe me it can happen…what do you do whan your manager is weak, is inexperienced, can control his/her team only be means of force, only by imposing absurd limits (you get in great trouble if you are 2 minutes late, you get shouted at a lot, you get tasks that he/she is not able to solve and you know it)…trust me all this can happen, there’s no ideal company, team or manager. Maybe they were promoted for being a great communicator, but they lack experience, strenght in tough situations, they control the team only by force because of their lack of real confidence in themselves. A lot of managers practice mobbing to control teams that are better than they are. Also, maybe there’s something they know, but it’s confidential and they can’t explain their decisions to you. So what do you do then?


Manager

Higher level manager

Try discussing at first with your manager and tell them openly what your concerns are, then with a top level manager. If nothing changes, it’s time to leave. Here’s something you can’t control.
Colleagues
Colleagues themselves
Manager
At first try a friendly talk with those that bother you – maybe they don’t give you something you need to do your job on time, maybe they are lazy and you need to do more work because of that, maybe they boss you around, maybe they want to get promoted and they clearly try to put you in bad light in front of the manager - discuss about everything, maybe they have issues themselves and you can help. Maybe they have problems at home and it’s just a phase. Clear the air by starting an honest talk. If that doesn’t help, try your manager in a private talk then in a meeting between the three of you. If that still doesn’t work, try changing the team or try a higher manager.
Schedule
Manager
Colleagues
Try discussing with your manager to see if a change of shift is possible. Maybe night shifts are not for you, but there may be other colleagues willing to accept them for extra money since extra money is paid for night shifts. If your manager agrees, try discussing with your colleagues to see who is willing to switch.
One more thing you can try – see if working from home, at least for part of the working time is possible. If your job allows that, working a night shift at home in your pijamas and then going to sleep immediately after is different from coming to the office by bus, working the night shift and then taking the bus home again. You waste 1-2 hours of your own time and it makes a difference.
Compansation
Manager
If your manager can’t help, then this is difficult to solve. Sometimes budgets are very tight, especially if you work in a low cost area like Eastern Europe or India. Managers themselves are poorly paid there too. Even in multinationals, budgets are approved abroad ‘on the mother ship’ and they are low, low for you. Let’s be honest and face it. They opened the subsidiary in your country to do cost saving, not to make you rich. That’s life.  Try finding out if a promotion is possible, if they have other positions available in the near future. If not, find a richer company. There are companies which increase salaries for some lower level positions yearly by only 15-20 USD (around 10-15 Euro). That’s frustrating, but that’s all the mother ship in some rich West European country approves. Hey, they are used to a different level of salaries and they need to keep it. Your job is to do the same amount of work for much less money. That’s why they opened your position in the first place.
If a higher salary is not possible due to high taxas paid by the company to the authorities, try suggesting some other type of compensation you would be happy with - more vacation days, specific vouchers, a gift for your birthday, the company paying for gas for your car to come to work - try, maybe some of these can be easier approved.
Work environment
Manager
Building administrator
It depends from company to company. Think about what is bothering you – too cold in the building, too hot, not enough smoking areas, desks too small, too many people in the room, bad coffee in the kitchen, not enough toilet paper, I don’t know. Find out who is responsible and talk. Maybe they are not doing their job properly. Talk to them, to your manager, to their manager…sometimes things change. Sometimes it’s all about costs and things can’t change. It depends. At least try to see what is there to be done. Maybe talk to some of your colleagues and try addressing the issue together. Sometimes a larger group can force change.

Moreover, there’s one simple tool that can help you when you are so deeply depressed that you have no clue what to do to get out – start an objective list. A plan for a new beginning. Don’t worry about the layout, just get a pen, or an Excel worksheet, or an MS Project file if that suits you better and start writing whatever comes to your mind. Start with larger yearly objectives and for each large objective write down small activites that you need to get done in order to have the objective finished by the deadline you set. And yes, you need to have SMART objectives, not abstract ideas like “I need to improve my German”. Instead write “I need to be able to watch German movies without subtitle and understand what the actors say by December 2015”. That’s only an idea.

For example:
Objective “I must get a job in programming by June 2016”
Activities to be done:
-          Enroll in courses to improve my C++ skills;
-          Find and get a programming internship;
-          Buy C++ books and start learning at home;
-          Start a LinkedIn profile;
-          Enroll in programming groups on LinkedIn;
-          Connect with programmers and HR people hiring programmers;
-          Make a list of companies I would be interested in;
-          Start discussing with my connects to see what I need to improve to get the job I want;

What’s vital about these objectives and activities is that they must all have reasonable deadlines. Without deadlines you won’t do them. And if deadlines are not reasonable you will give up upon failure. Remember that!

What would you add to my list? Maybe your ideas can make a difference in someone’s life right now.

Thanks and take care,

Geo 

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