What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

Quiet by Susan Cain: Summary and Review

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I’m an introvert and my husband is an extrovert. For some reason we’ve always felt like ying and yang. But for the longest I always felt in a way inferior to my extroverted counterparts. Like there was something wrong with me for not being as pumped as they were about a weekend full of parties or not immediately knowing what to say in a social setting. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I realized my personality had a lot of other gifts, that being an extrovert wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that being an introvert wasn’t half bad.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, pretty much captures the plight of introverts. The book is amazing at explaining the differences between introverts and extroverts, how we became a society that rewards extroverted tendencies and how introverts can hone in on their gifts and embrace their introverted nature.

Apparently our society was not always extroverted happy. We used to be a country built on rewarding those with value. It wasn’t until the 1920s, when salesmanship became increasingly important, that the extroverted personality became highly sought after.

With several case studies, from Rosa Parks to Rick Warren, Cain describes the differences in management style for extroverts and introverts. Turns out that introverts are just as capable when it comes to rallying people. Whereas extroverts tend to inspire action from those who would otherwise been passive, introverts are more likely to take good ideas from the group and implement them to increase productivity.

Cain then goes to discuss working habits. Creativity, she says is directly related to introversion since creativity requires independent contemplation. Have you ever seen an artistic masterpiece completed from a group? Extroverts prefer group work and introverts prefer independent work. In my own personal opinion this is true. I try to avoid the group work environment as much as possible. Unfortunately that’s near impossible, since most jobs love meetings, group projects, etc. I would be more than happy just doing something on my own.

Groupthink has become an increasingly integrated way of working. Many companies are using groups to get projects done. Groupthink relies on the premise that the ideas of the group are greater than that of the individual. Open floor plan work spaces are becoming the norm. Brainstorming eventually caught on as a way of group thinking without judgment. Cain points out many flaws including social loafing-group laziness, production blocking-only one person can create ideas at a time, and evaluation apprehension- fear of looking stupid.

Quiet then goes on to question whether extroversion and introversion have physiological roots. After looking into many studies, she suspects it does. She also questions whether environment plays a role in this. It does, but only to some degree. I find this to be a relief since I had spent my late teens and early 20s trying to be extroverted to no avail. I became a salesperson as a way to break this ingrained habit. In some ways I became extroverted from this, wanting to meet people and feeling more confident, but I was still introverted and wanting my alone time.

The last few chapters she discusses how an introvert is supposed to survive in this extroverted world. She points out a lot of introverts play extrovert when the occasion calls for it. She reflects on a few clients and friends that would put on a show when they needed to. They relied on social cues and body language to navigate appearing extroverted for the sake of others. She also mentioned that this was optional, there were introverts that opted out of faking it til they made it. She acknowledged that some introverts find acting contrary to their natural inclinations as a lie or a falsehood. This really resonated with me because I felt like I had been playing extrovert for so long. Not only that but I was failing at it. Other times I felt like giving up and that I needed to stop lying about who I was. It’s a relief to read that other people experience the isolation of being an introvert and misunderstandings around it. I spent so long trying to fix my “lack of confidence,” not really understanding I was just very introverted and I had other strengths like self-awareness and empathy.

Chapter 10 really piqued my interest. It discussed how introverts and extroverts get along. Of course my husband and I are the typical introvert/extrovert couple. Everything she said in this chapter had hit the nail on the head for us. Our fights were very much as described, with me pulling away moody and him belligerently trying to fix the problem. It could be a match made in heaven or the relationship from hell. One that could only work for with lots of compromise since the two very different styles of communication often led to some sort of conflict long term.

Overall I found this book to be pretty awesome! It was nice to find out I wasn’t just some unconfident, quiet weirdo that couldn’t socialize. I would say it’s not really a self help book, more like a really well researched informative guide to introversion. Susan Cain really did her research as she cited many case studies, personas and personal experiences that help her get her point across about the introverted persons experience. This is one of the most bought book on Amazon and I can see why, she is the expert on the introverted/extroverted personality discussion. This isn’t a very light book though, like one of those self help books you’d pick up as an afterthought at the airport, but one that is highly intelligent, thought provoking and honest.

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Check out my other book reviews!

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

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How to Job Hop Successfully

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Millennials are set to be the majority in the workforce in the upcoming years, that is if they’re not already running most offices.

5-10 years ago I remember reading article after article about how millennials were disastrous for companies because of their lack of loyalty and lack of respect for hierarchy and systems. Employers were scratching their heads trying to wrap their head around how to retain the best millennial talent. “What do you mean, you don’t want to pick up my coffee and work your way up from the mailroom? But that’s how everyone starts?!?!”

At the time, we were job hopping furiously trying to find opportunities that fit our best interest. Some of us were smart enough to realize that spending 5 years in a mailroom after spending thousands on higher education just wasn’t going to cut it.

I’ve personally had 8 jobs in the past 8 years! That’s a different job every year! Of course some of my employment was short-lived while others lasted 2-3 years. But honestly I’ve never stayed somewhere more than 2-3 years! Yet I’m making close to six figures in salary and compared to other comparable positions, I’m at the top of my pay scale.

So after 8 years of relentless job hopping here are some thoughts on how to make it work for you.  Is job hopping good or bad? That’s totally up to you!

1)  Realize the bigger picture of your position. Think about how will this add to your resume.

The only time you’re allowed to have a lackluster resume is during those few years after college. Even so, the lack of experience will cause you to be scrambling for meaningful work or any work at all. Because of this difficulty some people settle for the first job they land. Some people end up in the service industry like bartending or waiting. Others end up at a dead-end office job getting coffee for someone at a company that no ones ever heard of.

Smart employees take these opportunities for what they are and plan their exit strategy. They take on more than their role so they can add some extra skills to their resume. They bide their time while a side hustle slowly flourishes into a reliable business.

2)  You are not entitled to a growing career just because you have a diploma.

One of the hardest truths I’ve learned is that I was the only person that was capable of growing my career. No one else. All the dead-end jobs I ever had, the managers and coworkers would have been just as happy to let me stay there for all eternity as long as I did a good enough job.

Advancement? Ha! If you can call a 2% cost of living raise advancement, I guess so.

It’s a hard truth to swallow because universities and colleges tend to brag about how 99.9% of their graduates find jobs in the field of their choice within 6 months. You’re raised to believe that if you don’t succeed right away, it’s your fault. You’ll talk to your college guidance counselor and they’ll just say, “just network more.”

So for me job hopping was the best way to be in control of my work situation and career. By changing jobs frequently I was able to gain the knowledge I needed and move on to greener and more profitable pastures.

I would sometimes feel guilty for leaving, like, “omg, they need me…I can’t leave.” And I think people, especially women, tend to view their work like friends or family and feel loss when it’s time to move on… but at the end of the day we need to look out for own best interest.

3) You can give yourself some major pay raises by job hopping.

With every job you’ve taken, hopefully they’ve helped you add to your repertoire of skills so now that you’ll be in a position to negotiate and market what you bring to the table.

Here are the job hops I’ve made to help you’ve visualize what I did to make sure that each job and subsequent “hop” turned itself into a payday.

  1. Office job- sales job selling and organizing the movements of goods: $30K, 1 year period.
  2. Brief stint as a rental broker $1200. 3-4 month period
  3. Business owner- cosmetic distribution company- $5K over 1 year.
  4. Perfume salesperson- on and off for a few years, 8K over that period.
  5. Target Associate $3000- 6 month period. (I was pregnant during this time, so just needed light and easy work)
  6. Receptionist at a new rental building- 75K over a 10 month period.  (This was a troll position and I was definitely overpaid, but it was a blessing during the time I was a new mother.  It ended after 10 months because it was a contract position).
  7. Real estate broker – Year 1 $6000,  Year 2, $30K, Year 3 $45K.
  8. Full time salesperson for developers $80K

So my jobs were pretty diverse and but the main focus is that I’ve done sales jobs for the majority of my 8 years and, during interviews and my resume, I was able to convey how all these different opportunities helped me grow as a competitive salesperson.

Of course some things were irrelevant like that very short stint as a rental broker and that time I had to work at Target to make ends meet but those experiences still keep me humble as to how far I’ve come.  In the end I’ve left the more irrelevant experiences off the resume.

Overall, I think that job hopping has become more normalized.  People are realizing that they are not being rewarded or recognized for they loyalty and dedication but rather, treated like replaceable cogs in the corporate machine.  When there’s nothing to gain from staying, what is there to lose from leaving?

For me, my experience job hopping has been confusing and uncertain at times.  I wanted to know if I was going to make it somewhere where I felt I was earning a reasonable living.  And I finally made it!

My one piece of advice is to look at the big picture of what you need and want and commit to that over everything and everyone else.

Wishing you all the best of luck on your careers.  Feel free to share in the comments below.

Feel free to read my other career related posts:

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews