Hate Your Job? It Could Be Your Fault

by Vibha Dhawan on 12 January 2011 7 comments
Photo: PeskyMonkey

In today’s world, ”I hate my job” is something we have all said or heard at one point in our lives. Though you can enjoy life with a job you dislike that pays your bills, my idea of life is not just enjoying a fraction of it, it’s enjoying the whole package itself. Do you spend your week waiting for Fridays and the weekends dreading Sundays?

Let me compare the job hunting process to finding your better half. How long do average people spend to find their ideal mates? We may come across several people in our lives and chose to date a few. We take years to ensure that we are with the right person, from analyzing their every action to digging into their past. We conduct so many verifications, even though we may have fallen in love right at the start.

So what about the other half of your life? How long did you take to decide what job you would take? A day? A week maybe? Did you give yourself options, or did you simply pick the first job that was offered with a decent package? It is important to realize that we spend at least equal if not more time of our active adult lives at work as with our better halves. Though I’m not saying that our working lives are more important than our relationships, I just wish to stress that we may not be putting in the time and effort the job-hunting process deserves.

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances may cause the frustration at work, though in most cases all it takes is a little due diligence to avoid the additional stress. Here are some thoughts that will enhance your job-searching process:

Research the Company

Now this may sound like a “duh” moment, but you will be surprised at how superficially this task is performed. It is important to know what the company does and where its offices are located, but these are not the vital facts you are looking for. In addition, one should research the company values as well: Are they profit oriented and fast paced? Or maybe they regard employee satisfaction as a key parameter to success? Are they quality or quantity focused? Ensure that your values are aligned with that of your company.

A person who likes to do things quickly will feel stuck and frustrated in a slow organization where nothing gets done, while if you like to work at your own pace, a fast-paced company will be a nightmare. Try to learn about the office culture as well. No matter how great the company values may sound, if the office culture is radically different from what you like, you’re back at square one. You don’t want to be a late morning person getting into an office culture where 7 a.m. meetings are a norm, or an early morning person getting into a company where things start to pace up only after noon.

Some may argue that you don't have to agree or like everything at work, but I personally believe that taking into account these minor details can make a huge impact in your everyday life. Not only will it reduce additional stress, a comfortable office environment will also enhance your productivity enabling you to succeed at a much higher pace.

Interview Your Manager

This task will probably be the determining factor between your job choices. Have a list of well-thought-out questions for your manager. Not only will this help you decide, it will also put you a step higher in the interview process as they see the effort you’ve put in. Ask what is expected of you and the level of independence you will have. Does your manager like things done a certain way or do you have your creative space? Are there set procedures to follow or are you expected to develop your own? Is formal training provided or will you learn as the days pass by? There are numerous questions that you can ask your boss that would give you a better insight of how and where you fit in.

Talk to Ex-Employees or Colleagues

If you want to go a step further, you could get in touch with ex-employees or colleagues in the industry who can give you their perspective on the company. Websites like RateYourJob-RateYourBoss or social networking sites like LinkedIn can have an enormous amount of inside information, things you’d never know otherwise. Though opinions can be biased and should be taken with a pinch of salt, closing your eyes to information will only land you in the ditch. See what the world has to say, do your research, and further enhance the quality of your decisions.

Just because a potential employer is a Fortune 500 company does not mean that it is the best for you, and just because the package is lucrative does not guarantee a positive work environment. Your work life has an immense impact on your overall happiness as well as your physical and mental health, and it should not be taken casually. Life already has its share of ups and downs: Why add to them simply because of ignorance?

This is a guest post by Vibha Dhawan. Vibha enjoys writing about life, from questioning the bases of our existence to wondering why we feel the way we do. She's fascinated by little things in life, it doesn't take much to make her smile. Read more by Vibha:

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Guest's picture
Brie

The first tip is so crucial! Researching the company ahead of time will save you lots of frustration down the road. This is especially true if you are looking for telecommuting or flexible work opportunities.

My best suggestion related to this tip is to do a keyword search for the company name AND words like "complaint" or "scam" to see if anything negative comes up. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau website to see if the company is rated. The more research you do before accepting the job, the less frustration you'll run into as an employee.

Guest's picture

Vibha,

Your tips are great (and I agree with all), but I blame the education system.

Most people leave high school (and even college) with no concept of the wide array of career options, no idea of the differences in working for a small company vs a large company, and often no clue about what a day in the life is like for that profession.

Internships are great, but they should be mandatory to earn a degree in a field. Conceptual knowledge will only get you so far, and it CERTAINLY won't guarantee job satisfaction.

What do you think of this addendum? Perhaps it's could be a follow up article?...

Great job,
Jane

Guest's picture
Vibha

Great point Jane! Internships are definitely very important and give new graduates a reality check about the working world. It also gives them an opportunity to see what they like and dislike and therefore be better prepared at graduation.

Those are some very valuable thoughts to ponder over and you never know, it may just turn into an article. :)

Thank you!
Vibha

Guest's picture
kiki

Wow, those are great tips. We often think the money will make us happy but when we are happier with the job, we are more productive!

Guest's picture

Thanks for the tips. It's our duty to plan ahead more. Ultimately it's our life that's at stake. A job doesn't need to be stresful.

Guest's picture
Guest

The problem seems to be that people expect their job to be perfect, wonderful, inspiring, etc.. most jobs will never be that.

Previous generations got a job, stuck with it, didn't worry, and used the money from the job to have a good life. We spend all our time worrying that we don't have a good job.

I'm starting to think that "your job is what you make it". It doesn't really matter what it is, take pride in it, do it well, enjoy it. Then go home and have fun.

Guest's picture
Vibha

Thats true too, sometimes the 'fun' aspect in a job is overrated and again leads to unnecessary stress. One needs to be real about their expectations from their jobs and life won't seem that bad.

On the other hand if considerable time is spent in the job hunting process, extremely long commutes or unhealthy working environments can be avoided making your everyday life much more relaxed and enjoyable.