Remember the old Johnny Paycheck song- “take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more”. Do you have those “days” when you feel like the job has taken you to your limits—a customer yells at you, you get blamed for something you DIDN’T do, someone else takes the credit for something you DID do, conflict and power struggles wear you down, chaos flares from a lack of company structure, budget cuts are made, a merger or acquisition throws the rhythm off track, pressure builds to do more with less, a slacker’s behavior impacts your ability to perform your job, loud coworkers disrupt your concentration—-and on and on.
Do you stay or leave? When do you say “enough, already”! It is not always an easy decision. I think it helps to start with some self reflection. First of all- is the issue really the job or something else? Is it more about your marriage, challenges with your children, depression, a health issue, an addiction or another issue that is eating away at you? It may be easier to get angry at your boss than your spouse!
Second—are you a good fit for your job? Do you have the skills and experience, desire, and personality required to do your job well? Are you sitting at a desk when you need to be outdoors? Are you bound to golden handcuffs made of money or status? Where are you on a “fit barometer” with your job? Are you a size 8 trying to fit into a size 2? Are you managing people when you really want to be doing the “hands-on work”? I once worked with a woman who was an amazing “team player”. She drew people together, had a delightful sense of humor, and was very dedicated to the purpose of the company and yet I saw her burn out. She was in a position of supervising people and it exhausted her. She needed to be the “cheerleader” and not the boss.
If you truly are not dragging around other baggage and dumping it on the job and are a pretty good fit for the position, what might be your part in the challenges at work? What role do you play in the problems at hand? For example: Do you fuel conflict—by gossiping? by avoiding confrontation? by not initiating necessary changes? by not really listening to others? by not sharing information with others? etc. If you can take a real honest look at your behavior, you may see potential actions you can take to improve the work situation that you face.
If you have made an honest appraisal and don’t see how you can impact the work situation to improve it , then one option is to look at ways of changing your perception of the situation. When you look at the behavior of others, you often make assumptions about their motives that lead to how you feel about them. What if you are off base about their intentions? What else might be driving them to behave the way they do? Another way of reframing your work situation can be to see it as a training ground for something later that will utilize your current frustrating experiences in a very beneficial way. You get the drift….
Let’s say you not a good fit for your position. Can you acknowledge this and see what other options are available within or outside the company? It is helpful to have a good friend, colleague, or mentor help give you feedback when you are trying to sort this out. It is important to carefully take time to really get clear about who you are, what your strengths, skills and desires are for your life ‘s work. Maybe you have a long held dream that is ripe for plucking, a desire to return to school, or a yearning to try something totally different. What does your soul long for? If your soul is singing a corny western song—it may be time to listen!