First and foremost, there are some basics truths that many of us just have to accept.
You will rarely, if ever, love everything about your job. It could be something as simple as your office not having a window and it drives you nuts. You wish you could stroll into work at 9:30 am and avoid the cost of "before care" for your child. You get my drift.
You will always work for someone in one way or another. Yes, even if you work for yourself. You still have clients and there will always be an element of answering to someone else whether we like it or not. The level at which we have to answer to someone may differ, but the principle is the same. We don't live in a bubble and if you are going to earn money, it's usually because you are providing a good or service to others.
Moving on -
If you have experienced a toxic workplace, you may be familiar with that visceral reaction on Sunday evenings. You know what I'm talking about? When you truly believe that if you just stay awake all night, Monday won't actually come - you will be stuck on Sunday forever? Many of us have been there. Not fun. It's as if your weekend ends on Saturday because your entire Sunday is consumed with the feeling of dread for Monday to come around.
Being miserable at your job doesn't have to be an acceptable norm. You find yourself complaining about your job to your friends and family and it literally starts to take over who you are as a person. I may be going out on a limb here, but do any of these sound familiar to you?
"It's just a job. Why do you let it get to you? No one loves their job."
"You're lucky to have a job! You have security, health insurance, paid time off..."
"Why can't you just leave your job at work? When you walk out of those doors, just forget about it!"
You then have an internal battle with yourself and start questioning if they are right.
"Why can't I just...
accept that most people don't love their job?
be grateful that I have a job when so many are unemployed?
be able to leave work at work and not bring it home with me?"
Any of this resonating with you? Well, if it is - you are not alone. I can't begin to tell you how many people I have worked with that go through this day in and day out. They feel stuck due to financial obligations that most of us have. We continue to go through the motions, collect a paycheck and hope that one day we will win the lotto.
I HAVE GREAT NEWS!
You. Are. Not. Stuck. You may have to be ok with making a few sacrifices, but you are never...ever...ever...stuck. Check out a few out of the box ideas:
1. "Job share". If there are parts of your job that you do love and want to continue doing, store those in the back of your mind. Then, look for other part time jobs that perhaps fulfill another passion of yours. For example, you are a Human Resources professional. Although you enjoy talent management and training, you despise conflict resolution. Perhaps you can create a proposal for a part-time (or even a Consultant position for yourself) as a corporate trainer for your current employer. Then, work on finding one or two other employers to do the same. You are not pigeonholed into finding one employer to pay you a full salary. If insurance is a concern for you, then that has to be taken into consideration when deciding how many hours to work for one employer. Will your employer always go for the idea? Not necessarily, but it's an option!
2. Be HONEST. I know this may seem crazy and perhaps it is - but I am a firm believer in taking control of your own happiness and direction (after about 20 years of not quite "getting it"). Schedule a meeting with your manager. Express that although you like your job (it's your manager - I'd hold off on telling them you hate your job), you believe that your talents can be used in other areas of the company. I have done this before - and successfully so. Take the Human Resources example above. You can simply say that you have noticed specific roles as an HR professional that you excel at and would like to delve a bit deeper. Remember: Stay solution-focused. Your manager does NOT want more problems to "fix" or more employees to try to appease. Go in with a solution that has the potential to help both you and your employer. If you can find a way to save them money - even better!
3. Take care of YOU. Perhaps one of the toughest concepts to grasp for most humans is the idea of self-care. We have been conditioned to believe that if we focus on taking care of ourselves, we may come across as selfish. What is self-care, you ask? Truthfully, it means something different to everyone. It may mean getting a massage, going on a hike (alone!), volunteering, working out, going to a movie or even just simply taking a nap!
4. Consulting. Yes, this is a riskier option to take into consideration. If you have been dubbed the professional "Job Hopper", you may want to look in the mirror. Is it the job or is it you? Maybe you are just a better fit for a career that provides more flexibility and creativity - more influential power and more independence. There are millions of people who are very comfortable with the 9-5 scene. They feel more comfortable and secure with a steady paycheck and are able to separate work from their personal life. However, if that is not you - you may want to think about Consulting. Everyone's financial situation is different and this is not a one size fits all solution. Some may have the financial freedom to leave their job immediately and take their time building a Consulting business. Others may have to take it very slowly and build up their clientele while working at their current job. Either way, it's worth exploring if you have a skill that you can build a business on. Now wait - before you say something crazy like, "I don't have a skill I can build a business on" - think again. Start with your hobbies first. Do some research. Believe it or not, there are Consultants to help you with this process. Life Coaches, Career Consultants, Business or Entrepreneur Coaches are all great resources to begin with.
Take a deep breath. That "stuck" feeling you have? Yeah...it's not real. You're actually not stuck in your job - you're just temporarily stuck on thinking you are.