6 Steps To Loving The Job You Hate

6 Steps To Loving The Job You Hate

Many readers write to me and disclose, “I hate my job.”

You’ve gone from skipping to work, to dragging your butt. Little annoyances mushroom in the dung of frustration. Reasons vary: a witchy boss, unrealistic expectations, downsizing pressures, stagnating gifts, unrecognized contributions.

You’ve considered quitting, but that’s a bold move and another post.

I’ve made a career out of re-engineering my own jobs. There’s joy-packed potential all around you. Energizing possibilities abound. Grab the happiness that lurks in your day job.

Reinvent before quitting.

6 Steps to Loving the Job You Hate

  1. Name your frustration – Write down what’s really ticking you off. The big and the small stuff. Use as much paper as needed, and get it all out. Then step away.
  2. Pick the biggies – Find a big red pen and cross off the annoyances. Every job has crap like that.  Shake those off.  Determine the one or two game-changers. Focus your energy on addressing those concerns. You know what must be done. Listen to your heart. If you weren’t scared, where would you start? Talk to a mentor or coach, and make a plan. You are powerful. Use your power to change your scenery.
  3. Collect joy – Remember what you love. Negative feelings overshadow joy. Notice what makes you truly happy at work. Certain tasks? Interactions? Challenges? Write those down too.
  4. Forget humility – Write down your best talents. Not just the “work appropriate” ones. One of my leaders has an amazing rock band. I love to sing. You’d be surprised how many opportunities you can find to sing “at work.” Sure, in the long-run, confident humility is vital. But you’ve got to acknowledge you gifts to have the courage to use them.
  5. Create the job you want – Bring your passion to your job. My deep desire is growing leaders. My job description says I’ve been in sales, marketing, customer service, outsourcing… Not one of these job descriptions says “design and deliver unique leadership development programs for your team.” Or, “mentor anyone that asks for help.” Or, “spend your weekends writing an International blog to let your team in your head.” By investing deeply in those aspects of the job, I get through yawner finance meetings just fine.
  6. Look for special projects – Before our leadership summit, a frontline leader asked if he could take a few pics and video throughout the 2 day meeting. Yesterday, my entire organization received a fully professional video that lit us all up. It was an amazing investment of personal time and energy. He took it upon himself to leverage his gifts to bring more joy beyond his role. Skipping to work, turns heads.

How have you found more joy in your work? How could you?

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Filed Under:   Career & Learning
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

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What People Are Saying

Alli Polin   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

I feel the energy from this post! Pick the game changers and focus on what brings you joy – it’s there… just need to uncover it again!

letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Allli, That’s a great way of stating it. The game changers. Thanks!

Dave Bratcher   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

My favorite is “Create the Job You Want”. Often, I have found myself in situations where I begin acting like a victim and feel as if I have no control over my current situation. I read a great book called The Seed, which talked about the importance of getting the most out of where you are. Sometimes a move is the only answer, but often there is more to be done with your current company. So why not carve out a role you would enjoy and then work towards creating it. Awesome start to a Wednesday, Karin!

letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Dave, Thanks so much. Now I want to go to read that book!

Steve Borek   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Over 70% are disengaged from their jobs. Meaning, they can’t stand their job, boss, company, industry, etc. They’d rather be somewhere’s else.

I’ve taken many clients through a process. In the end, they have a professional life that not only pays the light bill but lights them up.

This takes lots of soul searching and owning who they really are.

Karin Hurt   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Thanks, steve. I’m curious. Has your process ever led to a Dorothy story… (think wizard of oz) where they found joy in what they have?

Ryan Setter   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Great post, Karin! I totally agree with Dave Bratcher – “Create the job you want” is my favorite, too. We all have the power to control that!

letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Ryan, Great to see you here again. Amen.

Gail parsons   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

What great advice. I am sure we have all felt like that at some time and your words can very be helpful in gaining focus and putting actionable items into play!

letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Gail, So wonderful to have your insights here.

All, Gail was my earliest and most important corporate mentors (testimony that your boss can also be your mentor). I wrote this post before anyone was reading LGL regularly

Gail, we could all use your continued wisdom.

Lolly Daskal   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Love the post!

Sometimes creating the job you want might not be the best idea JUST YET….

Because sometimes the reason you hate your job is because the discomfort, the disappointment, the dis-satisfaction you feel is coming from within.

Take a long look in the mirror before you start creating a new job.

Wherever you step next – you take yourself with you.

See what makes you so unhappy in the first place once that is identified work on humility, joy, grace, and gratitude – those are the elements you want to take with you and are needed to excel at the job you are now going to create.


letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Lolly, Such a beautiful and insightful addition. I hope (no, scratch that), I encourage all of use to consider your point. What is the true source of dissatisfaction… sure there’s external opporunity, but it all begins with deep internal understanding, and growing from there.

I’m inspired by your JUST YET….we must work to improve our situation.. we have choices… but first get in touch with your heart.

Thanks so much for being such an important part of this community.

Jon Mertz   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Excellent, Karin! Also, while creating the most out of where you work, remember to create the joy you want outside of work. Start a community initiative. Do charitable work. Purpose can be found in the extracurricular activities. Thanks! Jon

letsgrowleaders   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Jon, YES! So important to find meaning in all aspects of our lives. It’s not just about work.

Sridhar Laxman   |   04 September 2013   |   Reply

Great post, these six points are relevant, practical and important. Reading this got me thinking that there are two parts to the ‘job’ thing that creates trouble for us.

First, when did we as a society become our jobs and why do we live it day and night even when we hate it?. Second,our introductions to each other usually begins with what we do ( mistaking it for who we are ) I call this the ‘Designation dilemma’, the day I am made a Manager, I start lusting the GM title, when am the GM, VP is more desirable and when am the VP…..
basically, Its never enough :(

Creating a life purpose and an identity thats beyond just the job we do, defining values to live by and doing what comes naturally is probably one way to get out of this maze.

letsgrowleaders   |   05 September 2013   |   Reply

Sridhar, your comment is a post in itself… fantastic. So true. I just finished previewing Greg Marcus’ ebook called Busting Your Corporate Idol (coming soon), I think you will enjoy that.

Thank you for your enriching sharing.

LaRae Quy   |   05 September 2013   |   Reply

Great post! My favorite was separating the wheat from the chaff…every job has annoyances but what are the game-changers? To echo Lolly’s comment, when I’ve been in jobs I hated I found it productive to take the opportunity to discover where I truly needed, and wanted, to go. And I stayed in a job I hated for 2 years because I didn’t know where I wanted to land that would make my life better. I spent that time digging deep within myself to figure out what, exactly, WAS the game-changer. It’s easy to speculate but I wanted to know at a deep level what I needed in my job to make me fulfilled.

Great writing, and sorry to late in getting in a response…it’s been one of THOSE weeks….

letsgrowleaders   |   06 September 2013   |   Reply

LaRae, I really appreciate your deep contributions to this community. I agree with you. I’ve had jobs like that too… in hindsight they have been a blessing because they have forced me to consider so much…

Marko V.   |   07 September 2013   |   Reply

I changed a lot of jobs. Some think it’s a foolish, even immature. Others it’s brave (especially because unemployment rate in my country is around 25%). I agree you should give the job a chance. But, in negotiations, if you think there is a deal you must have — you will lose. It’s same with job. If you think you cannot live without it — you will lose. You will lose your self-respect and possibility for better career.

letsgrowleaders   |   07 September 2013   |   Reply

Thanks. Great points. You never should feel you can’t lose. That creates all kinds of challenges. Stay true to your heart. Namaste.

William Charles Quao   |   09 September 2013   |   Reply

Very interesting reading your piece. Will recommend this to my colleagues

letsgrowleaders   |   09 September 2013   |   Reply

William, I so appreciate your support in engaging more in the LGL community. Thank you.