Well, of course the easy answer is to “leave it and find something else.”
It’s not that simple, though. Technically, it is that simple, but in actuality, there’s way more that goes into making changes than just impulsively deciding on doing something.
Here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re faced with hating your job and feeling stuck about it.
- Is this sudden or ongoing?
This is an important question. If this is something sudden, then the idea is that it might pass. If it’s something that’s ongoing (i.e. for longer than three months), then it might be a sign that things aren’t going to get better for you. Maybe you’re being undervalued, underpaid, or overworked, but the longer something goes on, the higher the likelihood that it will continue.
- Is your company in a transition or has there been a recent transition?
Also an important question. Transitions suck. They’re uncomfortable and foreign. They lead to people feeling unsettled and off-kilter, questioning whether they’ve done the right thing and/or wondering if they’ll ever feel better and grounded. Which is why it’s important to reflect on whether there’s been any recent transitions (or current transitions) where you’re working.
If you’re in the middle of one, it might be worth it to stick it out and see were the chips fall. If you’re not in a transition and horribly unhappy, then maybe it’s time to start to look elsewhere (or to think about looking elsewhere).
- What aspects of your job do you like?
Take a second and reflect on your current job. What aspects of it do you like? Maybe it’s your coworkers, or your boss, or the company values, or your time with clients/customers, or your time away from clients/customers, or the meetings you have, or something else entirely. The point is that identifying some aspect of your job that you like (if any) is going to result in more clarity for you when you go to make a change. You’ll know what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to shed.
- What aspects of your job do you dislike?
Similar to the previous question, it’s equally important to get a sense of what you don’t like. Then, when you go to make a change, you can say (with confidence) what you’re looking for in a position and what you’re not looking for. Both are important.
- If you were to change jobs, what would you need to do to ensure it was a successful shift?
This is just to get your mind going regarding the barriers and bridges that could help you with a career or job change. Think hypothetically about yourself, ask yourself what your best friend would say (or your partner or your family), write about it first thing in the morning in a free-flowing way (i.e. to hell with grammar and structure), draw - do something that can get you outside of your head.
That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get your gears grinding (hopefully). It’s not as though this is an easy shift for people to make, and it’s definitely not always the case that you can (or should) make a quick decision without thinking it through just a little bit. When you can answer question five with some confidence, then I’d say you’re closer to making a change than you were previously. And if you’ve known the question to answer five, then maybe it’s time to whittle down a little further and start actually planning that change. Tim is great for that and can help you along the way. It’s hard to go at it alone!