I despised my bosses. I hated the long, demanding hours. I felt overworked and underpaid. My to-do list was endless, tedious, and most times, redundant.
This was the common theme of most of my jobs in my 20s. I thought I should be doing something else for more money and even more fulfillment.
Why was I choosing the wrong jobs? I would constantly ask myself, only to have no answer to sooth my frustrations. But as I matured, I did some serious reflection and realized the common denominator in all of these situations was not the bosses, the hours, nor the expectations. Though my positions may not have been ideal at the time, the jobs were not the problem. I was.
According to a recent Gallup study, about 70 percent of participants in their research claimed that they hated their jobs. Of course, I didn’t participate in that study, but at the time I read it, I could relate because most times I too hated my job. I thought I was supposed to be doing something else that was more challenging and in the field that I studied in college. While I’d always written for publications on the side while working full-time jobs in corporate communications, I felt that I should be working as a writer as my main gig.
So after years of complaining and reciting the words “I hate my job” more than enough, I switched careers; but, unfortunately, the same bad attitude that I had in the positions that I considered unfulfilling followed me into my new place of employment. Though a different environment, I still felt overworked and underpaid. Again, I hated the long, demanding hours. This time, though, I was able to spot my responsibility in my unhappiness with my jobs before I missed out on opportunities.
I am not sure what perfect position I was looking for, but it didn’t exist. Jobs, just like anything else in life, are what you make them. I had to get real with myself. Each job was a steppingstone to something better, but only if I had the right attitude.
The late Dr. Maya Angelou said it best: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” I knew I needed to change my perspective, or I would consistently be unhappy. I was mature enough not to voice my disgust or dislike to co-workers or my boss, but in the beginning I was also too immature to see that my new job was exactly what I needed. It wasn’t ideal, but it was a huge steppingstone in my career if I played my cards right.
As the study suggests, many people are in a job that they despise, or aren’t “engaged” in, but I can only assume that part of the reason for some is that they are doing what I did: focusing on the negative instead of the positive. If you’re in a job that isn’t in line with your ideal career, figure out what skills you’re using at your current job and see how they can be transferred to where you want to be. Then get serious about excelling in them. These skills can range from technical to personal capabilities.
While I knew I didn’t want to be a multimedia reporter that had to shoot, write, and edit my own stuff and work lengthy, unthinkable hours forever, I knew I had to pay my dues to get an even bigger position. I was in the career I wanted, just not in the ideal place and position.
Once I shifted my focus on what I could learn that would help me excel in my future careers, my attitude changed. My job soon got better and eventually I was able to use those skills to get a new position. I realized that most times we need to change our attitude and not our jobs for us to excel.
If you’re in a job that you absolutely detest going into, think about it. Is it your job that’s the problem, or could it be you?