You're trapped. You're either on your way to a job that you hate or you're sitting in the office reading to distract yourself from the unpleasant reality of your debacle.
Millions of US workers either hate their jobs or are actively disengaged at work. That's problematic for our culture as a whole, and even more so for each individual and their family members, who feel stuck in an unpleasant situation.
If you dislike your job and live in America, you're almost in a no-win situation. Almost.
Before you pick up a drinking habit and seek superficial pleasures in attempt to alleviate your deep-seeded dissatisfaction, read the list below.
Here are ten steps to take when you're working a job that you hate, but you can't quit:
1. Find enriching activities outside of work that you find fulfilling.
First and foremost, make sure that your life outside of work is the best it can be.
If your work drains the life out of you, then you need to find balance by engaging in activities that make you feel alive with a spark of vitality.
While it's impossible for a frustrating work situation to have no impact on your life outside of the office, it's important to do your best to practice gratitude for all of the great gifts that are already present in your life. That sense of appreciation can be the fuel that motivates you to drive through the twists and turns of your career path.
2. Take advantage of weekends, free time, and lunch breaks.
Similarly, it's important to maximize any breaks--because those are the times to get grounded. Instead of sitting at your desk during breaks, go out and take a walk. Try to manipulate your environment to change your internal world.
If that's not enough to shake up your routine, then add in some quick yoga or meditation. Taking time to get centered and process emotions that come up during a frustrating day will cut down on the amount of frustration you take home.
3. Assess your output and determine if you're over-invested.
Stop spinning your wheels. If you're giving your job everything you have and they aren't appreciating your value, it's time to re-assess.
Taking pride in going the extra mile won't be helpful to your long-term wellbeing if there's no mobility and/or you're doing something that's not enjoyable.
4. Evaluate the impact of your job on yourself, others, and your long-term wellbeing.
The reason it's so important to find a job that creates enough satisfaction, whether monetarily or due to the work itself, is because many cultures in this globalized economy revolve around work.
When your occupation plays a central role in your life and your identity, it impacts your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and your family. Sometimes the money or stability of your position isn't worth the negativity it brings, other times it is--ultimately, you're the only one who can decide.
5. Contemplate the barriers preventing you from leaving work.
What are the risks of looking for other work?
Sometimes the possible rewards for looking elsewhere outweigh the risks. The more information you have, the more power you have in making an intelligent decision.
6. Take a step back and ask yourself--is this a story worth reading?
You are the author of your own life. As you step back and reflect, if you're cringing instead of smiling, then you need to take action.
7. Develop a plan that works for your unique needs.
Whether you begin the search for a new position or stay put in your current situation, you need to formulate a plan. Either reach out to a professional for additional information, or figure out how you can make your current tasks more meaningful.
Sometimes a change of mindset is as important as a change in environment.
8. Hold yourself accountable to your goals.
It's time to step up! Follow through with your plan and create changes.
9. Trust in the process even if you can't see the outcome.
Sometimes what we fear isn't the unknown, but the known coming to an end. No matter where you are--whether you're stuck in a job you don't like or if you're unemployed looking for a job, you need to trust that what you are doing will have positive results.
Control what you can, let go of what you cannot.
10. Keep your eyes on the prize while appreciating each step of the journey.
You can't read your story from beginning to end, nor can you skip to the end and then work backwards. All you can do is put one step in front of the other and write the story that you want to read.
Accept responsibility for your current situation and enjoy the ride.