When You Hate Your Job

I recently met a woman who is totally frustrated with her job. Forced into a situation where she has responsibilities that weren’t part of her original position description has meant she is now working at a job for which she has little interest or passion.

What surprised me the most, however, is that she actually admitted she is hoping to be fired. She wants to be fired so she’ll be offered a buyout package. Even when I suggested being fired isn’t something one necessarily wants to see on a resume, she remained adamant that it was the best option.

While I can appreciate how unhappy she is in her job I just can’t believe that getting fired is ever a good idea. Besides, if she does find herself getting fired, she might also learn the hard way that a job you don’t like might be better than no job at all.

When someone is as unhappy with their job as she seems to be, it’s also likely to be reflected in one’s job behaviour—showing up late, complaining, and skimping on responsibilities. Additionally, being in a job you don’t like puts you in a negative and angry space that is bound to impact your relationships with others as well as shake your own confidence. It also spills into and reduces your motivation to engage in other aspects of your life. It also means you’re probably stopped growing, learning, and developing your personal brand.

Regardless, if you reach the point where you’ve acknowledged that you hate your job, at least you know it and can plan your next steps.

First of all, it makes sense to consider the alternatives. Is there a way to make the job work? Is there the possibility of a new position within the same organization or could the employer be approached about revised responsibilities and doing things differently?

If there’s no way to stay, that’s fine but before quitting there are things she can do to get ready for a job search. 

She needs to update her resume, get some references lined up, and update her pages on LinkedIn and Facebook. Getting connected with others on those and other networking sites will be important. 

If she hasn’t done so already, she will need to start a discreet job search as it isn’t a good idea for her boss to know she’s planning to leave until she has other options lined up.

From there, it will be a case of using job search engines to locate postings for candidates with her background, testing the waters by applying for jobs, and doing the networking to let colleagues and contacts know she is looking for a job.

When she does get a new job, it will be important to resign gracefully without making it public that she hated her job. After all, potential employers do check references and what you say about your previous job and how you say it will be important.

Resigning gracefully will also mean a minimum of two weeks’ notice, offering to help support a smooth transition, and leaving without burning any bridges.

Getting fired just doesn’t seem to be worth what it might cost you from a career perspective. A better option is to get focused on new possibilities to make sure the next time around is a more positive experience.

Posted on 06-25-12

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