Many of us feel stuck in jobs we can’t resign from because of the state of the economy but there are methods we can use to cope with our circumstances
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In a society where the word of work has been hampered by a pandemic, the increase in retrenchments has devastate lives, in an environment that was already battling with unemployment. As a result, having a job (at any cost) is often viewed as a privilege. However, this privilege can result in two different things. The first is ending up doing something you aren’t passionate about and the second is doing it out of necessity. So, what happens when you hate your job? CAREERS MAGAZINE speaks to Willie Seerane, a Clinical Psychologist in the public and private sector, for some guidance.
Why do people feel like they hate their jobs?
Seerane explains that the root cause of people hating jobs begins at university where students are not accepted for the academic programmes they apply for, which leads to them enrolling into any available course. Additionally, a toxic work environment also leads to employees hating their job. Seerane says it’s not “that they hate what they do, they hate the environment because it stops being conducive for them and their mental and physical wellbeing”.
According to Fin24, a 2019 survey conducted by Universum SA shows that six out of 10 South African professionals are unhappy with their jobs. The survey states that one of the key findings is that job seekers want work security. Seerane agrees, adding that employees feel like they don’t have the freedom to do what they are passionate about and instead see their jobs as something they need to do to survive.
Is it okay to share these feelings with colleagues or bosses?
Seerane says expressing your emotions is important, so if you have a colleague you are close to or trust, you can engage them to gain more perspective. “It could be that you are [both experiencing the same thing] and they might give you their tried and tested coping mechanisms,” he says – adding that realising that you’re not experiencing these feelings alone can be a relief. He also points out that this also works best when you feel safe and secure, and a hostile environment discourages healthy discourse.
However, this can also lead to people venting on social media but he advises against it. “It might actually land you in trouble. Even if it’s not enough to get you fired, it may create [tension] between you and your employer and end up creating a [hostile environment] for other employees as well,” Seerane explains.
Is there a way of learning to love or tolerate your job?
Seerane says instead of falling in love with it, it’s more about getting used to doing the job because you don’t have another option, “so you’ve developed mechanisms that assist you to cope better with the environment or the job itself. As a result, you find it bearable to stay there.” He says this is because the alternative leads to frustration.
Although coping mechanisms vary from person to person, Seerane says they help lessen frustration levels which leads to increased productivity. He suggests being honest with yourself about your circumstances and whether or not you can change them, “if you can, then do it but if not, work on [accepting] it and see it as an opportunity to better yourself or your situation until an opportunity presents itself”. However, in instances where the frustration is intolerable, he suggests breathing and relaxation techniques, physical exercise or seeing a professional because, “if it’s not attended to as soon as its realised, it may grow bigger and become more problematic”.
Why not just quit?
“You really need to weight your options,” he says. He suggests that you draw up a list of advantages and disadvantages before you make your decision. The list that outweighs the other “assists you to logically and rationally analyse your situation”, Seerane explains.
How can you remain productive?
Seerane says integrity is important especially because you might need your employer’s referral. He, additionally, advises that you do your work diligently because how you leave your current place of employment influences how your next employer sees you.
How soon can you start job hunting?
Before you decide to leave, “make sure that at a practical level you have worked out a plan that speaks to you leaving and your wellbeing after leaving”, Seerane says. He says the right time to start looking for another job is the moment you realised that your job is not what you want to do adding that you should not quit until you get another one.
Even though hating your job may weigh heavily on you, there are methods to can use to try to cope with your circumstances and remember to plan your exit carefully.
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