I was sitting in a restaurant the other day waiting for my friend to arrive and I overheard two people speaking on the next table to me. One was obviously upset and said to the other, "I can't wait for the weekend — two whole days off!" Many of us say that but this was only Monday!
It saddens me to think that so many people are apparently working in jobs that they hate and can't wait to leave work. They can't bear the thought of getting out of bed in the morning, and having to ‘psyche themselves up' for the working day ahead. It would be great if everyone loved their work but the unfortunate reality is that very many do not.
Many individuals feel trapped in their daily activity but see little opportunity to change it as they have financial commitments and the thought of leaving to trying to find another job with another company is worse than the existing job.
My column frequently addresses what the employer should do to ensure that they maintain a healthy workplace culture. A workplace where employees come to work and they feel welcomed, valued and recognised. A place where employees feel they are an integral part of the vision of the organisation and valued for their contribution.
These components are all valuable and provide a culture where employees are happy at work. But what about the organisations who don't value and respect their staff but where employees are demoralised, undervalued, bored and hate what they do.
What is it that employees can do themselves? You may well say, ‘vote with your feet', and of course that is one option but with the current economic climate, that maybe easier said than done.
There are many interventions that can help this situation but let us look at three of those before making any hasty decisions.
1. Stop saying ‘I hate my job' [to yourself and to others]. Change this thinking to ‘what can I do to improve my situation?' Try some positive self-talk each day before arriving at the office, rather than the usual negative thoughts. Think of how you can create a better day for yourself rather than accepting that it will be the same as yesterday.
2. Try and make some changes from within. Are you the only one that is unhappy? Check this out with your colleagues. Do you all dread coming into work? Try and have an open and honest conversation with your boss and explain how you are feeling and what actions you think might work to help the situation. Now, you may say that this is not an easy conversation to have and I would agree with you. It needs careful planning. It is also essential that your boss can see that you have a genuine problem to discuss about the work environment or the existing management of the department that is affecting both you and your colleagues. Your boss should hopefully realise that if you are happy at work, then you will be motivated to work harder and be more productive — which can only be good news.
3. Ask for a transfer. If you have tried everything that you can to bring about a change to your working conditions and you can do no more, then you could try approaching the personnel manager to explain the situation and to see whether there could be a transfer or a shift change.
However, if you have really reached the point where it is apparent that nothing further can be done to bring about an acceptable position, then at least if you make the decision to leave, you will know that you have done everything in your power to attempt to improve matters before resigning. If you have an opportunity for an exit interview, then you could outline some of your issues in a clear and factual way. However, try to make your exit with no hard feelings as you will probably need a reference from the company, to take with you.
Taking control of the situation rather than the situation taking control of you can only be of value to you in the future. Good luck!
The author is a BBC guest-broadcaster and motivational speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management consultancy and her new book, Show Stress Who's Boss! is available in all good bookshops.
- Try to improve your own work environment.
- Talk to your boss about your problem.
- If you must leave, then do so amicably.