How to love your work when you can’t change your job

Despite common belief, it’s not always easy to move jobs when you fall out of love with it. Whether it’s because there just isn’t anything else available in a small town, or because you need to upskill or get more qualifications (that you’re either working on or can’t afford to pay for) there are a number of reasons why a job change may not easily be on the cards.

So, besides throwing the towel in or sinking into panic mode every time you walk into your workplace, what can you do about it?

1. Re-learn to love your job
Something must have got you to your workplace in the first place that you either loved or were prepared to go through with when you signed on the dotted line. When you start hating your job, most things can seem terrible, but if you can allow yourself to step away from your feelings of discontent (for the purpose of this exercise, at least) you may remember these positives.

What do you enjoy most about your work? What are you excellent at in your workplace? That’s the area you need to think through. Once you can identify this, go all out to make it shine. If you’re the ideas person at work, plow your energy into sharing project ideas that can help improve the business, for example. Let everyone who can do something about it hear about it. While you want to leave your eamployer in the long run, a promotion along the way with more pay and benefits may help soften the blow along the way.

2. Renew your commitment to the job
Like a friendship that goes sour after a disagreement, you have to make an effort to patch things up. So work out what’s caused the bad feelings about your work and make a plan to do something about it. One important step is to change your attitude towards the situation. Since you know there are barriers stopping you from leaving immediately, there’s no point moping around all day. For one thing, that could get you into trouble, making an already difficult situation worse. So, make your mind up to muck in until you can get out.

3. Formulate an exit plan
A permanent contract is not a prison sentence – you do have a choice to leave. The question is, however, how do you plan to get out in the long term? If it’s qualifications you need, how do you plan to afford the time or money to take the necessary courses? If it’s additional experience you need in an area of work, how do you plan to get this?

Many women in the workplace shy away from asking their line manager for support in this area, but organisations are often able to invest in their employees (paying for courses, giving a day or part day release to do courses on a short or longer term basis), if only they’d ask. If you don’t want to ask your line manager, ask your HR department for an informal chat about training and development and then present a proposal to your line manager.

The point here is: do something about it. If you don’t want to be in the same position next year and the next, feeling no closer to to progress you must start taking tiny steps towards your ultimate goal of freedom!

Written by Joycellyn Akuffo

Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.

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