When you stay in a job that you hate, it weakens you.
A few years back I came to realise that I stayed a couple of years too long in a job. At the time I had become used to living on the good income, I knew how the organisation worked and how I could work it. My internal voice was getting louder telling me it was time to go but the fear side of me kept saying I wasn’t ready and I needed to stick it out.
My work colleagues were also experiencing my internal push pull. One minute I was really engaged and the next withdrawn and frustrated. Although no one told me it was time to go, the best thing for me and everyone else was for me to take full responsibility and step away from that job.
It was bloody hard. After all, I had invested so much into the organisation, I’d brought in some great initiatives that I wouldn’t get to see through to completion and I also had friends there.
On the other side I was bored and I felt my personal power, the feeling of fulfilment that you get from contributing at your best, diminishing. My capacity to be excited by other areas of my life was also affected.
I came to understand that there are a few signals that it’s time to face the inevitable – that the job and you no longer fit. After all who wants to be one of the people that is burdened by hating their job.
1.You’ve stopped learning
We are all motivated by a sense of making progress. When we no longer have the opportunity to learn and grow at work then we have reached a progress limit.
Work becomes repetitive and constrained. Worst still it becomes comfortable and vanilla. I’ve also noticed that when people are too comfortable at work they start to resist anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. This change resistance spills over into other areas of their lives.
2.It’s everyone else’s fault that things haven’t worked out
When it was time for me to leave, it was because I had outgrown the work. Yes I had some very average bosses, yes I had loads of road blocks in my work and I could spend hours doing the “if only he / she would “. Ultimately it was me that had changed and that was causing my discomfort.
Blaming others is disempowering. It might feel good at first but it will be followed by a resentment that you think is directed toward the other or the situation, but it’s really you resenting how powerless you feel you are.
3.You want more in return
The stationary cupboard is a surprising example of this point. Often people who hate their jobs, will make a decision that the organisation owes them something more. So they’ll start taking stationary home.
They’ll also become more brazen than nicking a few sticky pads from the cupboard – in fact a few years back I had a manager that was really mixed up and attempted to steal a weeks takings, justifying it to me and the police that she was owed more. It doesn’t have to be physical theft, it can be working to the clock regardless of salary rate or producing low quality work or taking extra breaks.
I am not going to say that my life became all unicorns and rainbows when I decided to leave the job that I had begun to resent. There was some grieving. Without the experience of listening to and honouring my needs, I would not have expanded into a new awareness of myself.
There is something I secured that was worth much more than any job and that was dignity and renewed personal power.