We’ve all had really bad jobs, and worse bosses. Jobs where we are overworked, undervalued, and underpaid. Jobs were we deal with difficult, or even toxic co-workers, and jobs that burned us out.
Yeah, I’ve been there, you’ve been there. Some jobs are so bad the only option is to do your best to get through each day until you find something better. You don’t need me to tell you about those jobs- you already know about them.
Most of the time, however, it’s not your job that sucks but your attitude towards your job that sucks. A bold statement, literally and figuratively, and I assure you I’m speaking from experience here.
The majority of my pain and suffering is self-inflicted- not intentionally, of course, but as the result of negative thinking and negative habits. Negative thinking and negative habits lead to stress, conflict, unhappiness, and extreme job suckage. Break out of your rut and get more out of your job and your life!
6 Reasons Your Job Sucks
01. You complain
Sometimes complaining helps resolve problems but most of the time complaining only serves to keep you, and everyone around you, focused on what isn’t working instead of what is. The more you focus on what isn’t working, the more you notice every little thing that isn’t working.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, try focusing on what’s right! Don’t repeat your complaints (say them only once if you absolutely have to), and do repeat your compliments!
02. You mind everyone else’s business
Keeping tabs, and scorecards, on your co-workers is an effective way to create unhappiness in your job. You want to know why?- because you have absolutely no control over what anyone else says, thinks, or does- talk about a losing battle! You’ll constantly feel like the objects of your attention has all the attention and power and they do- at the very least they certainly have yours.
Keeping your attention on your work and your professional growth will yield far better results. Do your best work, be your best, and you’ll experience a greater sense of satisfaction from your work and greater professional success!
03. You compare yourself to others
Every time you compare yourself to others you hurt yourself. You think you’re better oor worse than someone else- either way you marginalize your unique talents and skills by giving more mental power to your judgements than your work.
What if you stopped comparing and capitalized on your strengths? Take pride in your work, show and build the qualities that make you a kick-ass employee! Who cares what anyone else is doing- what are you doing?
04. You don’t say no
If you have trouble saying no you’re likely to experience frustration, anger, resentment, and burnout- yuck, no wonder your job sucks!
Say no when you’re honestly unable or unwilling to agree to a request and, believe me, your co-workers will respect you and you’ll have the resources to do your best work and enjoy work more.
05. You assume
Let’s say you think you know better than your co-workers, or worse, your boss. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but when you assume you know better you’re definitely making an ass out of “u”!
What if you think you can or can’t do something even though no one has directly said you can or can’t. When you assume you predetermine the outcome and fail to even consider the alternatives.
Every time you make assumptions you limit your opportunity to learn, to change, and grow. Don’t assume- challenge your assumptions. Ask questions! Be thoughtful and curious. Be awesome!
06. You’re waiting
You’ll finally be happy at work when…. when you get the promotion you want, when you get a raise, when your boss listens to your ideas, when you get the credit you deserve, etc., etc., etc. If you’re waiting for things to go your way before you’ll be happy, well, I’ve got bad news for you, you’ve got a lot of waiting in your future.
What if you were happy just because you are happy? What if you were confident, happy, and satisfied with yourself and doing your best work, and that was enough? What if you stopped waiting for life to get good and made the most of the good that’s already there?
What if the job have today was awesome?!
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Letting go of negative attitudes and habits is easier said than done but it is possible. Embrace the possibility! If you catch yourself repeating attitudes and behaviors that make your job suck you can, at any moment, choose to think, do, or be something positive instead. Keep it up and you may just find your job doesn’t suck. Maybe your job is pretty okay. Maybe your job is even great!
I love your comments! What other self-defeating attitudes and habits lead to unhappiness at work?Join the Conversation
Does your job keep you up at night? Do you work too hard? Do you care too much? Yeah, I’ve been there.
I’ve always been a little too serious with a highly developed sense of responsibility. This trait carried over into my work in a serious way. I tried to do it all and rarely said no. I stressed myself to the point it started to affect my health. After several significant illnesses I realized something had to give- my body already was.
I made a conscious choice to stop taking work too seriously. I had to give up my inflated sense of responsibility and importance. I had to make mistakes, have fun, let go, and simply be happier at work!
What did it take to stop taking work so seriously?
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I am virtually unable to be happy and stressed (or angry, or sad) at the same time. Focusing on being happy meant I felt less stress and was less likely to take every little thing that happened during the day to heart.
Being happy is easier than I thought once I stopped thinking happiness comes from the outside instead of the inside.
Be responsible for me and me only
As a manager I thought my employee’s performance was ultimately my problem. I tried directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. If an employee didn’t live up to my expectations I was sure I was the one that failed. I made myself crazy and undoubtedly make other people a little crazy, too.
I cannot control what anyone else thinks, says, or does- that’s up to them! I can be responsible for me and me only.
Be a team player
I not only took on responsibility for my employees and co-workers, I took on responsibility for the overall business success but one player alone cannot win or lose the game. The more responsibility I accepted, the more serious I was about my work.
Seeing myself as part of the team helped me give up some of my responsibility and share it. Plus, it’s just more fun to work with others!
Ask for help
If a job was assigned to me well then I was going to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Only it turns out whatever it takes sometimes meant working myself sick. Yeah, that’s no good.
Work is less overwhelming when it’s shared so I started asking for help. The best part of asking for help wasn’t even the help I received, but the relationships I improved with the people that worked with me.
Not only did I say yes to just about every request, I volunteered to take on more without even being asked! I’m sure it’s no surprise to you I was overburdened, overworked and over-serious!
I started to say no, not only to others, but to my desire to be helpful to others all the time.
My fear of mistakes was one of the main reasons I took work too seriously- what if I screwed up? I still made mistakes and I was seriously stressed out every time I did.
When I began to accept and even embrace mistakes I stopped stressing myself out and started having more fun with my work.
Do my best and forget the rest
All I can do is my best today, and nothing more. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of me, or expects of me. It doesn’t really matter what I think or expect from myself!
Since I don”t control what happens next, I’ve found it easier to focus on just doing my part. In the end all I can really do is my best.
The more I focused on goals, results, and achievements, the more seriously I took my work. I gave all of myself today for a presumed future win but it was like planting spring seeds and not watering them- with my mind always on tomorrow I wasn’t making the most of today.
Focusing on simply doing my best work for this day only made today a whole lot happier and yielded better results.
Believe in myself
Another reason I took work so seriously was because I worried what might happen if I lost my job. I tended towards worst-case-scenario thinking and imagined myself becoming homeless and living on the street. While losing everything was a possibility, it wasn’t very likely to happen. I needed to believe in myself.
I am a competent, smart, and resourceful person. When I was laid off I bounced back just fine. I didn’t end up homeless. Was losing my job difficult?- hell yeah, it was- but I got through it. Whatever happens, I’ll face it. I can do this!
If there was one underlying reason I was too serious about my work it’s because I was constantly assigning either positive or, most of the time, negative value to everyone and everything that happened at work.
Instead of doing my best with what’s in front of me I lamented and complained over every perceived injustice. I made myself miserable! I had to stop blaming everyone and everything to find some peace in my work and my life.Join the Conversation
One of the most valuable skills I’ve learned in Toastmasters is how to give helpful and encouraging evaluations. I’ve learned the best feedback is constructive and motivating.
Most of us have many opportunities to give professional feedback. Managers need to give feedback regularly (not just once a year!), as do committee members, project leaders, team members, and customers. We all improve and grow from thoughtful feedback. When done well, feedback is energizing and engaging!
Giving feedback takes intentional thought, purposeful effort, and skill. Effective feedback highlights what was done well, what needs improvement, offers specific suggestions for improvement, and affirms the evaluated individual’s efforts.
How to evaluate to motivate!
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It’s not about you
Giving feedback is not about you. Feedback is most effective when it focuses on shared, organizational, or project goals.
Assess the individual critically and without judgement. One way to do this is to consider whether or not an individual’s efforts were effective instead of sharing feedback based on whether or not you like them or what they did.
Ask questions first
Before you give feedback it can be helpful to understand the individual’s process, methods, and goals. Asking clarifying questions can help you make a thorough assessment that addresses real issues instead of evaluating based on assumptions.
When giving evaluations it’s important to be specific about what was or was not effective, and why. Use examples- lots of examples!
Make suggestions and clarify goals
If an individual’s efforts were not effective, offer suggestions for improvement and clarify goals. Make sure they understand what they need to do differently to achieve better results.
Getting right to the point will help the recipient of your feedback understand what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve.
Don’t try to soften the blow by preempting an evaluation with casual conversation as this method can be misleading and cause the individual to be surprised by your feedback.
Avoid hedging language such as “I just think”, “what you did was really good, but”, or “sort-of”, “perhaps”, “maybe”. Hedging language causes the listener to doubt your assessments.
Don’t expect perfection
No one is perfect. Mistakes are okay! Focus your evaluation on progress, not perfection. Consider where the individual is in their position, in their career, in their industry. If your expectation is based on ideals they will feel discouraged, not encouraged.
Give credit where credit is due
No effort is 100% effective or 100% ineffective. Make sure to recognize what was well done and ask for more of it! Encourage them to take it to the next level!Join the Conversation
I’m burned out. I’m exhausted, disillusioned, irritable, and depressed- all symptoms of job burnout. Here I am, writing a blog about work-life balance and my life is out of balance. How did I get here? How do I get out?
What I’ve learned from my experience with job burnout was surprising to me. I was doing all the right things to avoid job burnout. I rarely work more than 40 hours per week, I get 7-8 hours sleep every night, I take breaks, I do yoga, I go for walks every day, I practice mindfulness, I’m generally happy. Again I ask, how did I get here?
Burnout isn’t just the result of working too much. My job burnout was influenced by several factors including lack of support, lack of appreciation, mismatch with organizational values, and poor job fit.
I was in such an extreme state of chronic exhaustion I became concerned about my health, but checked out fine medically.
I found an online burnout self-test from Mind Tools and scored 66 out of 75, achieving the test result: You may be at very severe risk of burnout – do something about this urgently. “No kidding,” I thought to myself.
Despite doing all the right things to take care of myself, asking for support, and maintaining a positive attitude I couldn’t mitigate the burnout. And, let’s be honest, I wasn’t doing my best work in this situation despite working harder and harder.
Ultimately my only option to reclaim work-life balance was to resign my position, and that’s what I did.
Through this experience I learned there are many causes of burnout- some obvious and others that are less obvious. While I needed to change my situation to find relief, my efforts to manage stress did help minimize the long term effects of burnout. I was better positioned to evaluate my options and promptly make the right choices for my health and well-being.
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Causes of Job Burnout
Lack of control
While there are many factors you can’t control in your job and in life, being unable to control, or at least influence, details of your day-to-day activities is frustrating and becomes increasingly stressful over time.
Lack of support
To succeed in your work you need basic resources such as training and functioning office equipment to do your job. You also need information about management and organizational goals, policies, and direction. Without support you are unable to be effective in your work and you may suffer burnout.
Lack of appreciation
Receiving a paycheck is effective motivation but most employees need more than monetary rewards to stay motivated- you need positive, encouraging, and thoughtful feedback.
Work values mismatch
Everyone has work values, such as helping society, making money, having the opportunity to express creativity, having flexible work hours, or having a set schedule. When your personal work values are a mismatch with the organization culture you feel dissatisfied and this mismatch can lead to burnout.
Lack of stress management
We all experience a reasonable amount of stress that can be managed through tools such as communication, self-care, and setting boundaries. If you lack the skills to manage stress, you’re likely to get burned out at work.
External pressure and stress
Managers have a significant influence on the work experience of their employees. Some examples of managers that apply significant external pressure and stress are bosses that micro-manage, are overly demanding, or bosses that are demeaning.
If your boss has unreasonable expectations or is unclear about his expectations it will cause stress. You may also have unrealistic expectations of yourself, your boss, and your organization. Unreasonable expectations may lead to burnout.
Poor job fit
Job satisfaction is significantly influenced by our day-to-day activities as much as factors like our organizational culture and management style. A good job fit is found when your daily work activities match your skills and interests.
How to Avoid Job Burnout
Do your best and forget the rest
Do your part to do a good job and let go of the aspects you can’t control. When you obsess over factors out of your control you create stress in your life. When you focus on the things you can control you’re more likely to experience personal and professional satisfaction.
Ask for what you need
You may think your boss knows what training or equipment you need to do your job effectively, and surely effective managers possess this information. It’s possible, however, your boss may lack the training he or she needs to be an effective manager. Ask for what you need and you’re more likely to get it than if you keep it to yourself and seethe quietly in resentment.
Handle feedback professionally
If you’re not getting the feedback you need, ask for it! If you are getting feedback and it’s all negative, look for ways to understand the feedback, use it to your advantage, and make improvements. If you continue to receive only negative feedback, it may be time to move on.
Find ways to manage your stress such as setting boundaries, taking breaks, getting a good night’s sleep every night, saying no, and recharging your batteries.
Improve work-life balance
Work-life balance isn’t just about the quantity of time you spend at work versus home, it’s about the quality of your time. Do more of what you love, and less of what you don’t.
Pursue other opportunities
When your job isn’t a good fit, or your work values don’t match that of your organization, you may need to pursue opportunities in another department, or another organization.
Job burnout is a serious condition that can lead to health problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, obesity, heart disease, and more. If you’re at risk for burnout, reassess your situation and take whatever steps are necessary to take care of you!
I love your comments! Have you experienced burnout at work? How did you handle it?
I read an article listing the top things never to say to your boss. It was a ridiculous article that focused on the boss’s needs and made employees sound like whiny self-centered complainers, which in my professional experience this is very rarely the case.
The vast majority of people I’ve worked with throughout my career have been hard-working and dedicated employees with frustrations, struggles, and occasionally negative phrasing that is the result of bad habits not a bad attitude.
For most of us, staying on good terms at work is important, but viewing work as work and putting your boss’s needs in front of your own is not the way to live a balanced, happy, and healthy life.
Instead, I take care of myself first and do no harm to others. When I focus on me instead of everyone else, I am a better employee and a better person. When I manage my mental, emotional, and physical health I am successful in just about anything I do!
I’m going to take the focus off what your boss wants to hear and consider common phrases that don’t show you at your best. It’s not about your boss- it’s about you. This is your life, don’t you want to rock it?! Hell yeah!
6 phrases to avoid in the workplace
Assuming you’re a conscientious employee with a few bad habits, let’s take a look at some phrases that don’t show you for the awesome employee you really are!
Saying no can be a good thing, but saying “I can’t” to imply you’re not capable is unfair and untrue. (You can!)
Many years ago I would often say “I can’t” and then go on to do the thing I said I couldn’t possibly do. Unfortunately even proving myself wrong wasn’t enough to give me confidence- I had to believe in myself first.
Believe you can do anything you decide to you- you may not do it expertly, you may not even do it well, but you CAN do it!
This may be a stupid question…
Don’t call yourself stupid and you won’t appear less intelligent than you really are. When you make self-deprecating statements other people may start to see you that way. Worse yet, you may start to see you that way!
I’m here to tell you you are not stupid! No matter who you are, you’ve got smarts! You’ve got skills! You’ve got talents! Don’t sell yourself short.
I’m sorry to bother you…
You are important and so is anything you have to say. Starting off a conversation by suggesting your presence is an annoyance is undervalues your contributions in your workplace and can set a negative tone for the conversation that follows.
If you approach a co-worker and you truly feel you need to justify the interruption try, “please excuse the interruption”. Simple, effective, and respectful to you and the person you’re talking to.
Did you hear…
Anything you’ve got to say that starts with “did you hear” is usually just gossip. Maintain your good reputation with customers and co-workers by sharing your news, not anyone else’s. If it’s not about you, don’t talk about it. You’ll be more successful focusing on making the best of your day instead of focusing on what happened to someone else.
Don’t tell anyone, but…
This goes right along with “did you hear” and “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this”. Just don’t go there! You’re too awesome for gossip and any topic that is confidential needs to be kept that way. Keep the focus on yourself and your work and you’ll make great contributions to your workplace!
Complaining focusing on everything that’s wrong in your workplace and sets a negative tone to your workday. Sure, there are frustrations and annoyances at work but that’s what you talk about, that’s what you’ll keep getting. Stop complaining and you’ll enjoy work more!
3 awesome phrases to use often in the workplace
You’re awesome and you know it! Here’s some positive phrases that will boost your professional satisfaction and enhance your career success!
Gratitude can make every day a great day. Being thankful benefits you as much as it others. Gratitude helps you gain perspective and reminds you there’s something good in every day.
If someone did great, tell them! Everyone appreciates having their hard work acknowledged and it’s a great way to create a supportive, positive, and friendly workplace!
How can I help?
Being of service to others benefits you in more ways than one! When you help others you have the opportunity to share your expertise and become known as an authority on that topic. You also become part of a community that will no doubt help you some time in the future. Helping others is also a great way to expand your experience and grow by applying your expertise to new areas.
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You didn’t get the job you wanted. You were passed over for promotion. Your boss didn’t listen to your ideas. The customer went with another vendor. There are many situations that lead to professional disappointment.
Disappointment can’t be avoided but it can be managed. Managing disappointment is the difference between getting stuck in fear, frustration, and doubt, and using the experience learn, grow, and embrace the next opportunity that comes your way.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” ~ Helen Keller
I recently experienced a professional disappointment that took me a day or so to shake. My disappointment came when I gave a presentation that flopped. Big time. Even though I gave my best presentation I felt embarrassed at my failure to connect with the audience and deliver a great speech. I felt discouraged.
After recovering from the initial sting of disappointment I thought to myself, “I’m going to write about this.” Now, I didn’t decide to write about this because the disappointment didn’t shake me or because I knew exactly how to move past the disappointment; I decided to write about it because I needed to brainstorm solutions and work some creative problem solving magic! So my presentation didn’t go well- so what? Life’s too short to be unhappy any longer than absolutely necessary.
Come on and read on for some of my ideas for dealing with disappointment!
No matter how hard I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, I can’t turn my feelings on and off like a faucet. Sometimes I just have to feel what I’m feeling- to be in that feeling for a moment or two. It’s important not to wallow there, but simply acknowledge my feelings. Yep, I’m feeling disappointed. Oh, hello there, disappointment.
Do something nice for yourself
This is the perfect opportunity to treat myself extra nice! To take a few minutes to do something I enjoy like snuggle up with my dogs, take a walk, take a nap, or catch up with a favorite TV show.
Learn from it
Okay so things didn’t go my way- why? Could I have done something differently? What am I willing to do differently next time? There’s always something to learn and doing so helps me be more effective and more resilient.
We’ve all experienced disappointment and sharing our experiences is a great way to help others and build relationships- kinda like I’m sharing my experience with you right now. If you’re struggling with disappointment I hope you find a little wisdom and release here. If you’ve experienced disappointment maybe you can share it with someone else and help them through this challenge.
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Try, try again
No doubt I’ll have another opportunity to give a presentation in the near future and I’m going to take it! I’ve found the best way to build my confidence and ability is to keep practicing, keep trying, keep doing. I can do this!
Be open to other opportunities
More than once I’ve been disappointed when I didn’t get a job or promotion I wanted only to find another great opportunity was just around the corner!
The key is being open to another opportunity instead of focusing on the opportunity that didn’t work out. It’s done. It’s in the past. If I want to be successful I have to stop looking back and look ahead.
Make the best of it
Sometimes I just have to be open to seeing my situation from a new perspective. I’m a master of making the best of whatever is in front of me. I can’t always change my situation but I can change my attitude. If my attitude is poor, no one is going to want to offer other opportunities.
Keep being awesome!
I choose embrace my inner awesome and you can, too! Sure, we’ve all got weaknesses and we all have strengths. The best way to turn around a disappointment is to keep kicking ass each and every day. Yeah!
I love your comments- keep ‘em coming! What’s your best tip for dealing with disappointment? What’s your biggest challenge when dealing with disappointment? How are you going to be awesome today?Join the Conversation