Working a job that you don’t enjoy is not always fun, but it can be highly motivating. For one it will make you start thinking what you want to change. And for another, it will give you motivation and energy to complete this change. Before we dive into the detail, here is a short story:
When my partner and I decided to move to London both of us needed a new job. I searched for jobs on job boards online; he activated his network. My search brought faster results than his, but he found something that he loves. He describes his current position as the best possible job to have in his industry, and he wants to stay as long as possible there, probably till he retires. He never spends even a thought of having his own business; he puts all his energy into his daily business for this company.
I feel quite the opposite about my office. When I first started, I was full of enthusiasm, but very quickly realised that I don’t share the company philosophy, either regarding architecture or business. I didn’t want to change job again, so I spent months of being unhappy and sad, and counting the hours till I could go home. It was evident to me that I don’t want another job I wanted to work for myself.
Eventually, I saw that there is an enormous potential in the current situation for me. I can’t have an impact on the business model for example and this is ok, but I could try to change things that would affect the daily business and potentially improve it. I can learn from this tries and see what works and what doesn’t without risking too much.
Instead of being frustrated I started acting and suddenly got motivated again and even stopped counting hours.
So if you feel similar about your current position here are a few simple steps that can help you to deal with it:
If you don’t like your afternoon cappuccino, you don’t need to explain it but with the job is a different story. Try to explain (just for yourself) in simple words which aspects in your work don’t seem reasonable to you. Is it the office hierarchy, or is it the communication? It could be the way the tasks get solved or the way your assistant organise your files. Whenever something happens that upsets you—write it down. Fill your list for a few weeks, try to be specific – describe the issue and then write why you don’t like it or disagree.
I would recommend you to write on a physical sheet of paper and keep this one with you. You can make notes on your phone if you want, just don’t use the working computer for this.
After a few weeks, you would have a list that you could evaluate and define your pain points. And this is our next step:
Do the Analyse
Regardless how many points are on your list I am sure there are a few of them quite emotional such as my colleague drink his coffee very loud. Well, this is not a company problem, and you can’t bother your boss with them. Not now and not later. Talk to your colleagues or change your place. If not possible, buy yourself a head phone.
All other reasons that make you unhappy should be clear enough so you could name a small solution for each of them. Your assistant has a strange system to save your files—find out if this is a policy or her way. If policy—try to understand it, if it is your assistant’s taste—talk to her.
For every point on your list you should have a simple solution. It could be one step like talking to the assistant, or it could involve a longer process such as an introduction of a new company communication guide. In that case break this process in single, actionable steps. In larger companies probably more people need to be involved in resolving the problem, that’s why to write the name of the responsible person involved next to the task. In the end, you would have a complex picture of your problems and their solutions.
Think about change
Now you know where the problems are coming from you need a strategy how to deal with them.
In my case, I wasn’t happy with the way our drawings were organised. On different occasions, I did have a chat with my colleagues, and they communicated their concerns too. Before talking to my boss, I tried a new path on my own. I was supposed to start a new project, and because I was the only one working on this, it wasn’t a big problem to organised the drawing template on my way. So once I finished the first big chunk of work I presented to my boss and my colleagues. And see – they liked it, and we agreed to try this structure for a few months.
This happened nearly a half a year ago, and everyone seems to like the new template, and soon I will suggest the next small change.
Sometimes it is that simple, other time you need to talk to more people and get their agreement. Anyway, you can always start with small steps that affect only you and your team. And if this works you would have a prove for your solution and could suggest to your team.
See it as a playground
If you are reading this, obviously you are in a similar situation as I am and your job isn’t the perfect match for you. And probably you have also reasons to stay there. For me is my responsible position which gives me the opportunity to claim changes.
What is your reason to stay, besides from the money to pay the bill till your business can pay them?
Can you learn something new? Can you improve your current skills?
Spend some time thinking about this and yes write it down too, because you will forget it as soon as something stupid happen again.
As long as you don’t suggest to replace the CEO or rename the company, I assume your action plan would aim better working atmosphere, better quality or higher productivity. All of this things will be welcomed by your boss and are also valuable knowledge for you that you can use for your company later on. Worst case they won’t work, and then you should figure out why because to know what doesn’t work is even more valuable than to find out what does work.
Bosses like improvements
Yes, they do. Remember the primary goal of every company is to make a profit. Every suggestion that you make should devote to this principle and naturally, efficiency, productivity, time and communication improvement effect at the end the bottom line. Positively.
Also, don’t be afraid of changes and engagement with your current company, this is your trampoline for your jump to the business world. So, do your homework, and you would have a great star later!
See you soon