What do you do when you feel stuck in a job or a business relationship you hate This is a dilemma most of us have faced at one time or another, some may even be facing right now. What do you do when you are in a job that you really don’t like or a manager you can’t stand? Perhaps it’s an issue with your role (responsibility with no authority), boss, or co-workers, or you’ve reached the arc of the job I’ve discussed in previous Curve Benders live sessions where you’re bored.
And, for whatever reason(s) you just aren’t able to leave that job or relationship (BTW, I feel that we always have a choice – some are just much more difficult than others and most people are not willing to be that uncomfortable!).
What do you do?
Here are your choices:
A) Suffer through the daily grind until you either get fired for your poor attitude or you find another job that you like more. All the while you’re in the position you make all of your other personal and professional relationships all around you nearly as miserable as you are, repelling potential colleagues, customers, partners, and bringing the company down. That’s certainly one option.
B) Create your own happiness and meaning in whatever you’re doing, regardless of the current circumstances or people involved! I know – easier said than done. And let’s be honest – not too many people can do this 100 percent of the time. Yet it is possible! It shows up in your attitude: a focus on the positive helps you find happiness and meaning through tough situations. It’s amazing how often that slight attitude adjustment becomes the real key to one’s success, real and lasting change, and upward mobility to dramatically better situations and relationships!
If I’m reading this article, I’m thinking, now what? How? How can I create happiness and meaning in a job or a relationship that sucks the life out of me most days?
Long-time friend and mentor, Marshall Goldsmith, suggests breaking your day down into one-hour segments. He calls them imaginary hourly tests. Let’s use the unnecessary, pointless, boring, complete time-suck meetings many of us are dragged into. You’re dreading everything about this upcoming meeting. Marshall suggests imaging the end of the meeting and asking yourself four simple questions about how you showed up:
- Did I do my best to be happy?
- Did I do my best to find meaning?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
- Did I do my best to be fully engaged?
If you knew you were going to be tested, what would you do differently to raise your score on any of these four items? Here is what others I’ve coached have shared:
- I would go into the meeting with a positive attitude.
- Instead of waiting for someone to make it interesting, I’d make it interesting myself.
- I’d try to help the presenter in some way instead of critiquing her in my head.
- I’d try to build a positive relationship with someone in the room.
- I’d put away my phone/laptop and actually pay attention.
So, if you find yourself feeling stuck in a job or a relationship you hate, pretend you’re going to be tested every hour. Your head and heart will thank you, as each hour you spend at this job or in this relationship is an hour you can’t get back.
If you are miserable, it is your misery, not the company’s, not your boss’, not your co-workers’. Why waste your hours being disengaged and cynical? By taking personal responsibility for how you choose to show up, you make a positive contribution to your company and relationships. Even more important, you begin creating a better, happier you!
How have you found a productive way to get through difficult circumstances? David Nour