Hate Your Job? Read This Now

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Slide1Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former financial services marketer and founder of Wellness On Less, is all about living well while spending wisely. Here, she'll be covering everything from how to spot a bad boss to the best wallet-bloating tricks you haven't tried.

If you’re like the more than 12,000 millennials — the population who are currently between 18 and 30 years old — surveyed as part of Telefonica’s Global Millennial Survey, you may have a peachy outlook regarding the amount of potential power you hold in the world. When asked about their ability to make a difference, 83% of the millennials surveyed believe they can incite change, more than 75% said they have opportunities to bring a new product or idea to market, and 66% strive to make it to the top “rung” of their career ladder.

But, what if the jobs you’ve found so far have left you feeling disenchanted, perhaps even wondering if you picked the right career? Fear not. We asked some career experts for their take on how to deal when you don’t love your job. As it turns out, you can learn plenty from the experience.

It’s just one tiny step on a long path. You know that sick feeling of dread you get every Sunday night or Monday morning on the way into work? That’s your gut instinct talking. Instead of ignoring the discontent and feeling anxious that you may have invested time, energy, and actual money into pursuing the wrong career, be honest about your true feelings — and pay attention to how you can use them to propel you forward.
Slide2Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
Pursuing a career in corporate law, Colleen Slaughter, founder of Authentic Leadership International, held a series of jobs related to the field. Though she had plenty of opportunities and even got promoted through the ranks, she eventually admitted that the “dream job” she envisioned wasn’t a fit. Acknowledging her feelings honestly eventually led her to pursue an MBA, which opened the door to the career she now loves. Though she admits that the time spent “waiting for the right door to open,” was uncomfortable, it wasn’t for naught. “Those jobs showed me that I could not only adapt to, but also thrive in, nearly any situation. This is knowledge which serves me in every area of life,” says Slaughter.

You’ll maximize the rest of your time. It may feel like you spend your life working, but the weekend (starting at happy hour until Monday morning) actually amounts to nearly 40 hours of time you have to do what you wish. Though being miserable the other 40 hours of the week isn’t fun, job dissatisfaction can actually motivate you to explore the and engage in activities and interests that nurture your spirit, which is an important component to work-life balance — even for those who love their jobs. “Fulfillment isn’t part of any compensation plan,” says job coach Lea McLeod. “It’s the outcome of the process of being a part of something. When you have a diverse set of experiences you define your own self better, and grow in the process.”
Slide3Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer.
You’ll be more open to opportunities. When you hang your hopes (and identity) on the pursuit of a certain profession, industry, or title, you’re setting yourself up for potential disappointment — and blinding yourself to new opportunities. When you can admit that you don’t love what you do — and accept that that’s okay — the world becomes full of possibility. “When you expect to love anything, you are actually creating a static idealized image in mind of what that thing should be. Any variance from that ideal could cause distress and negatively color the whole package,” explains Sally Rudoy, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. In fact, she says that one of the chief markers of emotional health is the ability to manage expectations in all areas of life.

You’re getting free exposure and paid experience. Making connections will only serve your growth in the long-term. Keep a positive attitude, and look at every person you come across as a potential avenue to a new opportunity — even if it’s years down the road. Additionally, treat your time on the job as a paid learning opportunity. McLeod suggests asking yourself these four questions: What skills do you want to learn? What experiences do you want to have? What knowledge do you want to acquire? What relationships do you want to build? “Though the job might not be the perfect happiness generator, you can find meaning and fulfillment in the process of learning in these areas, and in others. Figure out where it intersects with your happiness factors, instead of focusing on the ways that it does not,” says McLeod.