Most of us have disliked something about our jobs. From differing personalities and work styles to tedious tasks, and of course, the occasional odious boss, it is nearly impossible to love every minute of every day. But if you find yourself dreading your daily trek to the office, it might be time for a change.
"If you're consistently going to sleep at night or waking up in the morning wishing you could avoid work, that suggests you might hate your job," says Noam Dinovitz, a licensed therapist. However, you shouldn't quit without fully assessing what's making you miserable. Here are the steps experts suggest you take before handing in your resignation.
Evaluate your current situation
Before leaving your job (or looking for a new one), get a fresh perspective. "Read trade articles about your company or industry," says Lori Scherwin, executive coach and founder of Strategize That, a firm that helps professionals find happiness in and outside of their careers. LinkedIn is a good place to start. "Look beyond your role and bone up on what's happening around you."
There may be an opportunity to restructure your position or move into a new one. Or, you may realize your company has little to no growth potential, which-for some-is a dealbreaker. Plus, doing an in-depth analysis of your industry will help you understand where your dissatisfaction lies: with your colleagues, boss, company, pay, or job as a whole.
Review your goals
If you find yourself considering a new company or job, Dinovitz suggests you "ask yourself what changes you're hoping to see by making the transition. Is it more likable co-workers? More money? A better work/life balance? Before you take the plunge into a new job, make sure you can identify why you're unhappy now so that you know what to look for in the future."
Address the person or problem, when possible.
If your unhappiness is caused by a strained relationship and/or social situation, Emily Pfannenstiel, a licensed professional counselor, recommends you confront the issue directly. "Express to your boss or colleague that you're having difficulties and ask what they think you can do as a team to improve. This allows them to see that you're willing to be an active participant in finding a solution and are not placing the blame entirely on them." If your dissatisfaction is career-based-i.e. you feel lost or "stuck"-have an honest conversation with your manager. They may be able to help steer you towards your next move.
"Don't go in complaining," Scherwin says. "Start with suggestions about what you'd prefer to be working on and explain why you're ready for the challenge." A new task or project may be precisely what you need to to reignite lost passions or kick-start your career. And involve human resources or a union leader whenever necessary. Some people and work environments are beyond toxic, and in these cases, third-party intervention can help.
Start your job hunt
If you find you're no longer interested in your job, career, or company, begin looking. "Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile is up to date and let your friends and former co-workers know you're searching," Scherwin says. A little rusty on the whole networking thing? This guide can help.
Don't burn bridges
It can be easy to become overzealous when you get (and accept) a job offer, especially when the role you are leaving behind is one you loathe, but keep it professional. Give two weeks notice, offer assistance during the transition, and avoid bashing your previous employer-in the short- and long-term.
That said, leaving a job is easier said than done. Many of us have car loans, student loans, mortgages, and other financial and familial obligations which can make simply packing up and quitting not only tough, but out of the question. But it is important to remember: your situation is temporary. Circumstances change, jobs change, and difficult colleagues come and go. Policies can and often will be adjusted. So work with what you have while you begin your job search, and don't forget that your happiness matters.
The writer is a freelancer
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