I hate my job!

"Hate" cartoon, "Comics Rock!&q...

“Hate” cartoon, “Comics Rock!” Fantagraphics Bookstore, Seattle, 12/16/06 (Photo credit: photophonic)

Most people spend around about a quarter of their entire lives working, so it always piques my interest when I hear someone say “I hate my job!” The reasons for such vitriol are legion but for many people, they simply say they’re bored. Working usually involves people, so it’s no surprise that some people say they don’t get on with their boss or their colleagues. For some, they are unhappy with their remuneration or their commute. In a lot of cases, the lack of prospects is enough to turn people off their employment.

When I hear that people hate their jobs, I am intrigued to know what action they have taken. After all, I wouldn’t want to be spending that much of my life doing something I didn’t enjoy. The question catches some people off guard which suggests to me that they don’t really hate what they do (or certainly not enough). At the very least, I would expect them to be actively looking for an alternative.

Maybe they have their hearts set on a role, but there are barriers to entry. In which case, I would have expected them to have started looking into what’s involved in overcoming those barriers. If qualifications are needed for the role, then have they looked into what would be involved in studying for those qualifications. We are lucky in this country to have lots of options for part time study into all sorts of subjects at almost every level.

A requirement for experience often feels like catch 22. How can you gain experience if you can’t get on the ladder in the first place? There are often ways to gain similar experience in tangential roles or volunteer work. If you can show that you have made an effort to acquire the right experience, particularly if it’s on your own time, it is bound to strike a chord with a sympathetic employer.

Speaking of sympathetic employers, it’s well worth talking to your current employer about the reasons for your itchy feet. Most employers don’t particularly want to go through the pain of recruiting a replacement, so most will at least listen. It may be that something can be changed about your current role to make it less onerous or maybe they have a role that’s more in line with your aspirations.

Having worked for only three employers, there have been thankfully few times I have hated my job. The first company I worked for was a blue chip establishment. I stayed there for a total of 8 years, so it can’t have been all bad. I have a lot to be grateful for. They paid for me to study part time for 6 years. So why did I leave? Firstly, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was such a small cog in such a big machine, I began to wonder if it made a difference whether I turned up or not. In addition, I wanted a career in software development. When I joined the company, they had hundreds of people in such roles. When I left, there were less than 3 dozen.

My next employer was akin to a start up. With less than 20 employees and only 7 software developers, there were no concerns about making a difference. There was a very tangible link between your actions and the success of the company. The assignments were varied and a huge amount of fun. Why did I leave them? Unfortunately, the work ran out and I could see the writing on the wall.

So that leaves my current employer. I have been with them for over 12 years. It’s fair to say, it’s my most challenging role so far and I love the variety and the people. It’s also small enough to feel like you make a difference. Is it a perfect employer ?-Not in the slightest! I think I have had a handful of pay rises in the whole time I have been there. The hours are long and I have to travel a lot. The thing that keeps me is that anything is possible and that’s an intoxicating feeling.

The only thing that might tear me away is if a writing career opened up…

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