Q&A: What Should I Do When My Dream Job Becomes My Worst Nightmare?

Question: I used to be happy with my job but I’ve come to hate it. I don’t know what I should do. Should I quit or are there other options that I should consider?

Answer:In situations like this, quitting will almost always seem like the most attractive option. However, the most attractive option might not always be the most ideal or feasible, and when it comes to something as important as a job, it’s important that one treads with caution.

Evaluate Your Job

Your job might be making you absolutely miserable but before you decide to throw in the towel, take a deep breath, and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Firstly, ask yourself what it is about your job that’s making you miserable – these can include factors that aren’t within your control (e.g. colleagues and work environment).

Secondly, attempt to come up with solutions for these problems. Potential solutions might not come easy, but in the event that there is a solution, it will render any hasty career moves unnecessary. For example, if you’ve identified the cause of your unhappiness as your inability to manage your current workload at work, the next possible step could involve examining your workplace habits and identifying those that are affecting your productivity. You might just realise that the main culprit for all those late nights at the office is Facebook (who could’ve guessed) or the fact that you’ve been heaping too much onto your plate at the office.

For the latter instance, simply learning to say “no” to your colleagues when they ask you for more help than what’s required of you could reduce your workload and allow you to focus on what you really need to do. Alternatively, you could even ask to be re-assigned to a different role. This will save you the hassle and worry of looking for a new job, and might provide you with the change that you need.

A New Look at Life's Priorities

It’s entirely possible that your current priorities in life are completely different from when you first started out at your job. Back then, you might have valued the thrill that came with climbing the corporate ladder, the hefty pay, or even the status that came with the job. However, you might now find yourself yearning for any semblance of a work-life balance and more meaning and fulfilment in your work because money isn’t enough of a motivation anymore.

Where there has been a fundamental shift in priorities, a career switch could be the way to go. A clear understanding of your current priorities – simply knowing that they have changed is not enough – will definitely help you. For example, if you now want a job that can positively influence the lives of others, you could very well consider a career switch to the social services sector.

If There's No Way Out for You

However, even if you decide that quitting is the best option, you might still find yourself facing other obstacles – an employment contract, your financial circumstances, or a bleak job market. If this is the case, you might have no choice but to wait it out until your contract is up or your circumstances improve. You can make some adjustments to your daily routine in the meantime to make your nightmare of a job less painful. For instance, you can get up earlier in the morning.

Even if it’s only 30 minutes, having time to yourself to whip up breakfast, take a nice bath or even workout can help you cope with the stress at the office later. Other alternatives include making plans with loved ones after work or for the weekends to give yourself something to look forward to!

Do you know of other solutions for individuals who are stuck in a job that they hate? Share with us in the comment box below!

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