Do You Kow How to Survive a Horrible Job?
Figuring Out What Is Wrong With It
We can all get caught in the turmoil when a good job turns into a horrible one. The key to surviving a horrible job is getting clear about what is going wrong. It comes down to one simple question ...
What is Wrong with Your Job?
So how do you start to figure out what is wrong? It starts with thinking about your job and putting a name on what is going on ... and what is going so horribly wrong.
Once you have identified the "what", it is time to find out the "how and why" behind your job going sour. A good place to start is by using the five common reasons jobs go bad to see if any apply to your situation. If not, just having a way to analyze what the problems could be may spark insights and lead you to discover the source of the problem.
Once you have a good idea of the problem, then you can decide what to do about it. And if you are having a series of not-so-dreamy jobs, understanding why you keep having problems is critical to avoiding horrible jobs in the future.
To figure out what went wrong, explore the five reasons, listed below with links to help you diagnose the problem.
Some times we focus on one or two aspects of our dream job and think that any job that offers it is our "dream job". However, work you love has five major aspects. See if your dream job is missing any of them ...
- Work You are Naturally Great At
- Work You are Passionate About
- Work You Care Deeply About
- Work You are Called To Do
- Work that Inspires You
- Work You Are Well Paid For
- Work That is Meaningful
- Work You Love
If one of these was missing can you identify why? For example, did you have a boss that killed your passion for the job or did a company policy hold you back from being great?
Work you love has nine kinds of ingredients. When you create your own description for your dream job, that may mean that you have 30+ essential ingredients. If you are missing some of them or have the wrong combination -- that could have cause problems.
To see if any are missing, you need to create a list of your personal ingredients. You can use our recipe to create your list. For an idea of what your list might look like, see the Before & After Example.
Sometimes one thing spoils a perfectly great job. To see if this is the problem, make a list of all the things that would spoil the job for you. If your list includes things that are a part of your job, you now know what the problem is.
- A fast way to do this is to list all the things you have learned that make you feel frustrated, bored, and angry. Some people label this list the "Things I Hate" or "Essential Ingredients For My Job From Hell".
- You can also take your list of dream job ingredients and write down the opposite for every ingredient. This quickly transforms your "I Want" list into a "I Do Not Want". For example, if you love flexibility you would dislike rigidity. You can also make a list of your worst skills, all the things you hate, the problems that bore or frustrate you, and a life story you would hate to live.
- Now compare that to your job description and see if any of those "fly in the ointment" items appear. Put a check mark next to any items that the job has. This will give you a concrete list of problem areas.
Jobs and companies grow and evolve. Sometimes the needs of the company change and that affects your dream job. Some times it is hard to recognize and clearly define exactly what is changing and why. Sometimes it is very obvious, but we do not want to admit that our dream job is going bad or face how bad things are getting. So how do you assess if this is happening to your job?
- Write a job description for your dream job as it used to be. You can use the description that appeared when you were hired and update it to reflect what your job used to be like. Remember to include all the details that you loved about your job.
- Next write a job description that clearly reflects the reality of the job since it has changed. It should be fully detailed and explain exactly what the job involves day to day.
- Now compare the two descriptions and see what the differences are. Make a list of each of these, and then think about when this change occurred and how it came about. Make some notes next to each item summarizing your thoughts.
- Now take a moment to look at how these changes impact your company and reflect what is going on in your industry. Why are these changes are occurring?
- Is there new management, a change in profitability, a new mission statement, a change in product direction or customer preferences?
- If so, are these temporary changes or permanent ones?
- Do you expect more changes, and if so, will they improve or further reduce the "dreaminess" of your job?
- Does you boss know about these changes? Does your boss have the power to reverse or minimize them? Would he/she be willing to do something about them?
Sometimes the job advertised is not the one you end up working at. It could be the hiring manager did not know what the job involved or the needs of the company changed between when you were hired and started work.
Sometimes in all the excitement and hard work to prove yourself in your new job, it is hard to figure out exactly what went wrong. So take a few moments to look at where your expectations about your new job were not met.
- Write a detailed description of the reality of the job you got. Include all the details of the scope of the job, what your boss and co-workers are like, the company values and a what a typical day is like.
- Now compare your job description with the ad you applied for, if you still have it. You may want to add to the advertisement what you were lead to expect, turning it into a detailed description of your expectations. Clearly make a distinction between what you were told about your initial job responsibilities and benefits, what the job might evolve into, and future possibilities for advancement and job growth.
The Next Step
Now that you have a better idea of what went wrong, take a few moments to read about dream jobs gone bad ...