We’ve all had days when we’ve thought to ourselves, ‘I work with a bunch of idiots…what am I doing here?’ Luckily, those feelings usually pass and we wake up to a better day.For others, those thoughts come on a daily, if not hourly, basis. In fact, what inspired me to write this post was hearing several different people say basically this same thing to me within the space of a few hours. If this describes the situation you are in, here are some things to consider:
- How bad is this situation…really. Think about what the real issues are. Is it the people themselves? The work environment? The combination of people? The tasks you are assigned? The hours? The pay? Do a rational assessment of what makes you crazy and think about whether or not you can change any of those circumstances. Many times it’s all in the way you look at a situation that will determine whether or not it is worth enduring.
- Can you afford to make a change? This is a very difficult economic time for many. The job market is soft, the housing market is in the dumpster, and salaries are stagnating. All of these factors affect people’s decisions on whether or not they want to stay in their current positions. In fact, maybe some of those people who are driving you crazy also wish they could leave. But before you make any decision, you will have to determine whether you need to have another job lined up prior to leaving, whether you can sell your home (if you plan to relocate) and whether you will be able to start somewhere else at a comparable salary. The financial considerations may or may not give you the go ahead.
- What needs to happen for you to make a change? In other words, how bad does it have to get before I have no choice but to leave? Think about your own situation, set some low-end benchmarks, create an exit plan and then stick to it. For instance, you could say if XY&Z don’t change by December, I will start looking for a new job in January. Only you can determine what XY&Z are. And most likely they aren’t going to happen on their own. Another realization you should make early on in this process is that nothing is going to change without action on your part.
- Is there someone (anyone) you can talk to about it? Do you have a co-worker you can trust? Someone who knows the situation from the inside who can listen and perhaps give suggestions? Do you have a mentor in the company? Mentors can be wonderful cheerleaders in times of frustration and anxiety. In addition to someone inside the company, you should seek counsel from a trusted advisor outside the company. This person can give you an objective outsider’s view and feedback on your assessment of the situation. Perhaps they can also offer viable solutions that you had not considered.
- What’s the payoff if you stay? When you hate to get up and go to work in the morning, the thought of a great retirement package 30 years down the road isn’t all that enticing. In your planning process, make sure to consider what you will be leaving behind if you decide to go. What kind of unique benefits do you have, not just monetary, but lifestyle. Is your dog allowed to come to the office? Can you work from home a day or two a week? Do you get tuition benefits that might earn you a degree and launch you into another career? Think about and weigh the pluses of your situation (if there are any).
- Deal Breakers. If you are being asked or pressured to become involved in dangerous, unethical or illegal activities, or a combination thereof, you probably should move quickly to find other employment. The exception would be if said dangerous or illegal activities could be reported to the highest levels in your firm without repercussion. That being said, protect yourself as best you can and determine an exit strategy.
There are any number of situations that will make you hate your job and the people you work with. I can say this because I have been in jobs where I thought I would lose my mind if I had to sit there one more day. Luckily that has not been the case for me in several years. However, I know how depressing it can become when every day is a struggle and you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.
If you determine that your situation is unbearable, just don’t waste too much time treading water. It’s not good for your health, in any sense of the word.