Do you spend a lot of time moaning about your job? Worrying that you maybe picked the wrong career? That your dream job is still out there somewhere and you’re stuck in a rut?
We all complain about our jobs—and the grass is almost always greener somewhere else. But there’s a difference between something called “job depression” and actually being in the wrong career.
Our brains tend to do three things that can be poisonous to our job satisfaction: distort, delete, and generalize. It’s easy to distort our own view of what we do. It’s easy to delete the fun, rewarding parts when complaining about all the tasks we hate. And it’s easy to draw global conclusions when we focus on the negative.
If you want to know whether you actually hate your job—or have just convinced yourself to hate it through your own complaining—here are seven steps you can take:
1. Assess your job.
How do you think and talk about your job? Does your gut response really reflect how you feel about the work you do?
2. Listen to yourself.
How often do you complain about the parts of your job that you don’t like?
3. Accentuate the positive.
Take a moment and make a list of all the things you like about your job. Really think about the tasks and aspects of your work that you enjoy.
4. Give your job a break.
There’s no such thing as the perfect job. Try to remember that even your dream job would involve at least a few tasks that aren’t your favorite things to do.
5. Keep track.
Make a list of every task you do for two weeks and then rate each one on a scale of 1 to 10. At the end of two weeks, the numbers will not lie.
6. Remember your strengths.
What are your best, most unique skills? Does your job give you the opportunity to make best use of them?
7. Reassess your job.
By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of how you really feel about your job. What percentage of your job do you actually hate? Does the number surprise you?
You probably really do like your job—or most of it. Or maybe you’ve realized that you like some aspects of your job, but that you’re not satisfied overall. If the negatives really do outweigh the positives, then maybe it’s time to stop complaining and start looking for another job! Either way, it’s important to connect with how you really feel and not let your bad psychology get the better of you.
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