January 1, 2018

The average person will spend 90,000 hours of their life at work. Breaking this figure down in terms of a percentage this equates to: 21% of your total waking hours over your total life span; 35% of your total waking hours over a 50 year working-life period assuming 8 hours of sleep a night; and over 50% of your total waking hours during any given working day.

So ask yourself, are you happy with your workplace? If you won the lotto today, would you wake up on Monday morning and still go to work? I can honestly say that for a good portion of my career my answer was yes. (Now I probably would have reduced how much I worked; but I truly enjoyed what I did, who I was working with and respected who I was working for). Unfortunately, for most that is not the case. According to a recent Gallup poll, 85% of workers worldwide hate their jobs. The rate is slightly less here in the US, where approximately 70% of people hate their jobs. Chief scientist for workplace management at Gallup indicates that the report is clear, most employees feel negative about work and the workplace.

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “epidemic” as a sudden, widespread occurrence of a particular undesirable phenomenon. The alarming rate at which people are unhappy at work is clearly of epidemic proportions. So what should you do if you are one of the many people who hates their job? Considering the amount of time that we spend at our workplace we need to take action. The New Year is the perfect time to resolve to make changes in your life and that includes making changes in your work life so either find happiness where you are or move to somewhere that you will be happ(ier).

Find happiness right where you are. You can’t control other people’s behavior or decisions but you can control your own attitude and outlook. What are you doing to change your environment around you? Often we tend to focus on everything we feel is going wrong at work and everyone that is wronging us when instead we should focus on the things we can control — our own thoughts, attitude and actions. What are the words that are coming out of your mouth? If you start your day talking about how much you hate where you work and what a horrible workplace you have that is exactly where you will continue to find yourself. Look for the positive in your situation and workplace environment. Focus on what value it is adding to your life, such as the financial resources, new skills and experience, rather than on what aspects of it that are undesirable. Are there positive people that you can connect with; is there someone that could benefit from your assistance that you could pour into and take the focus off of yourself; if you hone in on some of these positive thoughts and maintain a positive attitude, you will remain in control of how you “feel” about your workplace.

Find a new workplace. If you’re that unhappy where you currently work, then leave and find another workplace where you can find happiness. What are you doing to leave where you are? Are you developing new skills or improving upon existing ones? What is your plan? Often we choose to simply murmur and complain about how much we hate where we are, but we fail to take any steps to remove ourselves from that situation. Come up with a plan and execute on it. That can mean pursuing a certification to obtain a new specialization or skill; networking; polishing up that old resume; there are many things that can be done proactively to open up new work opportunities, you simply have to choose to do so. For example, a good friend of mine is currently choosing to work for a smaller organization for less pay because she’s enjoying what she is doing, where she is doing it and who she is doing it with. She has chosen to be happy where she works than to pursue the high salary and prestige of working for a larger corporation. Decide what’s truly important to you and draft your plan of escape around it.

And if at the end of the day you still have trouble changing your attitude or your workplace, remember these three things –

1. There’s more to life than work; 

2. Work is what we do, not who we are; and 

3. There are plenty of people who would love to have the job that you hate.