I Hate My Job

by Robert Musterer   Ulticareer  | Job search  | Advice  | Career decision  | Job satisfaction  | Management  | Work tips  | 

So, you say you hate your job. The question is, is why?  The two dominant reasons are: 

  1. Because of your immediate supervisor. 
  2. Because of a serious mismatch between your skills and the roles and responsibilities of the job.  

Let's look at these one at a time.  

The vast majority of reasons why people leave jobs is because of their immediate manager, not the company of the job itself. When people talk about company culture, they often neglect to address the fact that the culture of a singular department or unit is more important to the individual employee, and this is driven by who your immediate manager is more than anything else. So, if you are working with somebody you find difficult to get along with for whatever reason, your best option is to look for opportunities to change who your immediate manager is. This could mean looking for a transfer within the company. Occasionally people take actions to seek changing the manager. Depending on the behavior of the manager, this may or may not be a viable option. Clearly, if the manager is acting inappropriately, there should be avenues to report the manager and have them removed. Another option is to take advantage of internal communication channels to recommend the offending manager for assignment to another department in the company. I’ve heard of cases in which an employee took advantage of calls from headhunters to successfully recommend their manager for new opportunities outside of the company.   

The most common approach is to look for a new opportunity for yourself. First, try within that company and if that fails, then look for opportunities outside the company. The point I would like to bring up is that complaining about the situation is actually detrimental for several reasons.  

  • One, sooner or later the fact that you're are complaining will be recognized by not only your peers but also by management. This will hinder your chances to get new opportunities within the company because you will be seen as someone who is dissatisfied and therefore a flight risk.  
  • The other thing I would like to bring to your attention is that in my personal experience, the people who complain the most are the ones who don't do anything about improving their situation. They tend to stay where they are because they are getting some release from the action of complaining. The downside of getting a release is that it traps them to stay in the unsatisfactory set of circumstances. Whereas the people who keep quiet, but take action, are the ones who find new opportunities within or outside of the company.  

So, do yourself a favor and use the energy that could be used complaining toward taking action to improve your situation. 

Now, if the situation is that you find a serious mismatch between your skillset and your current job duties there are two possibilities. One, is for whatever reason, you ended up in a position that makes you feel underemployed, meaning you have greater skills than you are allowed to exercise. Now the opposite is that you feel as though the position calls for greater skills than you currently have.  

In the first situation there are several options. One is to explore ways to demonstrate that you have greater skills than your current position calls for and look for opportunities to demonstrate those skills. How you go about that will vary tremendously from job to job. So, we can't go into those details here beyond a few simple examples.  

  • One thing you can do is talk to your manager and express your interest in having the opportunity to do other types of tasks.  
  • Another way is within your current responsibilities to demonstrate your capabilities by doing more than the minimum required.  
  • If it is a team setting you can volunteer to help others with tasks that are normally outside the scope of your job.  
  • In some organizations there are the opportunities to develop and work on special side projects. This may require working extra on your own time, but still it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate what you are capable of.  

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a position where the job calls for a skillset that you do not feel you have, your choices are: 

  • Consider ways to reduce the scope of your responsibilities.  
  • Bring in additional resources to fill the gap. 
  • Acquire the necessary skills that you feel you are missing: 
  • Research and reading 
  • Taking courses 
  • Seeking a mentor 
  • Soliciting feedback and suggestions 



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