People sometimes get stuck in a job due to a lack of education or because of a bad economy, but that doesn’t mean that their work day needs to be a painful experience. With a little innovation and imagination, it is easy to make the best of a “bad” job. Here are some ideas that may help.
• Work on your job skills. Imagining yourself in your dream job, you might see yourself as an excellent leader – highly confident and supremely organized. Why not work on these skills in your present job?
• Develop your own project. Take on a project that can motivate you and give you a sense of control. Start small, such as organizing a work-related celebration, before moving on to larger goals. Working on something you care about can boost your confidence.
• Stay busy. Having too much free time may leave you with too much time to think about what’s wrong with your job.
Change the way you view your job by challenging your thinking to be positive. Changing your attitude about work doesn’t happen overnight. But if you remain alert to ways your view of work brings you down, you may eventually replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Here are a few techniques:
• Stop negative thoughts. Pay attention to the messages you give yourself. When you catch yourself thinking your job is terrible, stop the thought in its tracks. Awareness is the first step to this step and is achieved by learning how to “read” your thoughts like you would a book. Learning to view the content of your thinking is very valuable.
• Put things in perspective. Remember, everyone encounters good days and bad days on the job. That doesn’t mean that you should pretend to be excited that you are having a bad day. It just means that you choose to accept it as part of the professional experience. If everything was always good, then we wouldn’t know it because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. Experiencing a bad day will make a good one that much better.
• Look for the silver lining. “Reframing” can help you find the good in a bad situation. For example, you receive a less than perfect performance appraisal and your boss warns you to improve or move to another job. Instead of taking it personally or looking for another job right away, look for the silver lining. Depending on where you work, the silver lining may be attending continuing education classes, working closely with a performance coach and having the satisfaction of showing your boss you’re capable of change. Being proactive means that we are in control of our destiny, versus being a victim to it.
• Learn from your mistakes. Failure is one of the greatest learning tools, but many people let failure defeat them. When you make a mistake at work, learn from it and try again. The reality is, we fail as much, if not more, than we succeed.
• Be grateful. Gratitude can help you focus on what’s positive about your job. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for at work today?” If it’s only that you’re having lunch with a trusted co-worker, that’s OK. But find at least one thing you’re grateful for and cherish it. When all is said and done, a positive experience begins with a heartfelt appreciation for what we have and what we are doing.