It’s probably safe to say that we all, on some level, dread Mondays. But there’s a point when it goes beyond general feelings of dread about having to get up early, put on non-pajama-like clothes and sit somewhere other than a couch for the day and instead moves into panic and fear about your job or office situation.
For those of us who’ve experienced the latter, it sucks. Your career is such a huge part of your life so when it’s not going well, your life seems to be globally affected.
While I certainly don’t advocate spending huge chunks of your life miserable, maybe you’re not in a position to quit your job right now — not everybody has the luxury of being able to walk away from a steady paycheck and benefits. If you’re feeling stuck in a less-than-stellar work situation, here are some things you can do to better cope while you wait out your departure.
1. Pinpoint what is making you miserable about your job.
Is it your boss, your coworkers, the long hours with no overtime pay? Have you always hated your job or did something shift? Are you in the wrong career? Or is it just the wrong company?
2. Don’t funnel all your mental energy into the negative.
Remember that your job provides you with the funds to support yourself and your family, go out with friends, pay for your running shoes, etc. You’re getting something in return for being there and that compensation allows you to find happiness and comfort in other areas of your life. Be grateful for those things and channel your energy there.
3. Find a safe place to vent your frustrations.
No, I don’t mean on social media. I’d even advise against venting to coworkers on a regular basis. Pick someone who’s removed from the situation who can help you gain some perspective. This person may even be able to help you find a way to identify and articulate the key points so that you can …
4. Tell the right people.
I know it feels like you can’t control your circumstances, but consider what realistic changes would make it easier to cope with the parts of your job that make you miserable. Then talk to the person who might be able to help you make some adjustments. Your boss is not a mind reader. Go into this meeting with a clear, calm and rational explanation of the problem and a proposed solution. But be flexible on what solutions you’ll consider. Show that you’re willing to work with your boss and be part of the solution.
5. Recognize what you can’t change.
After you’ve done your part and spoken with someone who’s in a position to facilitate meaningful change, emotionally start to detach from what you cannot change. A job that you know is only temporary is not worth losing sleep over. Steer clear of situations and people that get you riled up. Put your energy into the factors that you control and de-invest in the rest.
6. Make sure you can still look yourself in the eye.
If you’re one of those people who takes pride in the work they do, half-assing your job because you feel undervalued will only make feel more demoralized and miserable. Continue to do your job in a satisfactory manner. It won’t make the time at your job go faster, but it will leave your dignity and self-respect intact for when you do find a better job.
7. Remember that you’re not a victim.
To quote that famous line from the movie Dangerous Minds: “You have a choice. It may not be a choice that you like, but it is a choice.” You could decide to leave but you’ve — at least at this point — chosen not to. You have decided that you’d rather stay at your job than deal with the fallout of quitting and the possibility of not finding another job. That’s a choice. When you own your choice to stay, you step out of the victim role and back into your own power. It’s easy to get wrapped in the victim mentality, but letting the situation rob you of your power is only going to make you feel worse.
What strategies do you have for getting through the work week? —Alison