Let’s face it, even in the best companies, sometimes work sucks. It’s part of life and work and being employed. But, it’s not all bad – challenging times at work can be a positive experience, although, it is definitely no fun when you’re going through those trying times.
I recently read an article about what to do when you have a bad boss and it got me thinking about the ebb and flow of work-life, and I realized that having a job is a lot like having a child:
- You have to dedicate time and energy to it
- At first it’s cute and fun
- It changes over time
- Sometimes it acts up and tries your patience
- It can be totally unreasonable
- When managed well over time, it can be very rewarding
Over the course of any career, there are numerous good and bad days. And, sometimes there are periods where work is just downright awful. So, what can you do when you’re in one of those career slumps?
First, recognize that ups and downs are part of all aspects of life. Don’t take it personally that things are difficult for you right now – everyone goes through it. Yes, I know that sounds easier than it is, but seriously, unless you are directly being picked on, the problem is probably not about you at all, so don’t internalize it.
Look at what is happening as an opportunity for you to think outside the box. Obviously, there are problems, so how can you be part of the solution? What can you do to eliminate, or at least reduce, the issues that are making things difficult? View what’s happening as a puzzle that you can solve, and then create a list of ideas/suggestions.
Take an honest look at the benefits your job brings. You get a paycheck (Ok, maybe not as big of one as you want, but at least you have money coming in). You have a place where you can contribute skills, talents, and/or intelligence. You meet many people, and can create many friendships. Your job offers continuous opportunities to learn and grow.
If all else fails, think about the alternatives to having a job. What would happen if you were suddenly unemployed? Appreciate what you have, if you can. And if you can’t, think about what would happen if you didn’t have it.
Most of all, when work is getting you down, give yourself permission to turn it off and do something good for yourself. When you spend days and nights working hard, and the time in between fuming about how bad things are at work, you set yourself up for more bad days because you are focusing on the negatives. However, if you set aside time every day, and at least one full day each weekend to do something fun, relaxing, rejuvenating just for you – you’ll have more energy to think, act, and react in a positive manner.
Sleep in, take a nap, walk in the woods or on the beach, go see a movie, and make sure you turn off your phone and DON’T check email. Separate yourself from the bad things at work because those are just things you’re going through, they are not things that belong to you. Your kids, on the other hand, will always be yours!