This blog is Part 2 of a two-part series outlining just a few examples of the ridiculous things we do when we don't like our jobs.
If you haven't already read Part 1, I recommend to start there where I outline the stage where we are still in denial about not liking our jobs. Eventually, we can't hold it in any longer, and we enter the next stage: Acceptance.
The Acceptance Stage
We crack and admit to ourselves the truth, and then we 'come out' to our nearest and dearest: we don’t like our jobs. Once this has happened, we exhibit a whole new array of behaviours that are each as crazy as the next one.
We avoid any potential situation where someone can ask us about our jobs in a public setting
Let’s set the scene: you are at a dinner party with friends, not your closest friends that know every detail of your personal life, but the kind of friends you catch up with every few months and have nice politically correct conversations about mundane life happenings.
Suddenly your friend’s new boyfriend turns to you, and then you hear the dreaded words, almost as if he is saying them in slow motion. “ How is your job going?”
You now have several options:
Tell the truth: i.e. that you spent most of the week playing Sudoku on your phone or Whatsapping said close friends about how much you hate your job.
Straight out lie: “everything is great, it's been such a good few months working on that new project I mentioned last time- couldn’t be better really”
Bend the truth: “up and down, some days are tough, but mostly it’s all going well”
Bolt out the front door.
This scene is all too familiar to me and although I mostly wanted to d) bolt out the front door, I most usually went for the slightly less dramatic option of c) bending the truth and brushing it off. Most crucially, I became apt at reflecting the question back to them (probably why I ended up becoming a career coach), and I developed this amazing skill of changing the topic of conversation.
Cringing at social events is one of the key behaviours we exhibit in the Acceptance stage, and often comes hand in hand with: pre-family function nerves, booking extravagant holidays months in the future (so we have to stay in our job until then either way...) and using our hard-earned salary to buy luxurious items to justify our discontentment.
We come up with all kinds of crazy ideas to plan our escape
This specific behaviour that I exhibited finally made me realize it was time to make a change. (this is called a ‘straw that broke the camel's back’ behaviour, and this for sure was mine).
Here is what happened.
In my last position, for about two months, I had a new idea every other day of what I wanted to do that would enable me to break free.
One day I decided that I wanted to be a Neuroscientist and I started at looking at applying for a Masters in Neuroscience. About one week later, after getting a manicure, I decided I should do a beauty course and become a manicurist. Several days later I forgot about this and thought it would be a good idea to be employable at a tech start-up so I started an HTML course and researched signing up for a coding bootcamp. (I have problems doing basic mental arithmetic so the last one was definitely a symptom of complete panic). But the very final straw for me was when I started to consider going back to being a lawyer, questioning my original decision of leaving this profession.
Stepping away from a career in law was something I had already made my peace with, and when I started to consider this, I knew that I was out of control and something had to change.
We enter thought loops (mostly in bed at 1am when we only have 6 hours until our alarm goes off)
What happens in our thought loop is that we start to process the not liking of our job, and come up with one of our exciting new ideas that we have concocted to escape. We mull it over in our minds, daydreaming about what could be in the future, but we almost always come back to the same conclusion- “I booked that luxurious holiday, so I can’t leave my job right now” or “what will people at the dinner party think of me”. Back to square one.
Our minds spin and we become anxious, overwhelmed and stressed. The most ridiculous part? This becomes the norm.
As humans we are hard-wired to cope. Therefore if you are experiencing similar thought loops, and you have become anxious, you are probably carrying this with you and have learnt specific ways to cope with it in your everyday life. For me, I got into the routine of reciting in my head my notice-handing-in speech to my boss, and only then I could finally drift off to sleep each night.
These are just a sample of the ridiculous behaviours that occur when we are stuck in a job that we dislike.
Following the Acceptance phase comes a very important phase- the “I’m ready to make a change phase”. I will be writing about this in my next post so keep an eye out for it.
If you are having doubts around your current role, download my free ‘work-it-out workbook’ here and book your free 20 minute review call with me.