OPINION

You don't have to stay in a job that you hate

BETTER WAY: A 2017 global poll conducted by Gallup found that 85 per cent of people surveyed said they hated their job.
BETTER WAY: A 2017 global poll conducted by Gallup found that 85 per cent of people surveyed said they hated their job.

Hands up who goes to work, comes home, rinses and repeats? Now, keep your hand up if you are satisfied in your job.

If you are one of the few who can find satisfaction in life and don't hate your job while being able to just turn up, clock in, then clock out and be done with it, then that's fantastic for you. No need for you to read on here.

But a Gallup poll released in August 2017 stated that across the globe, 85 per cent of people actually hate their jobs.

Let that figure sink in a bit. That means that across the globe, only 15 per cent of employees are actually actively engaged in their work.

Why? The reasons for disengagement vary. On a micro level, according to smartcompany.com.au, this can be cause by people experiencing a lack of feedback about their progress, feeling that there is too much emphasis on setbacks and failures, having unclear goals, experiencing conflicting demands and insufficient resources, or being given little autonomy or opportunity to share ideas and don't feel encouraged.

On a macro level, there are bigger issues at play. Perhaps people don't feel connected to their work, they feel trapped in a job that they hate because they can't see a way out, they believe everyone hates their job and it's a part of life, or perhaps they believe that what they are doing is the only thing they can do.

These issues speak to broader cultural issues around employment largely underpinned by the required sense of gratitude for employment (regardless of its nature) in the first place, a lifetime history of watching parents being unhappy in their work, and perhaps a background of being told they'll never amount to anything, that they aren't good enough.

Breaking barriers is challenging. No, it's more than challenging. It's damn hard.

Barriers to employment engagement and happiness come in all varieties.

But it often boils down to a personal disbelief that things can be better. Should be better.

We all face our own unique employability baggage and this can have an impact on our ability to take work opportunities.

This baggage can include gender disparity, cultural, ethnic, disability or age bias, regional or remote living limitations, a history of unemployment that prejudices hirers, lack of confidence, absent or floundering self-belief, or in-depth understanding of our strengths/weaknesses in a context outside of our current experiences.

When you are unhappy in your job, you need to know that that isn't OK and it doesn't have to be endured.

When we are stuck in a job we hate, we are often told "then why don't you find a new job?" but we are rarely shown how or given the courage to even look.

It seems like an easy fix to just leave when things aren't working for you.

But it's rarely easy and it doesn't always fix anything.

When you are unhappy in your job, you need to know that that isn't OK and it doesn't have to be endured.

Take the time to think about why you are unhappy - is it the work? The people? The environment? The boss? Are you feeling dissatisfied? Do you want something more or do you want something different? If you took away all the barriers you perceived as existing in your life, what would you do? Is it really as impossible as you think?

Learning how to broaden your thinking and reshape your skills and strengths within a context that brings greater meaning to you is the first step to considering how you could pivot into a new career.

You don't have to start from scratch. Every job - voluntary and paid - that you have undertaken has equipped you with skills and abilities that can be remoulded and shaped to facilitate new capabilities. Nothing exists in a vacuum.

Sitting down and writing a list of all the things that you can do and then all the skills that allow you to do them is a great start to beginning to understand your professional profile more holistically.

Sometimes we have to take a risk - you have to leap off the cliff in order to fly.

The trick is to make sure the risk is a calculated one and you have a safety net underneath you if possible.

Michael Strahan said: "We're our own worst enemy. You doubt yourself more than anybody else ever will. If you can get past that, you can be successful." And I rather think he was on to something.

Zoë Wundenberg is a careers consultant and un/employment advocateat impressability.com.au