New York court stenographer, Daniel Kochanski, was so miserable at work that he spent hours typing “I hate my job, I hate my job” repetitively instead of recording the proceedings of at least six trials.
His protest, which also included just hitting random keys, threw the court system into disarray as lawyers and judges scrambled to recall what was said and it illustrates the extent to which an unhappy career can drive you crazy.
Finding out that you have made a big mistake in your career choice cannot be solved by sabotage or, for most people, by just quitting.
The CEO of human resources services company, Chandler Macleod Group, Cameron Judson, says he frequently sees people who have spent most of their career in jobs they hate.
Often, it was never a conscious choice. They fell into it, or were pushed by the expectations of parents and teachers.
Walking out may be an option while you are young and relatively free of responsibility, but once you have a mortgage, children and a lifestyle to support, you may think you have too much to lose. You become trapped.
“My general observation is that there is a generational change. I don’t think generations X and Y persist in unhappy work. They get up and move,” says Judson.
However, for those who are stuck with the dread going to work every day, there is a heavy price to pay and an effect on everyone who is close to them.
“It has an impact on their stress levels, their health and psychology,” he says.
Judson knows one 42-year-old man who is head of strategy for a large listed firm, but is desperate to move to another more general marketing role which would involve a $50,000 drop in salary and lower status.
While he would be prepared to take the risk, his wife is resistant. “I think he is going to stick it out and be unhappy,” Judson says
But even for those who feel powerless the change, there are things they can do to have the career they dream of, says Judson, who offers his top eight tips for escaping the job you loathe.
1. Find out what you want to do. There are plenty of free online tests to help you define what your strengths, weaknesses and inclinations are.
“Find half a dozen things you are really good at,” advises Judson, who also recommends some career counselling to explore your options.
2. Use your experience. It can seem impossible to jump into a new career or industry without prior experience, but examine what you can already do and consider how you can “sell” it to a new employer as a solution to their problem.
“This is not going to sound good, but all recruiters and employers are prejudiced and lazy. If you don’t create the hook for them, they will go to their usual candidates,” he says.
3. Start doing the job you want to do. If your employer provides the scope for you to reshape your job into something you want to do – and it is something of benefit to the organisation – just start doing it (at least until someone tells you to stop). If you really hate your job, you may have nothing to lose.
4. Learn. Take up every opportunity for training because you never know if it will lead to something interesting.
If you want to move into an entirely different career, you may not need to start from scratch with a new degree. You may be able to slide into a new job with a bit of persuasion, some short courses and on-the-job training.
“You can get qualifications without a huge investment in time. Not everyone needs to get an MBA to get a job,” says Judson.
5. The back door. You may be able to take the job you hate and transfer it to an industry you want to work in. If you are an accountant, but want to be an actor, then you could take your skills to a theatre company and – once installed – work on convincing them you would be an asset on the stage.
6. Move. Australians don’t like to change cities, but you might find it is easier to break into a new career in a less competitive environment, where the cost of living is lower and will help you survive a drop in income.
7. Due diligence. Find someone in your network who is working in the industry you want to join or who is doing the job that you desire and find out what it is really like.
Using your network can also facilitate introductions and give you inside information about job openings and issues you can help them fix.
8. In the meantime … If you can find a way to introduce a sense of meaning into your work, it will help you withstand it while you are working on finding a new job. Who are you helping in your work? If no-one was doing your job, what would happen?
The emotion of gratitude can also improve your attitude to what you do – even if it is just that you are glad you have a job and can pay your bills. Some jobs are just jobs.
*Original Article by Fiona Smith: http://www.brw.com.au/p/leadership/tips_for_escaping_job_you_hate_IeWtHjhgwIh3BdCTWdPukL