During the initial stages of work unhappiness, I tried to avoid the situation. I was happy outside of work and not happy while at work.
Then I started noticing it affecting my personal life. With the high stressful job and the long hours, I basically didn’t have a social life besides being at work.
On Monday mornings, I would wake up anxious. Some of my evenings were preoccupied with negative thoughts or worries about work.
Most people that have a 9- to -5 job are able to separate their social life with their personal life. But, in the knowledge economy, work is more consuming. Your work is in your mind. And, your mind does not shut off after work is done. When I was 18, I worked on an assembly line for the summer. Very tedious, physically demanding and boring work. I didn’t give my job a second thought after I left for the day—not simply because of the temporary nature of summer employment, but also because there was nothing to think about in relation to work. My summer jobs that were clerical in nature had the same feel.
I understand our work affects our personal life because our work is in our minds. As such, it never leaves us. This is due to the fact we receive emails, texts and calls from our Co-workers / Clients.
I was recently working as a General Manager at Goodlife Fitness which required me working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. When i wasn’t at work, I would receive updates, calls etc… I constantly brought work home and put in a couple hours at night and on the weekends. I would say that my mind had become consumed by work so, even if I was not really working, I was thinking about work “all the time”.
If I had a job I loved, then thinking about work outside of work would be happy making. The fact I didn’t like my job, thinking about work outside of work was the cause of me being unhappy.
Our work takes over a huge part of our lives, you got to find what you love. The only way is to be truly satisfied you have to love what you do. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet don’t settle and keep looking.
So get clear on your plan, and give yourself some deadlines.
For example: If you have to stay because of your pay-check, then start looking for new jobs immediately. Give yourself a plan to warm up your network and apply to jobs. Try and talk to someone new, and research new companies every week, and keep track of your progress. This boost will take the pressure off of you at your current job…and give you that hope you’ve been needing.
And, if you are staying because you have something left to learn that you want to take with you, then get really clear on your timeline for that. What is it? How long do you need to stay? How will that thing (project management, leadership training etc) help you?
Tip: Either way your mission right now is to open up your calendar and carve out some time to make your career better…however you define that.
Most importantly, remember that while the days are long, life is short! So don’t waste too much time doing something that brings you no joy. Instead, spend time on something that really matters to you, so that you can have more career happiness in your life. You are worth it!