A recent article in Inc Magazine titled “Ten Things Unhappy Workers Always Wind Up Doing” got me thinking. The article took the perspective of the company – here is what happens to your company when you have unhappy workers. In general, they are not good things. No one “wins” – productivity is lower than it should be, no one is happy, and results suffer – when workers are unhappy.
Here is my perspective on it from the employee’s side.
We have all worked in unhappy jobs (if you haven’t, you are quite lucky!). We “put up” with it for a while (maybe TOO LONG) for a variety of reasons. “The job will get better once I know what I am doing”. “I need the money”. “I just need to put in my time”. We are scared of what might be on the other side – not having a job.
In the original article, the one statement that grabbed me the most was this one:
“They’re more excited about leaving work at the end of the day than they are about arriving in the morning”
Think about that for a moment. Doing something every day yet being more excited about being done with it than the anticipation of doing it. This is a place where we probably spend a minimum of 8 hours a day. Why dread it each of those days?
Think about it from a manager’s viewpoint (maybe that is you). You “put up with” unhappy workers for a variety of reasons. “I don’t want to have to go through the hiring process.” “I am too busy now, I’ll get to this person later.” “Maybe they will do a better job.” Just like the employee, managers don’t want to look at the other side. It is human nature to avoid uncomfortable situations. One of the topics we avoid at work is the idea that a person and a job might turn out to be a bad match. We don’t know how to say “You are a great person and this is a reasonable job for someone, but you and this job are not well-suited to one another.”
Some people might argue it is better to be working in an unhappy job than in no job at all. What they really mean it is better to be getting paid (to put food on the table) than not getting paid. True enough. But that is not a long term healthy outlook.
I believe this is where a career plan can provide a way to avoid the “Ten Things Unhappy Workers Do”. Just like saving money to buy a new car, sometimes it takes a while to get to where you want to be. But knowing that you are slowly working your way to that better car, you might put up with the old one for a little more time. You might actually brighten your mood a bit. A career plan is that small bit of savings you put away over time. It gets you closer to your goal state. It defines a pathway out. It overcomes the dreaded “what do I do now?” syndrome. It is an investment in the future.
If you are unhappy at work, give this some thought. If you know someone else who is unhappy, pass this post along to them. There is no rule that says you must work in a place where you are unhappy. There is a relatively simple way out. And I would love to help.
Here is the link to the original Inc post – 10 Things Unhappy Workers . . .