I receive a lot of emails from folks about feeling stuck in jobs, marriage, and money situations. Of late the bulk seem to go like this: ” Help! I hate my job!! I need to get out here asap! What can I do?” So today, we focus on getting unstuck from a job you hate.
The first thing you have to do is dial back the hate big time. I know, I know you deserve to kick and scream and vent. But I’m here to tell you after 18 years in the recruiting business, hating your job won’t help you find something better. Sorry to ruin the pity party but it’s true. Now don’t think I’m getting all “judge-y” with you. Heck, I fell into that trap myself. I hated my job as a lawyer from day two and I stayed there hating and telling everyone that I hated it for two whole years. All that hating just made me feel stuck, unable to move forward and very miserable.
We see this phenomenon in other areas of our life. Dr John Gottman, founder of the Gottman Institute has performed decades of research on couples’ relationships. Gottman has found 4 kinds of negativity , which he calls “the four horsemen of the apocalypse”. The research shows that 4 horsemen literally destroy relationships. They include:
- Defensiveness; and
So what does couples research have to do with job search and career fulfillment? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit.
Criticism and contempt are often present in individuals thinking about or undergoing a job search. With criticism, it is certainly easier to focus on what’s wrong with our employer or boss. Contempt rears its ugly head in all sorts of ways including sarcasm, cynicism, put-downs. Defensiveness and stonewalling seem to run rampant in the workplace. God forbid we take responsibility for our situation and communicate!
So how do we get past the 4 deadly horsemen and get unstuck?
Again, we can learn from Gottman’s research. One of the first things Gottman does is to challenge couples to communicate 5 positive comments for every negative one. Try it in your relationship; it’s not so easy!.
For me, the career lesson learned was that when I stopped criticizing and hating my job, things began to shift in my work life. No, it didn’t magically change, gates didn’t fly open and birds didn’t start chirping from the heavens above, but things did shift and eventually change dramatically.
So this week when you catch yourself hating on whatever, I challenge you to try “the Gottman”and see what starts to unfold.
And as always, if you would be so kind as to share your story/struggle/advice with others below, we’d be most grateful. Heck, you might even help someone get unstuck!
Patty Comeford Adams