January 2, 2009
Hate your job? Think about how to keep it
NEW YORK — With declining home prices, tightening credit and the meltdown of major financial institutions, experts say now may not be the best time to think about leaving your job — even if it's one you hate.
So how do you make the best of a not-so-great work situation?
A first step is to lay a foundation by defining a realistic goal, said Jeannine Ayres, founder of At the Water's Edge, a coaching service. She said you may not be able to make it from hate to love, but at least you can try for neutral.
That's just what Gaetane Martin, 60, did last year as she stuck out a job as an office manager in which she said she got no support from the regional manager.
"I got up in the morning and just didn't want to go there anymore. It was horrific," she said. But she needed that paycheck, so, "I had to bite my tongue, smile and go back to work and make believe that everything was fine." Also, she "lowered my expectations to decrease the chance of disappointment."
Duffy Spencer, a workplace consultant, suggested that people remind themselves that, "it's in my best self-interest to keep this job for this period of time, but I know I can handle it one day at a time. I am not a stuck-forevermore prisoner."
Likewise, steer clear of a view of your job where you think everything is rotten. There can be things for which to be grateful — certainly the paycheck, perhaps a relatively easy commute, maybe a good friend in the next cubicle.
Along those lines, with the current economic turmoil, even people who are happy in their jobs are experiencing a "renewed sense of appreciation for what we have," said Laurie Bloom, director of marketing and communications for the law firm Rivkin Radler LLP.
Those in bad work situations can use time to advance their own agendas, as Martin did. First, she cut back on hours, which gave her time to study feng shui and develop her flower-arranging business, and it took off so well that she was able to quit her job in July.
Also, think of life without the job and the paycheck that comes with it. Valentina Janek, founder of the Long Island Breakfast Club, a job-search group with 90 members, said she knows of many people who would gladly change places. She said you would be wise to be thinking of how to keep your job: "You know what you have. You don't know what you're going to get."
Try to make the best of a bad work situation by:
Finding an ally, an "anchor person," with whom to discuss coping strategies and plan for a better future, said Duffy Spencer, workplace consultant in Woodbury.
Keeping from badmouthing and spreading gossip, which poisons your office even more, Spencer said.
Looking for a more satisfying avocation to "sustain and replenish" yourself if you're not getting satisfaction, Spencer said.
Taking the focus off your own misery and seeing how you might help someone else, said Jeannine Ayres, a life coach.
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