How to Make a Bad Job Less Bad

Improve your current situation while laying the groundwork for something new.

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So many working people out there feel frustrated and stuck in their careers. They feel trapped in jobs that don’t fit, unable to make a change. Eventually, a negative perspective starts to permeate everything.

I see that a lot. By the time people come to me their frustration has often reached a boiling point. They typically want change yesterday and are up to their eyeballs in bad attitude. They need to improve their current situation while they lay the groundwork for something new.

If that sounds more familiar than you’d like, one of the techniques I have found helpful in situations like that is to step back and take a realistic look at what’s really going on. It’s tempting to paint everything with one broad, dark brush. But if you look at the picture objectively, it’s more likely that there’s a mix of both good and bad.

Take an inventory of both sides of the equation, and put extra effort into exploring the positive. What do you enjoy about your work? Make a game of trying to find as many positive things as you can.

When you do this, you build a more accurate picture. You see that, while it’s true that there are some things you don’t like (perhaps many things), it’s not all bad. Inventorying the situation also breaks it down into pieces so you can more effectively ask, “What can I change?” Finally, it gives you positive specifics you can choose to focus on.

None of this will make a crappy job great, but it can help shift your perspective and at least make the situation less bad. And when you’re up to your eyeballs in bad attitude, every little bit helps.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.

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