How to cope with crap jobs

Dan of the world

In this post I’m going to talk about how to cope with a job that you might not really like, and suggest some easy strategies that will quickly shift your focus from “I hate Mondays” to “I don’t care what day of the week it is”.

Everyone has to work, and for the people that make a passive income (an income without having to work for it, such as an investment property or royalties from a book) they’ve already worked their ass off for years to get where they are. So I say again, everyone has to work, but if you’re a person who doesn’t necessarily feel your work is your passion (it rarely is), or you don’t really like your job, you can fall into the trap of the dreaded W word: work.

For me working for E-Connect has been one of the hardest jobs I’ve had. It’s not really physically demanding, it’s mentally demanding, and with any teaching job you take the work home with you. It’s not a totally crap job, but bits of it are crap, like the workload.

There hasn’t been an evening where I haven’t thought about teaching, and when you have something pop into your mind everyday that’s work related, it’s rather annoying. I’ve noticed that when I focus on other things, like making videos or writing posts, it makes my time here feel more than just teaching. It puts teaching second place, both in terms of energy and mental awareness.

Realisations

I’ve realised that a crap or unfulfilling job will get to you if you let it, and by that I mean if you make everything about your work. I think the balance is wrong when you spend more time on your job than you do on your health, or social life, or your interests. But sadly this is something we all do. Do any of these sayings sound familiar?

“I’m just too tired after work to do anything”
“I can’t I have to work”
“I wish I could but I have to work”
“God I hate Monday’s”
“I’m glad it’s Friday”
“TGIF”
“I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV”

I’ve said all of these except “TGIF” and “God I hate Mondays”. TGIF because I think it’s just a lame trendy acronym, and God I hate Mondays┬ábecause saying that is not really a positive thing to say to yourself at the start of the week. If you say that you’re probably saying it because you don’t have anything to look forward to in your week, so it’s the longest time until the weekend.

What I’ve come to realise is that if I make my life more ABOUT my life, rather than my job, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. If I have to work it’s just a small time filler until I can do what I really want to do. For me that’s things like writing, I love writing, or doing videos, or playing games online, or whatever else it is other than work.

Falling into the trap of work

By falling into the trap of work I mean making a job your life, or to make your job occupy a lot of your mental space. This can be soul sapping if you don’t like your job and there’s something that needs to change if you’re thinking “I hate Mondays”.

You also might feel a bit out of control, which furthers the sapping. You can’t quit or change your job because of x, y and z reasons, so you feel trapped in it. Sometimes it becomes so time and brain filling that all you can see is your crappy job and your life that seems to revolve around it.

Of course it doesn’t have to be as black and white as this: you might be putting up with a crappy job for a while because you know you’re going to do something different soon, or you might be waiting one more year to get your long service leave, take it all, then leave. Or you might like bits of your job, but not others. The point is, if your job is taking up a lot of mental real estate and is with you more often than you’d like, you should do something about it, and you can do something about it.

When you have something to look forward to, your mind will do the rest.

Climbing out of the work trap

This is actually easier done than said. Let me explain, if you say to yourself “I’m going to climb out of the trap of work” it’ll probably have zero impact on you, or very little impact. It’s similar to you sitting at your office desk on Monday morning at the job you don’t want to be at and saying to yourself “this job is fun”. You can say it all you want, it doesn’t mean it will become fun, unless you take a water pistol with you or a big cream pie to slam into someone’s unsuspecting face.

But what if you sat at your desk and said to yourself “when I finish work I’m going to write for my website”, or “when I get home I’m going to put on my iPod and go for a run”, or “when I get home I’m going to continue researching how to become a millionaire in 5 easy steps”?

It could be anything that you want to do or that gets you excited, or that makes you feel alive and free and in control. If you do this what you’ve done is shifted your mind from the job you’re currently doing to the thing that excites you. You’re focusing your energy and mental realestate on something that’s worthwhile to you, and as soon as you do this your work takes an immediate back seat in your life.

Who gives a crap if it’s Monday morning?

Do what you say

Once you’ve thought about the thing you want to do, when you get home make sure you do it, even if you are buggered. I guarantee that you will feel a great sense of accomplishment, you will feel energised, you will feel motivated, and you will notice that work has actually vanished from your mind.

You can’t think your way out of a problem, you need to DO your way out of a problem. The physical act of doing what you set out to do is a very powerful act. Your feelings and mood will actually change, and once you feel this physical change, you know it’s real and it’s possible. It’s the same as the expression “you learn by doing”. You can read all you want about being a rocket scientist, but until you build a rocket you’re not really learning, you’re not experiencing what it is to build one, you’re just thinking it, and you can’t think a rocket into existence.

It’s the same with your feelings or mindset: you can’t change how you feel just by thinking your way out of it. It takes experience, and experience comes through doing.

Try it next time you’re sitting in a job you hate on a Monday morning, or any morning. Plan what you’ll do when you get home, and when you get home do it. The first step is always the hardest, but that one step will be a launch pad for motivation and mindset change.

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