1. Ask yourself - Should I stay or should I go now?
Many of us can't afford to leave a job on a whim and it takes time to research job opportunities and to assess whether your current skills need honing or even if you need to retrain. But one things for certain, you need a strategy to cope with the misery of working in a job you hate - one that might just possibly turn everything around. You need to take action NOW.
2. Whoops, is my attitude showing?
If you're miserable in your job, it's highly likely that everyone's noticed - including your boss. Time to grit your teeth and plaster a smile back on your face. If you want to leave, leave on your terms not theirs and moping around like a sad sack is a quick route to the door.
3. Do the job
I know you hate it but spending hours playing Solitaire and messaging your mates on Facebook isn't going to make you star employee of the month. And you do know that lots of firms have software now that tracks the websites you're using? You wouldn't be daft enough to spend hours bidding on Ebay or doing your online grocery shop, would you?
4. Improve the way you do the job
Go back to basics and try to do the job the way you did when you were a fresh, frisky and relatively unjaded employee. That means dressing professionally, minding your manners, being friendly to your colleagues and respectful to the management. It means focusing on the task at hand and doing it the way you'd expect it to be done if YOU were the boss.
5. Ask for training
If you struggle with a particular area (e.g. spreadsheets) ask if you can have some training. It's a double whammy because not only will you learn skills you can take to your next job, you'll look peachy keen to the Management.
6. Don't join the office pity party
There is usually a gaggle of employees who band together at coffee breaks (or when the boss isn't looking) to discuss how the firm is about to go to the wall, how it is a terrible place to work, how bad (or non-existent) the perks are. You can be sure that these employees will have a hit list of staff they hate (starting with their manager and working down). They are such fabulous employees they should be paid more, have more holidays, longer lunch hours - you get the picture. And should the management actually give the staff a treat (e.g. a bottle of wine at Christmas), these are the people who will pretend to be deeply insulted. "Oh, they think a bottle of wine will make up for all the rubbish we have to put up with".
Don't join them. Management will be well aware who they are and there will inevitably be one of their number who, in an attempt to pull rank and feather their own nest, will be reporting the juicy bits back to management.
7. But do join in
You're not that lonely soul who never makes tea or coffee for anyone else and insists on their own special mug (which they clean themselves) are you? Are you the one who never goes for a drink after work or at lunchtime? Heck, if you really don't want to be popular why not take the tested route of never covering your food in the microwave and leaving others to clean up the mess?
Recite after me "I AM a team player".
8. Update your CV
And while you're at it do a little research (at HOME) to see what the current popular styles of CV are. What is it that you can bring to a job. If I were to employ YOU as a consultant, what could you do for me? Get someone else to proof read your CV for spelling mistakes. Make sure there are no gaps in your employment history - and if there are be ready to explain why in an interview.
9. Work out what your transferable skills are
In the past, people had one job which they expected to do till retirement. Today it is entirely likely that you'll have many jobs, possibly even multiple careers. A helpful way to think is that you are not an employee but a consultant. Work out what skills you have that could be used in other jobs and write them down to add to your CV. Great at organising? A whizz with spreadsheets? Great team motivator? Write it down but with concrete examples to back it up. Otherwise, it's just hot air.
10. Register with online job sites and upload your revamped CV (at HOME)
There are loads of sites like totaljobs.com or www.jobsite.co.uk where you can post your CV and apply for jobs in your area. You might also want to consider registering with a couple of recruitment agencies to see what jobs might be available. Recruitment agencies are a great place to get some free career counselling and advice on your CV.
11. Leave an email / paper trail
This is especially important if you feel you are being treated unfairly (or worse, bullied). Document everything. Create an email folder and keep all email correspondence safe. Remember to send these to your personal email and then print them out. Note down important conversations. Never go to an HR meeting without a note pad and write down what is said. Add dates and times and file it away at home.
12. Learn your employment rights
Your employer has a duty of care towards you. It's not just a one way thing where you do whatever they say and get paid once a month. Your local Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to advise you. (www.citizensadvice.org.uk), and if things are really bad, you may want to consider finding an employment lawyer. Some law firms will let you have free initial legal advice which means they'll at the least be able to tell you where you stand and if you have a case.
13. Impress the hell out of clients
If you go out to meetings, make sure they remember you by being punctual, prepared and polished. Always remember clients may be potential future employers. And you wouldn't be daft enough to run your current employer down to them, would you? You never know who is friends with whom. That client who seems sniffy with your boss? They drink together in the pub on Fridays.
14. Take a break
Working in a job you hate is really miserable. We've all been there. But you won't change anything by ignoring how you feel and just solidiering on. Make sure you are taking any breaks you are entitled to and keep a track of your holiday entitlements and how much you've used. Put in a request for holiday in good time and plan something relaxing. The flip-side of this is not to take the mickey by adding an extra ten minutes here or there. It will be noticed and endless 'duvet days' due to a strange virus is not going to make you seem like an employee your boss will want to keep.
If you adopt some of these ideas, trust me, you will feel a bit better. And when you feel better, you'll make better decisions and your work performance will improve. You never know, on the happy day you hand your notice in, management may be begging you to stay!