When you hate your job….
I was talking with a friend who is going through a divorce recently. He had received some insight from someone that really helped him process his grief. When he was struggling with the fact that his ex-wife had been sabotaging the marriage toward the end his friend’s wife said, “I remember doing that, and have friends who have done that. It seems to be a way to move forward and process your disappointment with your partner.” It reminded me of a relationship book. The book is called Wife for Life the Power to Succeed In Marriage. The author, Ramona Zabriskie, writes about something called Dreambreaker Road. It has always reminded me of the feelings you go through when starting a new job, and when you hate your job.
She talks about how in the beginning of a relationship you idolize your husband or wife. “You were made for me!” Which isn’t unlike how most people feel when they start a new job. Especially in the zoo world, you often move across the country for a new position. Throughout the interview process you do a lot of research and courting. You try to make sure it’s a perfect fit.
I often refer to the first six months at a new position as the honeymoon period. Sure there are some moments of disenchantment but they’re typically easily brushed away. Your new coworkers are feeling the same about you. There might be moments where they wonder, “hmmm that’s not what I expected from my new co-worker,” but they can shrug it off. Your representative is firmly in place and on your best behavior!
Ramona talks about how we move from idolizing our partner to a phase of disillusionment. This is where expectation starts to meet reality. In a new job you start to see that some of your expectations weren’t realistic or possible. You’re wondering what you need to do about it. Oftentimes your hiring managers and coworkers are experiencing the same thing. They’re getting to know the real you (which isn’t a bad thing) but is rarely identical to their expectations.
This is when we start trying to change our partner and/or our position. We speak up to our new supervisors and we ask for changes. This is when we often hear, “We’ve already tried that.” or “You don’t know enough yet.” Which is soul crushing, right? This is when you go home at night and as much as you don’t want to believe it you think to yourself, did I make a mistake? At this point we have two paths to choose.
- Moving on- This is where you move from trying to change to frustration. From frustration to disdain. Then from disdain to sabotage. From sabotage to alienation. During this path you’ve given up, you hate your job, you’re cruising the job boards, sending out your resume and praying that things can come to end. You have moments and bursts of trying to make things work. They are short lived and disorienting to your coworkers. As a manager I typically recognize the checked out nature and minimal effort. If I can I might try to pull out all the stops to get you to stay at this point, but it’s usually too late.
- The other path is personal accountability. In the Wife for Life book she encourages wives to improve their self care, understand their personal motivations, become expert communicators, and develop conflict resolution skills. When you can employ the above techniques when you hate your job (or your marriage) it draws people to you. They see you as a valuable asset and investment worth doubling down on. You crave freedom and autonomy and you get it. Not to mention the pride you feel from overcoming the challenge is rewarding.
Where are you?
So can you see yourself on dreambreaker road with your job?
Are you the checked-out, phoning-it-in employee?
Are you trying to make things better and soul searching for what it will take to improve things?
Or are you developing your personal accountability, taking care of yourself, improving your communication and conflict skills, and really working to understand your why?
Regardless of where you are on the road, it’s never too late to do a u-turn and get back on the road to falling in love with your job again. We’re here to help! Reach out!
Email me and let’s work through it together. firstname.lastname@example.org