The Daily Grind

Is it normal to hate work?

I wasn’t sure if this should have been a part of a tricky workplace dilemma series, but I do think it deserves its own piece.

There is no short answer to this question.  Well, actually, that’s a lie.  For some folks the answer is yes, it’s completely normal to hate work.  Simple.

But the reality is that it’s a bit more complicated than that.  It is a real struggle to find that elusive sweet spot of job satisfaction, happiness and success.  Layer that against difficult bosses, back-stabbing colleagues or ambitious egomaniacs and it is really easy to see why someone might hate their work.

There are also some fundamental reasons why we may have set ourselves up for a big fat fail when it comes to how we feel about our work.

Reason Number One why it’s normal that you hate work

Let’s face it, when you graduate High School you don’t really know your head from your feet.  So, it should come as no surprise that if you are still in a vocation that you chose out of High School (even if you went to Uni), it might not be working for you.  If going to the dentist and having a painful extraction holds more allure for you than going into your job, it might be time to re-skill.  It is never too late to career pivot, particularly if the career you currently have is making you miserable.

Reason Number Two why it’s normal that you hate work

You are doing it for the money.  If your sole reason for working where you do is money alone, then it might just feel like your soul is gradually being sucked through your nostril.  Don’t get me wrong, most of us aren’t doing it for love alone, but if your motivation for turning up every day is only coin then chances are it’s making you miserable. Likewise, for any external factor.  If you’re a Doctor because someone else wanted you to be, and it wasn’t your first choice, I bet you aren’t thrilled by the prospect of a waiting room full of sniffily noses. It is normal for you to hate work.

Reason Number Three why it’s normal that you hate work

You have no autonomy and no authority.  Not able to make any decisions?  Guess what, you have no control over you work life.  Being disempowered can deflate even the most enthusiastic of us.  You are probably both grumpy and frustrated and I would also suggest, highly disengaged at work.  It is normal for you to hate work.

Reason Number Four why it’s normal that you hate work

You want to do something else.  You are desperate to have a start in another profession.  Are you at that stage where you know that you really want to start your own business/become a florist or dive instructor?  Is there a reason why you are holding back?  It’s probably something nice and sensible like money, or getting the kids through High School.  My thinking on this is, when you look back on your work life, will you say to yourself “Gee, I wish I had of spent more time in that job I hated”.  Probably not.

Reason Number Five why it’s normal that you hate work

You don’t leave work when you leave work.  When you go home, you are physically home, but in reality you haven’t left the workplace.  Now, I am not a big believer in work-life balance (I think you have work and you have your life…rarely are they in balance).  If you are the type of person who has a phone surgically attached to your hand;  If you are regularly taking work calls at 9pm;  If you are thinking about work when you are at dinner with friends, then it is likely that in time, if you don’t already, it will become normal that you hate work.

The final reason why it’s normal to hate work

You have been conditioned to hate work.  Your mindset is working against you.  At some stage, somehow, you decided that work sucks.  That can be a heavy chip to carry around on your shoulder, let me tell you.  If you start every job already believing that you hate it then I can guarantee it will come true.  It will be easy for it to be normal to hate work.

The other reasons

Of course, terrible bosses, horrible co-workers, dangerous environments, long commutes, ridiculous hours and job uncertainty can also be contributors to hating work.  There are a myriad of other reasons why it might be normal to hate work, but don’t despair…..

The good news if you hate work

You have choice.  That’s the good news, you can choose to put down the phone, apply for another job or have a conversation with your boss about taking on more autonomy.  You don’t need to hate your work, you can choose to like it or love it.  You can chose to walk away, start afresh or you can choose to look at your current circumstances differently.  Maybe not hating your work could become normal for you too?

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