We all have those days when we don’t like our job. We feel under-appreciated, overworked, and can’t seem to recall why we have chosen to spend our lives doing this job eight hours a day, 40 plus hours a week.
Those kinds of days are bound to come around at even the best of jobs. Sometimes it’s a funk you’ll snap out of in a couple weeks… sometimes there are simple changes that will make life worth living again… and sometimes you need to have that difficult conversation with your boss so they can help you solve those problems that have you feeling stuck.
So how do you know if it’s just a phase or if it’s time to start polishing up your LinkedIn profile? Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to determine if you actually love or hate your job.
1. Are you using your talents and strengths?
You could be working for a company with the best benefits, a great culture, and products you love, but if you’re not using your talents or improving your strengths, you won’t be happy. Think about it- if you’re a graphic designer working on the sales floor, you’re going to be miserable. You have to be passionate about your work in order to love it for the long term.
Love = You are passionate about your work and improving your talents every day.
Hate = You aren’t working in your desired field.
2. Do you hate your boss?
This can be a tricky question to answer and sometimes depends on the day. You want a manager who will challenge you and make you better at your craft. Most managers put a lot of effort into coaching their teams, but not everyone achieves perfect execution.
Here’s an easy way to determine if you hate your boss: do all your friends know your boss’ bad/annoying habits? If you talk enough about everything you hate about your boss that your friends can recite the list, you probably hate your boss. And remember, bringing the occasional box of doughnuts to work does not a good boss make. Still not sure? Take a look at this list of what makes a good boss.
Love = You have an encouraging boss who helps you reach your goals.
Hate = Your boss isn’t interested in fostering your talent, doesn’t listen to you and does not empower you.
3. Do you go home feeling fulfilled or drained?
Even if you’ve had a crazy busy day at work, you’ll go home feeling fulfilled if you love what you do. Sure, you’ll be tired, but you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and feel energized about your finished product. There’s nothing worse than working really hard on a project only to think, “I don’t even care,” when you’re finished.
While it’s hard to always be productive , you’ll always find the motivation if you love your job. If you don’t love your job, no amount of productivity hacks will keep you going. Eventually you’ll end up completely burned out.
Love = You feel energized at the end of the day.
Hate = You feel your soul being sucked from your body.
4. Do you get the Sunday night blues?
If you are unfamiliar with this term, it’s when you start feeling depressed knowing that Monday—meaning work—is just around the corner. We’ve all been there; the prospect of what needs to be done at work actually ruins your weekend. If you love your job, you’ll feel anticipation for the possibilities in the upcoming work week.
Love = You’re excited for yet another week of work.
Hate = You sob uncontrollably on Sunday night.
5. Are you negative or unhappy at work?
You can even take the question a step further and ask yourself if your job is making you negative or unhappy outside of work too. Sometimes the transition into negativity or unhappiness is so gradual you don’t even notice. So think hard about when you felt like your best self to determine if your current job has made feel you less happy than you have been in the past.
Love = You feel happy and positive.
Hate = You’re a Debby Downer.
6. Are your weekends the only thing keeping you alive?
Never have the Loverboy lyrics “Everybody’s working for the weekend” been so profound. A paycheck and two days off should not be your only purpose for going to work. You should be working because you enjoy what you do and you believe in your product.
Love = You get a sense of accomplishment from your work.
Hate = You’re only working for a paycheck and PTO.
7. Do you hit the snooze button multiple times each morning?
Remember those first few days at your job when you were so excited that you woke up before your alarm? If you truly love your job, you might still be doing that. On the other hand, if you wake up unhappy and seriously contemplating whether you should get out of bed at all, it’s probably time to hit the job sites.
Love = You wake up excited for the day.
Hate = You cherish the last few precious moments in your bed before facing the workday.
8. Are you friends with your coworkers?
And we’re talking about real friends here; not friendships based on a shared hatred of your boss or another coworker. Having good friends at work can make up for a lot of other junk at an otherwise crappy job. You just want to make sure that there are other positive things about your job besides the people you sit next to.
Love = You love the people you work with.
Hate = You avoid seeing coworkers outside of work like the plague.
9. Do you believe in your company’s product or mission?
Not all of us can work for a company that will change the world. But you also don’t want to work at a company that makes your soul feel queasy. When you don’t believe in the product or your company’s mission statement is less than inspiring, it gets really difficult to do your job well. And if you never feel like you’re doing a good job, you’ll start hating your job and yourself.
Love = You feel like you’re making a difference.
Hate = You know you’re screwing your customers over.
10. Are you making what you think you’re worth?
Sometimes, it’s all about the money. If you’re doing something you enjoy but you’re not getting a competitive salary, you’re not going to stay happy at that job for very long. People always say that money can’t buy happiness, but it does keep a roof over your head and food on the table, so that’s kind of the same thing.
Love = You’re earning a competitive salary.
Hate = You’re considering selling a kidney.
Bonus: Do you go to the bathroom 10+ times a day to either get away from your coworkers or avoid doing your work?
No, you’ve never done that? Just me then? Okay.
Believe me, I know some work days feel unbearable, and it’s totally normal to fantasize about the day you will quit. On the days you’re feeling down, keep the big picture in mind and think about the things you can do to improve your situation. But spending your life at a job you really hate is no way live so don’t be afraid to ask yourself these question and make the change if it turns out you really hate your job.