There’s nothing wrong with you for hating your job

wrong with you

Tell me if you can relate with, or have even found yourself saying things like:

“Why does working here feel so hard for me and so easy for the people around me?”

“If only I could be more like everyone else {loud, expressive, engaged, interested, enthusiastic, you name it}, then maybe I wouldn’t struggle so much.”

“What’s wrong with me for not being able to like this?”

“I feel so guilty for having to fake it, when no one else seems to be doing that.”

It’s breaking my heart to hear how many people feel so sad, isolated, lonely and out of place day in and day out.

And what’s worse, most of them are suffering in complete silence. It’s not exactly advisable to tell people how you really feel, since doing so is a confession of how dissatisfied you are. If people around you knew that, you could potentially lose respect … or even your job, altogether.

So, you say nothing. You become more and more unhappy, disillusioned, and down in the dumps.

The worse you feel, the more you suspect there has to be something wrong with you. You must lack some vital element or ability that everyone around you somehow magically received.

But that just makes you more frustrated, because you can’t put your finger on what it is that’s wrong with you. Which depresses you even more … and so the cycle continues.

FIRST, LET’S ACKNOWLEDGE HOW THIS IS SHOWING UP

I have a client, Daphne, who is a natural introvert.

She’s not anti-social, but she doesn’t get her energy from being around people. Solitude and the ability to focus amidst peace and quiet are what do it for her.

But Daphne has an extrovert’s job. She has to interact with people day in and day out, whether that’s the people in her office or clients she’s trying to solve problems for over the phone.

It completely drains her because it’s so foreign to her true nature.

But instead of realizing that … she’s been beating herself up for not being extroverted enough.

Her thought process has sounded something like:

“I suck at this job. Everyone else in my office is so charming and easygoing and sociable. Why is this so hard for me? I’m clearly not good enough.”

I have another client, Kim, who just can’t get excited about the work her company is doing. She also chafes at having to sit at a desk from 9-5 every day, which seems unnecessary to her.

But her co-workers are excited, and all of them seem to love being there all day.

At this point, you can probably guess what she’s been saying to herself:

“What the heck is wrong with you, Kim? Why can’t you be grateful for what you have? People would kill for your job! You must not be appreciative enough, or dedicated enough, or engaged enough. You better work ten times harder to prove that you ARE dedicated and engaged.”

Kim is burnt out, exhausted, and at her wits end … because nothing she does feels good enough, regardless of how hard she works. Nothing she does is “fixing” how she feels.

HERE’S WHAT I TOLD BOTH OF THEM, AND WHAT I’M NOW TELLING YOU

Of course you hate your job.

And here’s why:

95% of us got where we are following a VERY similar pattern, which goes something like …

  • Graduate from high school, enroll in college.
  • Pick a major based on something you were good at in high school. If you’re lucky, you feel neutral, at best, about what you’re studying.
  • Graduate from college with a degree in something that you’re, again, technically (as in, you have the skill to do it) good at.
  • Take the first job you’re qualified for (and can actually get) because you’re in the real world now and the bills aren’t going to pay themselves.
  • At best, you feel neutral about this first job. More likely, you grow disillusioned very quickly.
  • In reaction to how much you dislike your job, you apply for others that you’re technically qualified to do and now have a bit more experience for.
  • You hope the next one will be better. But it’s probably more of the same.
  • … and the cycle repeats itself.

After looking at this pattern, the issue isn’t “Why don’t I like my job?” It’s, “You’re lucky if you don’t hate your job.”

It all happened so randomly and arbitrarily, didn’t it?

Never, not once, did you get to make a decision based on what you actually value and what you’re genuinely interested in and excited about.

No one ever asked you, “What are you deeply attracted to?” or “How much do you actually care about the path you’re on?”

Nope. You were an 18-year-old kid who chose a course of education — because you had to pick something — based on what you felt competent enough to get good grades in (and that you maybe sort of liked, if you were lucky), and then fours years later you had to start an entire career with THAT as your feeble foundation.

And then, completely un-shockingly, you end up disliking what you do, or how you do it … and we’re all somehow surprised by that?

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT

Of course you’re going to hate your job (and feel disengaged, and unmotivated) when it’s completely misaligned with who you are and what you care about.

Why should we expect ourselves to love something that we didn’t get into for the right reasons?

Why should we be super motivated by something that we ended up with randomly, based pretty much on our technical skills and whatever experience is on our résumé?

Why should we thrive in an environment that isn’t suited to our personality?

I told Daphne and Kim, and now I’m pretty much begging you:

twitter-bird Please stop beating yourself up for being misaligned with your job. It’s not your fault.

There’s no reason to punish yourself for ending up in a situation that doesn’t actually fit the whole of who you are.

Being good at something, having the technical skill to do it, and having some experience … this has NOTHING to do with what’s really important about a career: Whether or not you’re actually attracted to it, and whether or not the environment you’re doing it in suits you.

YOU CAN ONLY BE “WRONG” IF YOU REFUSE TO CHANGE THIS

There’s nothing wrong with Daphne for being an introvert.

What’s wrong is that instead of accepting her introversion and honoring that about herself, she’s been trying to force herself to be something she’s not.

It makes perfect sense why Kim is disengaged.

She’s incredibly attracted to freedom and flexibility (her Passion Profile is Firestarter). It’s clear to me that she has an entrepreneurial spirit and that she’d probably thrive if she got to work for herself.

But she’s in a job that’s perfect for a Tribe Member … and she’s surrounded by people who really want to be part of the company’s tribe.

The only thing that’s wrong with her is the fact that she’s been trying to make something work that’s never going to suit who she really is, and she’s punishing herself for not being able to manage it.

So please, let this be the last day that you beat yourself up, feel like crap, or ask “What’s wrong with me?”

There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just in a situation that’s misaligned with who you really are and what you value.

The only thing you can do wrong is to stay where you are and let this continue.

I want to hear from you: How have you been feeling not good enough, and taking the blame by assuming something’s wrong with you? Share with me, in the comments.

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Much Love,

Rachel (+ Kristen)

12 Comments // ADD COMMENT

12 comments

  • PRASAD SHIROLKAR

    Bingo !!! You have hit the bull’s eye. I am also going through the same situation like Kim. Thanks a ton for this article. Helped a lot. God bless you both always & in all ways.

    • Rachel E.

      You’re welcome! I’m glad this might help you see your situation differently! 🙂

  • Vicky

    I totally agree with yoy! I have been doing the same thing to myself for the last 3 years after losing a job I had loved, but grown disillusioned with. Now, I’m stuck in a job that I should be able to do with my eyes closed, but I hate coming to work. I think I need to go back to school to do the things I love, or maybe start my own business. Which is really what I want to do, but I don’t know what business to start! My profile says I’m a Firestarter, but right now I feel more like a spark plug!

    • Rachel E.

      Vicky — I laughed at you calling yourself a “spark plug.” I totally love that analogy! You know, one of my favorite business mentors is Marie Forleo. If you haven’t heard of her, you should check her out. She does a weekly online video series called MarieTV that’s geared toward female entrepreneurs with burning questions. I bet she has a video about how to choose the right business to start! She really inspired Kristen and I on our entrepreneurial journey. 🙂

  • Susan Farrell

    I used to teach children with Autism for just short of ten years. I loved the kids and the families I worked with were amazing. However, my work environment was extremely poor; no positive feedback, cliquey staff, and perfectionistic expectations. I didn’t fit in and as hard as I worked or achieved, I received little recognition. I left that job and went to another similar school and although the staff was better, the work load placed upon me was too much to handle (not to mention my father had recently passed away). So I quit the field in February. Now I’m working 3 jobs: waitressing, babysitting, and some private sessions with kids. I’m a lot less stressed as opposed to a burnt-out, competent employee. I have more control over my life and I don’t have peering eyes waiting for me to make a mistake. I’m still searching for my passion so I can have ONE career, but I know quitting my job was the best decision I made in a very long time. It’s amazing how toxic people can affect one’s confidence, especially being a kind person to begin with. Fingers crossed I find my niche soon! PS This blog is great! Thanks ladies!

    • Rachel E.

      What a great story, Susan, thanks for sharing! It goes to show that the environment really can make ALL the difference when it comes to our energy and attitude. Good for you for quitting and making it work in your own way. The kind of hustle you’re putting into your life right now pretty much guarantees that you’re going to figure things out. People who are really consistent and determined always do!

  • Michele

    I too hate my job. The pay is good considering it’s right in my town but it drains the life out of me and I am bored out of my mind.

    • Rachel E.

      Being drained and bored and hating your job is definitely a steep price to pay for financial stability! It’s obviously important and necessary to be well-compensated, but I’m a firm believer that you can have both a job that you enjoy and be well paid for it. Don’t stay put out of fear that you might not be able to have both!

  • Angie

    I was like Kim, completely burned out. I was good at my job and it wasn’t hard so-to-speak, but it drained the life out of me. Sitting at a desk all day hurt my neck, which increased my migraines, which increased my depression and soon after anxiety. The job paid so well no one could understand why I hated it or just couldn’t put up with it and look at it as just a job. After 4 years and increasingly crappy treatment from the company, I finally had the courage to walk away. Man that was hard. But I had to do it for my physical and mental wellbeing. I positioned myself so that I will be fine financially while looking for another job. I’m so glad I finally made a change. I just hope I can find something more aligned with my values that actually pays anything decent. Thanks Clarity on Fire for the guidance!

    • Rachel E.

      Congratulations, Angie! It was a brave decision to quit your job, but clearly you did the right thing. It’s crazy how often we have to get to a point of physical pain before we’ll leave something that’s not good for us. I was in a similar boat a few years back, and I certainly don’t regret it! You’re on the right track!

  • Gillian

    Ah, yes. This is me once again.

    You guys were 100% right that I shouldn’t have taken pretty much the same job at a different company. I love my new company and co-workers but I cannot be in charge of taking people’s money anymore for our services. And it’s frustrating because that’s all my experience says I can do. I debated taking classes in the field I want to be in but with my current schedule, it’s impossible. Back at square one it seems.

  • Clementine

    This post rings especially true to me. I feel like I’m a Daphne AND a Kim! I’ve had a number of jobs already only a few years out of college and none have been a good fit. Most recently, I was teaching fitness classes (which I finally had to admit really didn’t mesh with my introverted nature). However, I liked being active and interacting one on one with my students. Now, I’m back at a 9 to 5 job and can’t stand being “glued” to my computer screen all day. I want to go back to school for new credentials and one day have my own practice. Two things are causing me fear/anxiety-the time I will need to put in togetting a new degree and the money I will have to sacrifice in the meantime.