You've probably been told that you should appreciate everything you have, especially your job in these tough economic times. We don't know about you, but we're certainly tired of hearing that! That's just everyone's way of trying to deal with a bleak situation and trying to see the glass as half full.

While the half full strategy is all fine and dandy for most people, what do you do if you truly are miserable in your job and everyday feels like torture? Is it wrong to feel unappreciative for having a job that you can't stand, especially when thousands of people are losing theirs? Just because the economic outlook and job market has changed for the worse, it doesn't mean your controlling boss or annoying coworkers have changed for the better. In fact, you wonder if you'd be happier laid off, with a severance package, collecting unemployment, and stressed about finding another job. It's that bad.

There are others out there too who feel a tension between wanting to appreciate having a job, but still not loving that job. Fortunately, you are not the only one suffering the consequences of your dislike; and while you have been paying a price, so has your company.

You may know the stats...71% of employees are disengaged on the job according to Gallup. And that stat was back in 2004 when times were good. Today, when times aren't so good, we doubt that stat is any lower. What are the implications? Unhappy employees are less productive not only because they are just going through the motions - slowly, but also because there are many missed opportunities to contribute their ideas about how to make the products, services, or work process better. The constant rounds of the corporate version of the show, "Survivor" only drag morale lower as employees get pushed off the company island. We don't need spreadsheets to prove this ultimately impacts the bottom line.

Quitting isn't really an option. If it was, you would've done it a long time ago. You need the money and stability. Furthermore, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal last week reporting that recruiters and companies are currently recruiting employed people vs. those who've been laid off.
Sad news for those who've been laid off, however, for those who are employed and miserable, there's a ray of light. So besides toughing it out while you secretly shop around your resume, what else can do you?

How about redefining work on your terms? So what if you hate your job, boss, and coworkers. You're getting paid. So what else can you get from your work? What are you not taking advantage of? We are not asking you to see the glass as half full. We are asking you to turn the situation on its side and find a way to actually take advantage of it. The company has taken advantage of your services this whole time. How have you taken advantage of the company?

What are some examples? Perhaps you can get on projects (or even initiate projects) that strengthen your resume. Are new projects competitive in your company? You can always make a stronger contribution to your currrent projects. This can mean anything from higher quality to improving how the project is done. This allows you to beef up the accomplishments in your resume. 

What about networking? Have you been sitting in your cubicle keeping to yourself? How about networking with people at work or leveraging your company name and position to network in your industry? Perhaps even leveraging your company name to get on speaking panels to get visibilty. You can't expect your company to do everything for you. You have to make it happen for yourself, which means actively taking what you need from the company and experience of working there.

Tell us your story of how you are turning the job you don't love into the job that you are taking advantage of.

About the Author

Thuy Sindell, Ph.D. and Milo Sindell, M.S.

Milo Sindell and Thuy H. Sindell are workplace experts and the founders of two software companies: Hit The Ground Running and Knowledge Genie.

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