Before You Change Jobs, Change Yourself


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Don’t feel appreciated on your job? You’re not alone. Even worse than not receiving praise for good work, is being degraded, belittled or ridiculed by your supervisor, coworkers or both.

No matter what job you have, there are some aspects of it you don’t like. Many people work in an atmosphere so toxic that they dread going to work, and often experience sick spells from the anticipation and actual abuse, etc. What can you do if you’re in a negative work environment?

Most people would quickly retort, “Quit! Get another job. ” But is that really the solution? Of course you want to seek a job where you can feel appreciated and gratified, but changing jobs may not bring the happy results you’re seeking if you’re going to be the same YOU in each new situation. Before you quit your job, there are a few things you may need to do.

1. Assess specifically what you don’t like and determine what it would take to fix it. If you hate your corner cubicle perhaps trading with someone may work. If your trouble is with unfair conditions or behavior investigate what resources are available to resolve your problem through your Human Resources Department or Employee Assistance Program. Even taking your lunch out of doors instead of in the company cafeteria may help relieve some stress. One clerical worker brings an apple and water so she can take a vigorous walk during her one hour lunch.

2. Pick your battles. Give your situation some deep thought and determine how important your complaint or discomfort is in the general scheme of things. Sometimes just changing your work schedule, lunch hour or location will resolve some problems. Listening to soothing music through a headset while doing desk work helped one employee shut out all the personal exchanges that were going on in cubicles around her.

3. Develop a thicker skin. Most of us have to find love and acceptance in deeper relationships than you can achieve with coworkers. Guard against letting little inconsequential things get to you. Seek humor in the situations that are just plain stupid so you don’t unwittingly get swept into becoming a Don Quixote.

4. Draw the line. Make it clear to your coworkers and boss where your personal boundaries are. Some coworkers love to blurt out every detail of their personal lives at work. Maybe you don’t.

5. Personalize your workspace. Perhaps having photos of your family and pets on your desk, wall or cubicle cheers you up throughout the day. Many employees bring a lamp, desktop waterfall, plants and soft music to warm up a sterile workspace.

6. Find allies. Align yourself with coworkers who feel the way you do about the job situation. But rather than malign your boss and gossip about coworkers, use your time together to cheer each other up, exchange positive ideas and share new job listings.

7. Learn to play the game better. Happiness in the workplace depends on not just doing your job well, but getting along with the your boss and coworkers also. Learn who you can trust and who can be counted on to stab you in the back. While you can be friendly, you must also guard against overstepping your bounds. Unless you’re the boss, refrain from giving your opinion on how the whole company needs to be restructured. When you have suggestions, present them to the decision maker, not to the crowd around the water cooler. Read Survival of the Savvy by Brandon and Seldman to help you safely navigate office politics. Visit websites like that offer strategies and resources.

8. Find your passion. Many of us are miserable on our jobs because we’re just collecting a paycheck, not following our passion. Learn how to find your passion from books, tapes and newsletters such as those offered by Barbara Sher,, The Path by Laurie Beth Jones, The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, What Color is Your Parachute by Bolles and Bolles, and Repacking Your Bags by Leider and Shapiro.

Finally, consider this: discomfort and stress on your job may be a big red flag that you are in the wrong place. This just may not be the job, career or company that suits your style and taste and fufills your life mission. To find your rightful life’s work, you may need to throw out parental “shoulds”, or get off the fast track with the “let’s-become-a-millionaire-before-30” crowd. Before you change jobs, do your “heartwork. ” Get busy finding out what you love to do, then get busy doing it.

Flora Morris Brown has consulted with many dissatisfied job holders who believe that quitting their jobs to start a gift basket business will bring immediate happiness and instant big bucks. Known throughout the gift world for her dazzling designs, dynamic speaking and motivational writing, Flora also helps gift basket designers, florists and retailers capture corporate accounts, find suppliers, improve design techniques, and increase profits. From her website, she offers unique designs to the consumer. On her website, , she offers abundant resources, business success products and informative articles. Her weekly newsletter for the trade provides sales-generating ideas, marketing tips, design ideas and business strategies.


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