3 ways to manage the bad parts of your job

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Every job has its bad parts. Whether it is a teammate on the team, the corporate culture, corporate management — or your manager — all jobs have bad components. The question isn’t how to get rid of the bad components, though if you can it is a good thing. No, the real question is how do you manage the bad parts so the bad parts don’t ruin your job — or your career. Let’s take a look at management of your work.

Know yourself

The very first area to discuss is to understand what it is that you like about your current job and what you don’t like about your job. This is entirely emotional awareness on your part. If you can’t understand what you like and don’t like about your job, you can’t figure out what to change or what to prevent in the next one. I’m reading a comment right now on another website that says this:

I am tired of the 9-5 and even with a job offer still feel sick to my stomach that the job is the same boring cubicle crap that I am used to! Ugggggggggggg

Well, you know, if you do the same thing again and agan and expect different results, it defines insanity. If you don’t figure out what you like and what you don’t like, how could you address the bad parts of your job? Right. You can’t.

How much corporate bullshit are you willing to put up with

I don’t know about you, but I have this corporate bullshit meter that is constantly running in my head when I’m consulting. The meter is constantly measuring how much Corporate Speak I am able to handle, how many unproductive meetings I attend, how much corporate politics I’m dealing with and how much I like my team and manager.

In my head, when the bullshit meter gets to about 30%, I’m close to having enough. If it stays at 30% too long, I start not liking my consulting gig.

Now, your meter might go off at 10% (I hope not…) or it might go off at 70%. But the deal is, you need to have your meter running and evaluating so you can tell when you are hitting your limits.

Awareness allows action

If you are self-aware of what you like and don’t like in your job plus have this meter constantly running in your head, you are now in a position to know what is bothering you and can now take steps to address it.

If it is your manager, you can take the strategy of outlasting the manager if you have a lot of corporate churn. Or you can address the issues with your manager and see if the situation improves. Or you can set a deadline where, if things don’t get better, you decide to start looking for another job.

And that’s the process you use for most of this kind of stuff: recognize the situation, try to change it, set a deadline and, if nothing improves, you start a job search.

Address the negative situations or lose your career edge

It is easy — easy — to let stuff slide. We do it with our work, our relationships and the commitments we make to ourselves. Your emotional awareness of what is going on for you in your work (and all the rest of your life) is critical to maintaining control and perspective on your work. If you don’t have this emotional awareness and take action, you end up putting yourself in a position where you lose control, don’t see signs of poor performance and can really get blindsided by what happens in company.

Watch what happens in your work. Overcome the bad things to get them to a manageable level — or start a job search. Every job has an ending — and a job that has too many bad parts to it is a good reason for you to go find a different job and end this one.

  • Lindsey167 says:

    I think there has always got to be something said about finding a happy medium- with the bullshit.

    • I agree. The key is to understand what level of bullshit you are willing to put up with before it is too much. The human person is easily adaptable and, as our frog who will die from boiling water if it is turned up slowly, can easily go to a point where you would not accept what was happening — but you adapt.

      Without your understanding of your level of tolerance (I’ve always thought of mine as about 30% bullshit and then I’m looking), you won’t make the next step to saying enough is enough and start looking for another job.

      Good point — thanks for commenting on this.

  • Different parts of your job require different strategies.  For example if its your boss that is the problem then you need to compartmentalise what parts of their attitude annoy you and try and address them.  The chances are you won’t be able to fix everything but hey that’ life!

    • Richard — good insight here. Yes, if the manager is a problem, that is one set of tactics. If it is your coworkers, that is a different set of tactics.

      And you are correct in that you won’t fix everything so you have to decide what your level of bullshit is and then guide your work into compartmentalizing parts of your work to tolerate it or decide to leave.

      Thanks for leaving the comment. I appreciate it.

  • Hi Scott, nice article. I’d like to add something to it. You ask how much corporate BS you’re willing to put up with. I say: thank god for all the corporate BS. You know why? For two reasons. First, corporate BS are loud and clear. They are the rules of the game and they are NOT hidden. They are right in your face every day you go to work. This allows all corporate players (employees) to play the game if they want. Second, being so loud and clear, they impact your BS meter. Imagine if the rules weren’t so in-your-face. We’d see people spending time just to understand the rules. Even before taking the decision whether to play or not.  

    • True enough. The level of BS ebbs and flows and it depends on your work and who you are interacting with. But, yes, these are the rules and you need to decide if you are willing to put up with them.

      Good point, Alex, thanks for leaving this comment!

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