I hate my job.
A sentence I thought I would never mutter. My overall optimistic, go-get’em attitude had always been one of my greatest strengths. Yet, after only six months, I was dreading going into work every day. But this was part of being and adult. To get ahead in my career I had to put in the drudge work, right? I’d have to put in the long hours in a job that I didn’t like, but that would look good on my résumé. I could just push through it and years down the road it would be worth it.
Fast forward a few years and I have learned that if you find the right work environment a job can be enjoyable. Better yet, it can be incredible! You really can wake up excited to go to work. You can actually love what you do and who you work for!
Here are the three reasons why I hated my job and quit, and how 97th Floor restored my optimism in the workplace.
1. Autonomy (we are adults, so we should be treated like it)
Autonomy: the right or condition of self-government, especially in a particular sphere.
My definition: the right to be treated like, and act like, an adult.
I hate my job:
At my past job, I was the communications manager for the company. This entailed being responsible for everything from email marketing and social media to internal communications and press releases. It sounds extremely exciting and time consuming. And it was...at first.
When I was learning the software, workflows, vernacular, and everything else that goes into the marketing and branding of a company, there wasn’t enough time in the day. After about three months, however, I had implemented my own processes which included the automation of many of my tasks. I set up email campaigns to automatically send out emails when someone interacted with our site. I had our social media posts scheduled out for over a month in advance, and set to automatically post. By four months in, I could regularly do all that I had been hired to do by noon each day.
But even though I had everything rolling, I still had to be there from eight to five everyday. I tried to come up with new projects to keep myself busy, but there was little motivation. So I sat there STUCK for hours everyday counting down the minutes until 5 p.m. so I could escape without getting reprimanded for leaving early.
And that was just the tip of the iceberg. If I had a dentist appointment, I had to schedule time off through HR just to get my teeth cleaned. If I had car troubles and had to work from home for the day, I had to fill out a special request sheet and send it to my boss. If I wanted to try a new marketing strategy, I had to get the golden stamp of approval from my boss, the CMO, and COO.
I love my job:
97th Floor is a ROWE (Results Oriented Work Environment) certified company. What does that mean? It means that as long as you get your job done, you can work wherever you want, whenever you want, and however you want! There is no time clock marking your hours. There is no manager giving you dirty looks if you show up an hour late because of traffic. There is no elaborate chain of command to get approval for a project. You are a professional and you were hired for a reason. ROWE allows for all the political red tape in the workplace to be stripped away so you can actually get your work done and then live your life.
Work from home. Work from the car mechanic shop. Work from a hammock on a beach in Mexico (which I have done and highly recommend). It doesn’t matter how or where, simply get your job done and do it well. It is surprising how liberating it feels to be be treated like an adult.
The Quick Takeaway:
Autonomy is one of the strongest motivators. Find a company that allows you to work how you want, when you want, and where you want. Trust me, you will work your tail off for that company to show your appreciation.
2. Work/Life Balance (it is possible to work hard and play hard)
One huge aspect of having good work /life balance is feeling like work is not taking over your life. There is no need for pointless meetings or time-wasting activities. You are there to get your job done and do it well, but at the end of the day you have a life. If you are so consumed at work that you are not spending time with your family, enjoying your hobbies, or going to the occasional party, then you need to evaluate if staying at that job is worth it.
I hate my job:
When I worked at a previous company there was a period of time where every Tuesday night I had to work late to write up and send off a recap email of the global webinar. The recap email had to be done and sent by 9 p.m. Why? I could never get a straight answer except for that it is what had always been done. When I got tired of having my Tuesday night taken away from me, I pushed back and asked if the recap could wait and go out on Wednesday mornings. The response — no.
Determined to get my Tuesday night back, I dug into the data and found out that of all the people we sent the email to, only 2% opened it. Armed with the data, I suggested that we test sending it early the next morning so the email wouldn’t get buried in our target audience’s inboxes. The response — you guessed it, a big NO. It had to be sent Tuesday night. That was the way it had always been, so that was the way it was going to stay, regardless of the facts.
I love my job:
At 97th Floor, we have unlimited paid time off (PTO), which means as long as you are hitting your goals you can take all the time off you want. As you can imagine, that has led employees to be as efficient as possible. If there is a task that doesn’t drive results, we are tasked to stop doing it and use that time to find another more effective way to get the job done.
With work being done faster, results improve drastically! Plus, WE determine which tasks are important or essential. Not our boss. Not the CEO. As the person who is in on the frontline and understands what is moving the needle, each individual decides how to most effectively spend their time.
Because of this, my wife has told me I can never leave 97th Floor. Honestly, I think she loves my job more than I do. Since working at 97th Floor, I have been able to attend every big life event, every vacation, and even catch the occasional weekday matinee.
And it doesn’t end there! I get to enjoy my hobbies. In the winter, I ski one work day a week by either entering the “deep focus zone” and knocking all my projects out in four days; or, if I get swamped and can’t free up a day, I still go skiing and just do my work in the evening. It’s brilliant!
The Quick Takeaway:
Work for a company that rewards your efficiency and lets you enjoy your life. There are plenty of companies now offering unlimited PTO and other systems similar to ROWE that provide you with incredible work/life balance.
3. A Company that Cares (if you are going to spend a majority of your day at work, it helps when you like the people and company)
According to a study done at Gettysburg College, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. That is about one third of your life! If you don’t like the company or people you are working with, you’ll miss out on increasing your network and just having a ton of fun.
I hate my job:
I will preface this with the fact that I did like my co-workers at my previous job. They were good, hardworking folks. Yet, there was a lack of camaraderie. For example, the marketing department was crammed in what could only be defined as a glorified closet. No windows, one door, and five people in cubicles practically stacked on top of each other. The room had motion sensored lights, and I’m not even kidding when I say that daily the lights would automatically shut off on us because there had been ZERO movement from anyone in over an hour. ZERO MOVEMENT! We would literally sit in silence in front of our computers for hours at a time! No joking, no chatting, no interaction.
I love my job:
A job at a ROWE certified company, as great as I make it sound (which it really is incredible), is not for everyone. A person has to be intrinsically motivated and willing to learn quickly in order to thrive. That’s likely why I feel that my coworkers are some of the most intelligent, motivated, and hard working people I know.
However, the most incredible attribute of my coworkers and 97th Floor in general, is how much the people care. They care about the work they do, they care about the community, and they care about each employee. Earlier this year, 97th Floor announced a new six week paternity leave policy. My wife was expecting our first child at the time and we were thrilled with the prospect of so much time together. On April 23rd, we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world. That same day, when 97th Floor’s COO found out that our baby had arrived, he sent me the following message, “Congrats on the baby! Ignore everything to do with 97th Floor! Enjoy this time and don’t think for a second about work. I did on my paternity leave, and I regret it. Don’t make the same mistake as me!”
When does your COO ever tell you to forget about work and focus on your family, let alone for six weeks? I took his words to heart and spent six phenomenal weeks cuddling, laughing, reading books, playing, and making memories with my little family. I also changed a million diapers, rocked my son back to sleep in the middle of the night, and helped my wife as much as I could while she recovered.
For the entire six weeks I was out, my work didn’t just get put on pause. Rather my co-workers stepped in and willingly took my clients and all the work that I would have been doing. And they did it simply because they cared. They didn’t get paid extra or get any extra incentives, they just did it so I could be with my family.
The Quick Takeaway:
If you are going to spend one third of your life with a group of people, I would suggest making sure that you are surrounded by those who are motivated, intelligent, and fun to be around. But most importantly, spend that time working for a company that cares.
In Summary: life's too short to be stuck in the wrong job
Life is already short. A large chunk of that short life is consumed at work. Don’t settle for a job that you hate. If you ever whisper, “I hate my job” under your breath, start the process of filling out applications for a new job. Find a job at a company that will treat you like an adult and give you great work/life balance — a job at a company that cares.