Life is too short to be unhappy! Remember when that statement was a cliche? No longer. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is too short. Period. Full stop.
Study after study shows the majority of people are unhappy at work. Think about that for a sec. Most working adults spend most of their waking weekday hours feeling miserable. Weekends barely offer a respite since those two days of fun suffer beneath the enormous weight of the approaching workweek’s woes. There’s a reason “Sunday Scaries” is a popular search.
There are tons of reasons why your job might have lost its luster. There are plenty of things you can do about it. First, however, see if you recognize these five signs of a dead end job.
1.Your Get Up and Go Got Up and Went
Occasionally we all feel too tired to give 110%. Sometimes the cozy bed calls louder than the cold office. What I’m talking about is a constant, enervating sense of fatigue. There’s a reason unrelenting exhaustion that doesn’t go away no matter how much you sleep is a cancer warning sign. Just as cancer relies on your body’s nutrients to grow, a dead end job drains your desire. Undiscovered tumors can spread throughout your body. A dead end job metastasizes from the workplace to every aspect of your life. Doing anything to avoid going to work –– oversleeping, being consistently late –– if the behavior is uncharacteristic, it’s a sign you are in a dead end job. It’s like you are challenging your boss to fire you and save you the effort of quitting.
2. You’re Ignored
Maybe tardiness is a cry for help. Like a neglected child you’ll do anything just to get attention. You’re a talented, creative person. Your ideas and opinions are informed by knowledge and experience. Yet your suggestions are consistently shot down. Or worse, your boss occasionally uses your ideas but treats them as their own creation. Either way, it’s a bad sign. No boss acts on every idea but the best ones take the time to listen and let staff know their value.
3. Your Desk? Last Rut on the Left
It’s no fun feeling stuck in a rut. It’s even worse knowing you’re inhabiting one. If you are consistently passed over for promotions and never given opportunities it’s one of the surefire signs of a dead end job. Actually, it’s the very definition of a dead-end job. Much like a dead-end street, a dead end job probably won’t get you where you want to go. The solution to this is obvious. Volunteer for more responsibility, help your boss with their pain points (without becoming one) and set up a time to discuss opportunities and promotions. If your interest in moving up the ladder is ignored or dismissed, it’s most likely time to find a new job.
4. You Get the Worst Gigs
Whenever there is a circus or a parade, someone follows the animals with a broom. If you feel like that’s your job (and your boss is the elephant in this scenario), you may be in a dead end job. We all have to do unpleasant tasks from time to time. Many people who started their careers flipping burgers now own franchises. Pay attention not just to the level of responsibility but if you are consistently handed whatever tasks your boss hates. Helping your boss can help your career –– up to a point. Many top execs started out getting coffee or running errands for powerful people. Your guts should be able to discern between a short-term difficult assignment with growth potential and a dead end job.
5. The Company is CTD
Another textbook example of a dead-end job is working at a company while it circles the drain. If sales are plummeting and you keep finding coworkers’ resumes in the printer, you need to start your job search sooner rather than later. Maybe you’ll feel like a rat deserting a sinking ship, but what exactly is the alternative? There’s no nobility waving to the lifeboats as the deck slowly descends below the waterline. The only thing worse than an association with a failed business is waiting too long and competing with former colleagues for the same scarce positions.
If you feel you feel stuck in a dead end job, the good news is you have the power to get unstuck. Maybe you need a mentor, a sponsor, or even a coach. Because you deserve present-tense happiness not joy in some distant future.
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