Trapped In A ContractWe always start a job search with high optimism, motivation, and a sense of the ideal world we wish we lived in. But can a job truly make our lives perfect or is it a mistake to chase after a job due only to the popular perceptions of the position, its title, its pay, and its prestige?

“If only I snagged this perfect job, my life would be complete,” you may tell yourself as you begin a new day at a job that you hate. The obvious problem here is that the idea of the “perfect” job is unreasonable and flawed. After all, no matter how highly you may think of a job at the time of hire, after working it for a number of weeks, months, or years it almost invariably becomes stale and uninspiring.

But it is this very idea that there is a perfect job out there waiting to save us from the drollery of our current lives that reinforces any negative feelings we hold about our lives in the moment. Day after day, the story is the same, “I hate this job. This isn’t as I had expected. I can only be happy once I find the perfect job that fits the arbitrary set of conditions that I’ve created to define what such a job would look like.”

How can this cycle of negativity about the current situation and the misguided hope for a “perfect” job be broken?

• Honestly consider your daily focus. Do you spend your time actively seeking out the negative aspects of your job? Try switching the focus to the things that you like about it, such as your coworkers, schedule, or salary. List these items and look at them each time you fall into a bout of self-pity over your job.

• Try to choose one of the items from your “like” list each day and focus on it more than the others. Do you enjoy your relationship with a particular customer or coworker? Does a particular aspect of your job make you feel more fulfilled than others? Look for ways to replicate the positivity from these items into the other areas of your work life.

• Try to live in the moment and consciously direct your mind away from negative thoughts. Even if you have to constantly redirect your thoughts, practice keeping focus solely on the task at hand.

• Regularly question whether your professional situation is really as bad as you tell yourself; more than likely it isn’t. People often feel more trapped in their minds than they are in reality. Ask yourself, “If my job was truly as bad as I complain that it is wouldn’t I be in a different job already?” Keep in mind that there are always other options available and though they may not be the “perfect” alternatives to your current situation, you are not stuck, even when you fear you are.


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