Work environments are incredibly complex – even if you’re working remotely. Different personalities, different preferences, and different opinions all combine to create scenarios that are ripe for conflicts, disagreements, and even hurt feelings.
Sometimes, it’s possible to work around these disagreements. But some people prefer to just throw in the towel. Most people can point to a couple of jobs throughout their careers that they really hated and seriously thought about quitting- and some of them may have actually resigned from these positions.
However, if you change jobs on a regular basis because you’re frustrated with the company, your boss, your coworkers, or even the work itself, could you be the problem?
Below are some points to consider.
The Perfect Job Doesn’t Exist
I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for 10 years. I absolutely, positively love the freedom to set my own hours, choose which clients I want to work with, decide which topics I’ll write on, and sit around in my pajamas most of the day (or night). If it sounds like heaven, trust me, it’s pretty close.
However, it’s not quite perfect. I have clients that pay very well, and clients that don’t. Some clients pay on time, some clients pay when they get around to it. Some of the work is exciting, but some of it is boring. Some clients are a joy to work with, and some can be a real pain.
And all of these dynamics can quickly change at the drop of a hat. One editor leaves, and the replacement editor isn’t that nice or friendly – or they have a different way of doing things that doesn’t seem logical. Or the company gets a new owner, and now the organization is headed in a completely different direction.
I don’t always agree with all of the decisions, but there’s one question I ask myself as I’m deciding if I want to continue working with a client: how important is this disagreement or change in the grand scheme of things? If the client pays well, and the income helps me to live the life that I love, often the parts that I don’t like pale in comparison.
I understand that I won’t love every assignment, I won’t be chummy with every editor, and I won’t follow all of my colleagues on Twitter. And that’s fine because, I understand that there will always be some challenges – but I’ve learned they’re only as big as I allow them to become.
You May Be Experiencing “Growing Pains”
When you were growing up, your parents probably made you do a lot of things that you didn’t want to do. But since you were a child, you couldn’t really run away from them. Your parents made you go to bed at a certain time, required you to make good grades, insisted you eat your veggies, made you practice on your musical instrument, the list goes on.
Your employer also has certain requirements- for example, you need to come to work on time, turn in your assignments on time, and they may have certain standards regarding how the work should be performed. You may not like those requirements either. But just as your parent’s requirements were designed to help you, some of your employer’s requirements are designed to make you a better employee, which is actually helping your career.
If you start viewing those strict guidelines and your boss being “picky” as something that can make you a sharper employee, it can give you a leg up on the competition. Maybe you’re always running late, perhaps you’re disorganized. I once worked with a woman who was notorious for making major mistakes, but she always thought it was no big deal, and couldn’t understand why everyone would get upset over her errors. She was passed over for numerous promotions because no one wanted to give her more responsibility since she had such a lackadaisical attitude. The woman left that company and went to another organization. Not long after, she was once again complaining that her new boss was “always making a big deal over a little error.” She never grew, and neither did her career.
Conflict is Inevitable
It’s highly unlikely that you can spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, with someone and not have disagreements with them. Most people spend more time at work than they spend waking hours at home with their families. So, technically, you have a work family. And just like your other family, they may not always say it right or do it right. But is that really a reason to quit? Have you stopped communicating with your family members because you have disagreements with them?
If you quit a job every time someone makes you mad, you’re going to be quitting a lot. Because eventually, every boss and at least one of your coworkers will say or do something that offends you. I’m not saying you should tolerate racist or sexist comments, but you have to learn how to work through workplace disputes.
The Grass is Not Always Greener
Sometimes, employees resign or quit because they consider another job more attractive – and this is normal. However, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of leaving. For example, more money is always a popular reason to change jobs. But believe it or not, there are some things that may be more important than a higher salary. For example, if a job is further away from your home, you may go from a 15-minute commute to an hour-long commute. And in the long run, you may grow to hate your new, higher-paying job because you’re spending too much time on the road.
Or your new, higher-paying job may not offer as much flexibility. Before, you could make a call in the morning to alert the office that you were coming in later or decided to take the day off. However, the new job may require a 7-day notice when you need to change your work schedule. At some point, you may decide that this is not the right job for you because it is too restrictive.
I knew a person who accepted a new job and immediately hated it because she had to park a very long distance from the office. For the interview, she was told to park in the guest parking area, and the subject of parking never came up during the interview. But after she was hired, her assigned lot was so far away that she was no longer able to run errands on her lunch break. She also complained that she was freezing when walking to and from the car in the winter, and burning up in the summer. It was such a radical change that she left within a year.
That’s why it’s important to thoroughly research jobs – including the surrounding area – and ask probing questions in the job interview. It also helps to speak with people who work at the company to get honest reviews. Review sites like Glassdoor can also provide insight.
You’re in the Wrong Place
There’s another reason why you may keep changing jobs. Perhaps it’s the wrong type of job or even the wrong industry. The right job should allow you to use your gifts and talents. And it should also be work that interests or excites you. If you struggle to do your work well, it’s possible that the position doesn’t play to your strengths. And that’s okay, you just need to find a job that does. Also, you can be good at a job, but if you find it boring, you just don’t like that type of work, you’re not likely to be happy – even if it pays well.For the sake of your career, it’s worth taking the time to find out what you like and what you’re good at. When you make this connection, you’ll be less likely to keep changing jobs.
Terri Williams is a freelance writer, covering business, finance, real estate, and lifestyle topics.