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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Turn that tedious job into a job you love

By Linda White
Special to The Toronto Sun

The alarm goes off and you grudgingly get ready for another day at work, eager only for week's end when you can collect your earnings. You check the clock countless times throughout the day, dreaming of a job you actually enjoy.

But is jumping ship really necessary? Or do you basically like the job you do, but find certain tasks unbearable? Finding the answer may take a bit of soul searching, but could be the key to making your current position satisfying again -- or help you find a job that truly makes you happy.

"Many people feel held hostage in their current positions," says Paul Goldenberg, founder of Blue Frog Career Transitions in Toronto. "Some people are frustrated because they're ready to make a progressive move in their careers.

"Others clearly know there is a misalignment with what they like to do and what they are doing. Their job doesn't motivate them or excite them when they get up in the morning. Finding alignment with your key strengths and function in an organization will drive your motivation."

Identifying the cause of your frustration is the first step toward improving job satisfaction. "Try to determine if the cause of your frustration is the result of a temporary situation or whether it's a more permanent situation," says Mike Pendrith, president of PerformancePoint Corp. in Toronto.

He points to the following as common causes of frustration:

  • Lack of advancement.

  • Type of work you're doing.

  • Co-workers.

  • Style of your superior.

  • Not being recognized for your contributions.

  • Not feeling adequately compensated for the work you do.

    Decide if your philosophy matches that of the company you're working for. "If they're not in line, there's going to be dysfunction," Goldenberg says. "Ask yourself: Is this the kind of organization I'm proud to work for? Can I be an advocate for what this organization is trying to achieve?"

    Next, determine if you've ever been happy in your current position. "What did things look like when you were happy?" asks Shannon Jackson, national recruitment manager at Manpower in Toronto. "What's making you unhappy? Can it be removed or diminished? Ask yourself: If this were the perfect position, what would it look like?"

    Do some research. "Try to find out what others have done in your company under the same circumstances," says Nancy Anderson of Career Partners International/Hazell & Associates in Toronto. "What worked? What didn't? Ask yourself how important it is for the organization to keep you on. The key is that both parties come out feeling something is gained."

    Once you've done your homework, sit down with your supervisor or human resources representative to discuss your frustrations and proposed resolutions. "You have to be proactive," Goldenberg says. "You can't wait for people to come to you and say, 'What's wrong?'"

    Take a positive approach, giving some specifics about what you like about the company. "Be solutions driven," Jackson says. "Tell them you're not feeling motivated, outline the barriers to that motivation and offer some solutions you think may work."

    If you're interested in another position within the company, let them know. "Tell them what you aspire to do," Pendrith says. "Tell them you would like to take on added responsibilities or to train for a specific position. Ask them what you would have to do in order to get to where you want to be.

    "If you're working for a good company and they value you as an employee, they may be willing to pay for those courses," he says. "Maybe your supervisor doesn't realize that you want to do something different and as such, has never considered you for that position or that type of work."

    As you search for solutions to the cause of your frustration, you may rightfully conclude your job is simply a poor match for who you are. "Maybe this isn't the type of work you really wanted to do when you first graduated from college or university," Pendrith says.

    "A lot of people take that first job to get started in the job market and then wake up several years later only to realize that they are stuck on the 'career treadmill' and not doing the type of work or in the type of profession they really wanted to do."

    Even if you can't find a solution within your company, figuring out what makes you happy and what motivates you is invaluable, Jackson believes. "Going through that exploration will be helpful as you launch the next phase of your career."

    (Linda White ( is a freelance writer based in Brooklin, Ont.)

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