4 Things That Make You Hate Your Job
Two people can be working the same job and be treated equally at a workplace; one may be happy and the other may be unhappy. How can this be?
There are two likely reasons, with the most obvious one being the unhappy employee is working a job not suitable for their skillset.
What if the job description matches the skillset of the unhappy individual, and there are others at the workplace holding the same position that are generally content and fulfilled? This is the subject of today’s article.
You May Have become a Victim to Generalizations
What is a generalization?
Since most of us are exposed to tons of information daily, we create mental shortcuts hoping to reach conclusions quickly (even if we end up jumping to a conclusion or two in the process).
Most humans are not fond of holding too many loose ends in tandem, so when we want to put a thing to rest and give it no further critical thought, we often use a generalization and move on.
No harm in that, is there?
Generalizations come in handy when we want to convey general information about a thing to someone else, or to archive it in our own memories for future retrieval.
For example, we might say a particular playlist on Spotify contains all pop songs, or that most people dress up when going to a local pub. This information may not be 100% correct upon further examination, but there are few, if any consequences to inaccurately describing a playlist.
On the other hand, other generalizations, namely hasty and sweeping generalizations about people and process harm can—and frequently does—follow.
Sweeping generalizations are considered cognitive distortions according to cognitive psychology, and logical fallacies by experts in the fields of logic and debate.
According to the book, Logically Fallacious, the author defines a sweeping generalization as: applying a general rule to a specific instance without proper evidence, and a hasty generalization as: applying a specific rule to a general situation without proper evidence.
We’ve all done this, haven’t we? I just made a hasty generalization in asking that question.
Kidding aside, this type of generalizing is bad for us because it hinders us from getting to the truth of a matter and taking the right actions to remedy it.
If we make a statement such as, “None of the people in the production department like to work, that’s why everything’s on backorder,” we may never find out that production received their materials three weeks late because purchasing was short staffed.
This also prevents us from having a real gauge for measuring improvement. When will the issue be solved? When production likes to work. How will we measure that?
Another reason to stay away from sweeping and hasty generalizations is that we often tend to believe them once we say them enough—or after other people say them. This contributes to the collective misinformation of the masses.
While many people believe the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” there are many cases where consumers are overcharged for goods and services.
Prices are established according to what people are willing to pay, and not always indicative of quality. People who fall prey to this generalization are more likely to overpay for a product or service.
Most importantly sweeping generalizations are bad for the psyche because they usually come supercharged with unnecessary negativity that quickly leads to a low mood.
They zap you of your energy and creative flow. They are bad for co-workers, bad for your employees, bad for your boss and bad for you. Generalizations can go viral, and affect the thinking of those who hear them.
Following are five toxic generalizations that may be preventing you from getting to the heart of workplace conflicts, and effectively resolving them.
1. “There’s no communication.”
Rather than saying there’s no communication it’s better to determine how the information you wish you would have received was communicated, and determine if the present method of communication is reasonable.
For example, if the only mention of the upcoming Holiday Party was in the company newsletter and you didn’t know about it, the issue isn’t that there’s no communication, but that not everyone reads the newsletter.
Tackling the solution from this vantage point is much more effective—and you’ll be much less pissed when you learn that they weren’t trying to hide it from you.
When you find that important information hasn’t been communicated to you, determine how and when you would’ve liked to have the information and ask if it can be delivered to you that way the next time.
In most cases what needs to be communicated more is the method by which things are communicated. The senders and receivers of the communication need to discover the best, reasonable method that will work for all parties. When we avoid the trap of succumbing to a toxic generalization we see the problem more clearly and are empowered to take action to resolve it.
2. “They don’t care about…”
Demonization is as old as humanity itself, and our language conveniently provides us with the collective pronoun they to make this destructive way of thinking easy to do. Who are they—and what are the specific things they allegedly don’t care about?
There is no such person as “they.”
Since it would be impossible to demand that all colleagues and managers make obvious to all individuals at all times that all of their unique concerns are actively being considered, the only way to reasonably address this complaint would be to identify the individual who has demonstrated behavior that clearly indicates their lack of concern for a matter.
As long as there remains one specific employee who doesn’t appear to care about one specific thing, the problem of “they don’t care about…” will still be echoed throughout your workplace and keep you feeling drained.
Whatever improvement you could observe or enjoy will be obscured by your use of this generalization.
When this generalization comes to mind, substitute “they” for an individual’s name. See if you still have the same impression.
This will allow you to determine the individual (or individuals) who give you this impression so you can seek out the proper channels for addressing the issue.
3. There’s too much drama.
The use of the word drama often refers to the idea that someone is upset about something, and is choosing to air their grievance to someone.
When this everyday human behavior gets the overly broad drama label slapped on it—and is perceived as such, then every time someone gets upset about something it reinforces our belief that we are dealing with a lot of drama.
The reality is the greater the number of people who gather together in a given place increases the odds of at least one person in that place being upset about something for some reason.
Since the workplace is filled with everyday people every day, the idea of too much drama will not get resolved when we never seem to get a break from what we perceive to be drama.
Look at each conflict as a specific event and mentally label it as such. Ignore the minor debates altogether, as some workplace conflict is healthy.
4. Everyone is always so negative.
All of the time.
(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
The strong bias created from this sweeping generalization blinds us from recognizing those who are acting positively, or even neutrally.
Now say the words, “Everyone is always so negative,” and notice how negative you feel since you’ve said them.
This negative feeling you brought on by saying this negative sentence will color everything you see. Neutral interactions and even some positive ones will be perceived as negative once you activate this mindset.
Make a note of the specific people who say negative things when they say them, and avoid making a sweeping generalization beyond what you hear. You may discover you have much less negativity to deal with than you thought. Now that’s a lot less on your plate!
The generalizations above move us further away from resolving a workplace conflict because they usually lead to an inaccurate assessment of the issue at hand. This too often leads to implementing complex strategies that simply don’t work because they were based on bad or non-existent data.