11/11/2014 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Job Sucks (and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves)

2014-11-11-jobstress.jpgMost adults spend the majority of our time at work. The joy or stress we get from our jobs directly impacts our happiness, health, relationships, financial success and overall satisfaction with life. In fact, 80% of adults say their job is the most stressful thing in their lives - but it is how we respond to that stress that determines if it will hurt our happiness.

Because we spend so many hours working, it's easy to blame our boss, the company or our job tasks for anything negative that happens in our lives. Any of these sound familiar?

  • Money is tight. Bleepin' company won't give me a raise.
  • I'm stressed out. My boss is such a jerk.
  • I'm overweight because I'm stuck sitting at my desk all day.
  • I can't quit smoking - all my co-workers go out for smoke breaks.
  • I don't get along with my spouse. I'm always crabby from work.
  • I don't see my kids enough. I have to work such long hours to get the job done.
  • And the list goes on!

It's easy to blame our jobs when we spend so much time there. But it is not your company's fault. It isn't your boss's fault. It's not up to them to hold your hand and help you be proactive about your life and goals. Sure - they need to provide a paycheck, a positive workplace culture and support to help you grow and develop. But it's up to YOU to use those resources and take action on creating a job and life that fits your needs.

How can you shift your perspective and attitude when it really seems like a bad job or bad boss is to blame for your troubles?

  1. Rewind. Go back to the beginning of your relationship with your company. Why did you pursue a job there in the first place? What made you want to work there? Try to reconnect with your original motivation for working at your company to get re-inspired in your work.
  2. List it. Write down all the perks, benefits, bonuses and positive things your company does. These can be tangible things like "paycheck" or "free lunch" or they can be intangible like "helps the community" or "makes a great product." Once you've listed all the things your company offers, circle the ones you have used or taken advantage of in the past. Chances are there are many things your company offers that you aren't fully utilizing. (Think gym discounts, flexible work hours, vacation time, social events, etc.)
  3. Fire up. Are you a lazy or unmotivated employee? Do you do the bare minimum just to collect a paycheck? Do you put little effort into your appearance and energy levels when you come into the office? Kick yourself in the pants and bring your best self to work. When you are low-energy, lazy or unpolished, people perceive you negatively which impacts how successful you are personally and professionally. Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors by doing and giving your best at work and at home.
  4. Get real. When you take a long, hard, honest look at your life, is it your job that is causing you problems or are things happening at home that are impacting work? If it really is work, are you guilty of bringing your work drama home with you and bringing your loved ones down with you? Be honest with yourself about what is really driving your issues and contain it. Don't let it overflow into other areas of your life and start a viscous cycle of stress.
  5. Change it. If you are truly unhappy with your work situation why are you staying in it? Talk to your boss or HR about your tasks, people issues, goals and skills. Are they in line with what you're good at and where you want to go in your career? If not, work with them on shifting your job responsibilities. If you are still unhappy despite trying the tips above and working on your own mindset, it's time to leave the company and find somewhere you can be happy and thrive. Stop the complaining, take action and create your own life how you envision it.

Most people are so busy being busy that they forget to stop and enjoy their work and life. When you take a breath to identify why your job is causing you stress and then take another breath to figure out a solution, you are one step closer to happiness.

SHARE YOUR COMMENTS: How do you create a job you love? What is your favorite tip for spinning a stressful job into a more positive situation?

Want more tips on personal and professional growth? Listen to The Happy Hour Effect podcast for weekly inspiration.