Work negativity can take many forms, and they all feel pretty terrible. When you're feeling blah, angry or afraid much of the time, your job performance suffers and so does the overall quality of your life.
You may be tempted to jump right into a job search, but often it's possible to give your current job some CPR and revive it.
Here are some ideas of what you can think about and do, depending on what form your negativity is taking when you're:
If you're not interested in your work anymore (assuming you once were!) you might be able to get back some of what's missing or you might need to think about a new way you could make your work more interesting.
What project could you take on that would be more interesting?
Who could you delegate an uninteresting part of your job to (who might find it interesting)?
How could you change your approach that would breathe new life into part of your job? (For example, can you enlist others to work with you, can you learn something new, could you revise the way you do it, or how about reminding yourself about the value of the work?)
If you're criticizing everything and everyone you're hurting yourself and helping to create a toxic environment for others. Even if you're justified in your complaints, the more you tell yourself how awful it is and allow your anger and hositility to build, the worse you're going to feel. Doing something to alleviate your distress is your best option.
Strategize about what you can do that's in your control. Can you "manage up" more effectively? If you feel critical because everyone around you is critical, how can you stop taking in their complaints? What problem that's driving you crazy could you help solve? If there's someone on your team whom you can't stand, how can you change your thinking so they don't get under your skin quite so much?
Focus on anything that's going well. We often overfocus on the negative and forget to notice the positive (we're hardwired to do so!)
Amp up your networking. Talk to people on the outside and remind yourself that there is an outside. Don't wait until you've decided to leave a job to begin networking. It starts with email or coffee dates to reconnect with people you don't see often.
Fear spreds through an organization like a virus and has been especially prevalent in the last few years. Reorgs, new management, layoffs - they all feed the grapevine and cause a lot of drama. No wonder you're stressed and panicky. Here are a few suggestions:
Dispute catastrophic thinking. Notice when you're brooding about worst case scenarios and dispute those thoughts on paper. Is it really true that you're this close to losing your house? Be honest about what worries are unlikely to happen.
Focus on what's in your control. Is there a way you can sock more money away and increase (or start) your rainy day fund? Who can you reconnect with to touch base about what's happening elsewhere in your field? What's a way you can contribute even more value to your organization?
Small changes can lead to big results. Try some of the above ideas, but if you're still negative most of the time then explore opportunities outside your team or organization before you become completely burned out.
How have you been able to breathe new life into a job you've had?