What to do when you hate your job? The dilemma is a tricky one.
Whether you hate it because of your boss who shouldn’t even be in charge of an army of G.I. Joe’s, or the long hours, your insane co-workers or simply the fact that you’ve been doing the same thing for the past – well, we won’t say how many years. . .
It’s hard just to quit a job if you still need the paycheck, especially if you don’t know what’s next.
So if you find yourself in a stuck position where it may take you a while to get to the point financially, mentally, and emotionally to quit, what are you to do day in and day out between 9 to 5?
Are you just doomed to suffer?
I don’t think so.
Here’s what you can really do, and how to use all that time to your advantage.
Top 5 Tips: What to Do If You Hate Your Job
There are plenty of things that you should and shouldn’t do when you hate your job, but these are my top 5 tips.
Let go of the resentment
It’s very tempting to check out and be angry when you hate your job. It’s tempting to do the minimum and slink around like a shadow, hoping to be unseen, and leave for the day as soon as possible.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
― Nelson Mandela
You’re not doing yourself any favors by acting that way, and you’re not really hurting any one else – just yourself, your own reputation, and your own career.
Instead, you’ll have to take a deep breath and try to be the bigger person. It might be hard to swallow your resentment enough to keep working at your job, but if you want to survive a job you hate, you really can’t steep in anger the whole time.
Anger, quite literally, will eat you alive. It might start in your stomach, giving you terrible heartburn. Or in your head, giving you constant headaches. Maybe you won’t be able to sleep well, or you’ll overeat. Or you’ll be a nervous wreck, or depressed. Or you just won’t be any fun. However it manifests, anger will get to you if you sit with it long enough. It’s not worth it.
Your boss probably IS a jerk.
Maybe you SHOULD make more money.
But it’s time to let it go. Because the YOU you’re so indignant for is the same you that you need to care about in a real way now.
That means being the bigger person and facing the real challenges, which are:
“How do I be who I want to be, feel how I want to feel, and give to others what I want to give, even while I’m stuck in this rotten situation?”
“How do I get what I actually want?”
Do Your Best
It’s so tempting to check out and to feel like you just can’t put any effort into your work. And while there may be many other areas of your life that you do take joy in, it’s hard to be a complete person if you’re not giving your all in every area of your life.
That said, your best is variable. Sometimes, under ideal circumstances, your best is absolutely amazing, while at other times, like now, you don’t look like a rock star. The point is, no matter what you have to give right now, give it.
This will not only help you feel better, but it helps you answer question number two, above: How do I get what I actually want?
If what you want is a better job, doing a terrible job at the job you already have isn’t going to get you there. What kind of work will? What kind of things can you do that will help?
Think About What Lights You Up
At this stage in your career, you’re probably not that excited about doing what you’ve already done 8 thousand times already.
But something out there does excite you.
Maybe its mentoring others and using all your hard-won knowledge to help others walk the path you’ve walked. Maybe it’s doing something in a bigger way than you imagined you ever could. Maybe it’s venturing off on your own. Or maybe, you’re not quite sure yet. . .
Use this time to your advantage by seeing it as a way to be paid while you explore what you want and need in your next career. Someone is paying you to do work for them, yes, but you’re also buying yourself time to do some career exploration.
Once you’ve figured out what’s next, it’s time for that exit plan.
Make New Allies
Take this time to really build your network and use the network you already have. Especially as you take the time to think about what lights you up (#3), you can start to explore finding connections in the fields you want to learn more about. Building a good network takes time, and lucky for you, you have some!
5. Be kind to yourself. Until you can get unstuck, you’re in a tough situation.
WWGD? (What Would Gramma Do?)
She’d be very, very kind to you. And that’s just what you should do too. Lots of people I talk to are extremely unkind to themselves in this situation. They think unkind thoughts toward themselves:
“I’m a wimp”
“I’m a flake”
“I have no confidence”
Stop saying these things to yourself! Start telling yourself the truth, which is that you’re in a job that’s a bad fit for you, and you’re out to find one that’s better.
Then, get some sleep. Have some fun. Do some things that are relaxing. If you have things you are really, really worried about, talk about them and try to solve them – with help.
Be kind to yourself.
I understand that it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound, but once you realize shifting your mindset needs to be a priority, it is possible. The benefits of using this time to your advantage instead of wasting it feeling miserable are huge. Not only do you get to feel better immediately, but you also get to figure out what’s next in your career while you’re still getting paid.
I hope these 5 tips will help you know what to do when you hate your job. Tell me, what stands in the way of using your time at a job you hate to your advantage?