A Job You Hate Can Be Soul-Sucking — Here's How To Handle That

by Kimberly Zapata
Originally Published: 
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From overbearing bosses to a heavy workload, most of us dislike (something about) our job. It’s normal. Even the best roles and positions have flaws. But if you loathe waking up every morning and going to the office every day, your disdain may run deeper. There’s a good chance you hate your job. And while you may already be brushing up your resume or looking for a new position, you don’t have to suffer in the interim. There are things you can do to make your day more comfortable and manageable. To help you move from your current role to the next.

“Life is too short to stay at a job that makes you miserable. That’s a fact,” Carrie Williams Howe — a consultant and professional coach — tells Scary Mommy. “That said, not everyone has the privilege of choosing or finding the perfect job, especially not right away.”

Here are eight things you can do to cope and move forward.

Assess your situation.

The first (and arguably most important) thing you should do if you hate your job is assess your situation. “Before you jump ship, try doing some self-analysis to get to the root of the problem,” Paul French — a recruiter and career coach — tells Scary Mommy. “Identify the main aspects of your job you dislike. What about your current workplace is stressful? Is there a particular thing(s) that is causing you to feel like you can’t stand your job?” Determine what you are looking for in a new role, if that is your next course of action. And realize that if you don’t deal with why you dislike your job now, it will hurt you in the long run. “Assessing your situation will give you a better understanding of your current position and help better understand what it is you’re looking for in your next professional role.”

Speak with your supervisor and/or manager.

While your boss may not be the nicest person in the world — or the easiest human being to deal with — having an open and honest dialogue with them can help. “Your boss should offer you the support, tools, and resources you need to thrive in the workplace,” French tells Scary Mommy. Their role is one of oversight, after all. It is their job. And while most bosses are willing to help their employees, they cannot read your mind. “If you’re feeling burned out, for example, you may want to consider requesting a more flexible schedule so that you can enjoy a greater work-life balance. Will working on meaningful projects, getting that much-awaited promotion, or receiving a salary bump boost your job satisfaction? Talk to your boss about it calmly and constructively with the idea that you want to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.”

Set goals you can tackle — and that are within your control.

If the reason for your dissatisfaction stems from being overwhelmed and/or overworked, know this: You are not alone. Most Americans feel they are wearing too many hats and working too many hours. But setting (and reaching) small goals may help you feel more in control. It may also improve your morale.

Learn as much as possible.

Anastasia Gorlanova/EyeEm/Getty

Getty Images/EyeEm

Most companies are willing to invest in their employees. From college classes and seminars to technical training, many organizations want to help their employees grow and learn. Take advantage of these things while you can. Not only will said classes bolster up your resume, they will help you feel more fulfilled — and give a job you hate more meaning and purpose.

Take breaks.

Feeling overworked? Overwhelmed? Are you angry or just stressed out? If so, take a short break. Getting fresh air and some quick exercise can do wonders for your mood. If you have vacation days available, use them — that’s what they’re there for.

Set boundaries.

It’s important to establish boundaries in life, at home and at work. In fact, a lack of boundaries is a big reason why many end up hating their job. Thankfully, this is something you can be in control of. French tells Scary Mommy you can and should learn to say no, especially to projects that do not inspire you or that you’re not good at. “In trying to be a good team member, don’t try to please others by doing their work or biting more than you can chew,” French adds. “You should also say no to regularly working long hours, as work-life balance can help with job satisfaction.” You should also ask for help when you need it, and delegate when possible.

Keep the door open.

“Actively looking for other opportunities is a great way to feel like you are taking action to improve your situation,” Williams Howe tells Scary Mommy. “For example, you could give yourself an assignment to apply to one new job each week that sounds like an improvement. If you have the ability to wait until something truly better comes along, you can be picky while you stay in your current position.”

Find joy outside of work.

So you hate your job. That’s a given. And you’re making steps toward changing your situation. That’s huge. That’s big. It’s great news. But you should also reassess your personal life, especially if your 9 to 5 isn’t bringing you joy or filling your proverbial tank. “​​Take up new activities to take your mind off work” French tells Scary Mommy. “Do something you truly enjoy, which brings you life —whether that is teaching a class, volunteering, exercising, or socializing. These social activities are also an opportunity to vent to acquaintances and friends, and who knows, they might point you to a new exciting opportunity. You can also start looking for and applying for jobs. You may find that applying to your dream employer might give you something to look forward to.”

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