If you hate your job, please know that you are NOT alone. At any given moment, there are countless people feeling the same way. With many of them trapped in soul-crushing jobs they have no control over. Or so it seems to them, as one day turns into the next with no relief in sight.
Oh. I depressed myself with that description. But it is how it feels for many of you. I know … I’ve been there myself. But the good news is that, in many cases, there actually is something you can do to lift some of the heaviness — and hopelessness.
First some reasons you might hate your job
- The work is boring
- No one appreciates you
- Horrible boss
- Terrible co-workers
- You aren’t getting to use your real skills
- You have to deal with rude people
- Things keep changing with no apparent plan
- You have no say in anything that affects you
- Nothing ever changes; you’ve been doing the same thing for years
- You want to be doing something else (but are afraid to leave)
Any of those sound familiar? Feel free to share your own reasons that you hate your job in the comments section below!
1. What could make this job better for me?
MINDSET SHIFT: Sometimes when you feel trapped by a job, you get stuck in a “hate your job” mindset that gets in the way of real change — or creative solutions. And the walls of misery continue to close in on you, instead of you being open to things that could improve your situation.
As much as you may be ready to pack it in, it’s worth taking the time to try a different mindset on for size. Even if it feels impossible right now, hang in there with me on this point. Try to give yourself a temporary attitude change just to open yourself up to possibility.
If you stay in a “this can never work for me” mindset, you may miss a chance to help turn things around. Even a small opening of “maybe I can” leaves the door open to things you never imagined. It’s a great first step — especially if there might be an advantage to trying to make the job work.
2. So what can I do to aim myself toward work I’d enjoy more?
With a more open mindset in place (think of it as a reboot or simply a fresh start), any of the following may help you feel more appreciated, more engaged, and even more hopeful in your work. While there’s no guarantee, since you’re already there it’s worth a shot:
- Learn a new skill or skills related to something you would actually enjoy that also can be useful to the company.
- Think about what you would want to do that is needed and propose a project you can take the lead on — or at least be part of. You might enlist the help of a co-worker to get it going.
- Talk to your boss about things you would like to get into — but first make sure you’re doing a great job at your required tasks. AND make sure you’re showing a positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile in general. Complaints don’t get rewarded.
- Find a supportive mentor / support network. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you’ll stand out as someone who gets selected to try new things. And you’ll also feel better when doing the same old same old.
- Look for ways to improve everyday processes. Then, after mapping out how it might be improved (a flow chart or diagram might be useful), share your thoughts with your boss. Be careful to use a helpful approach and not a critical one in case they developed the process.
- Find a way to feel more invested in your company / department. It takes you out of the “them vs. me” mode. The more you find allies and participate in helping make things work well, the greater chance you have of feeling happier at work.
While you might be thinking of leaving because you want to be doing something else, what if you can create more interesting opportunities right where you are? Not only will you enjoy your days more, but whatever skills / experience you gain can help you when you are ready to look elsewhere!
3. Is there anyone who can help me get to more interesting work?
Remember to look for those allies and a support network, both internal and external. Although it might take some time and patience, you don’t have to do this all alone.
- Your boss
- A coworker
- Someone in another department or location you deal with
- Board members or other advisors, especially if you work for a nonprofit
- A person outside the company (informational interview, alumni, former employer/coworker)
- Support groups both local and online
4. Is there anything I can learn (about myself or skills) if I stay?
Sometimes, as much as you hate your job and would like to move on, there may be things to gain by staying. At least for a while longer. Wherever you are, any time you can use the situation to improve yourself, this is something you can carry forward forever.
As I mentioned earlier on, you may be able to add skills or experience, as well as new contacts that can help you far beyond this job. Also, are there things to learn about yourself like how you behave in organizations and what approaches / mindsets might win you greater rewards?
5. Would a new job really be the best answer?
Sometimes it really is time for you to move on. If you’re being abused or realize the job is a dead end or just too awful to bear no matter what you try, by all means start looking.
But just remember that wherever you go, there will be annoying people and issues that may feel similar. So the stronger and wiser you can get in your current job — think of it as a learning ground — the better prepared you will be when you take on something you truly love!
Only you know the answer for yourself. But if you hate your job, at least give it a chance based on some of the suggestions in this article. As I said in the beginning, I’ve been there myself — and I based this article on things that really worked for me.
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