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How to Cope with A Job You Hate

Updated on June 12, 2013

Reasons You May Hate Your Job

There are a whole host of factors that may make your job unappealing.

  • Unchallenging or repetitive work
  • An unsympathetic or hostile boss
  • Annoying or intrusive coworkers
  • Unreasonably long hours
  • An excessive commute
  • High stress projects
  • Frequent or arbitrary deadlines
  • Lack of benefits such as health insurance or vacation days
  • An environment where you are micromanaged, or left too autonomous

As you can see, a lot can go wrong at work!

Dealing Daily with an Unfulfilling Job

Unless you're especially lucky, you will at some point be forced to endure a job you hate--maybe you thought the position would be different, or maybe you just needed to pay the bills. Either way, you now spend day in and day out doing something you hate--and while yes, in the scheme of things you're lucky to have a job, that doesn't make existence any less miserable.

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to keep that feeling of discontent and malaise from leaking into your personal life as well--after all, we spend most of our waking hours at the office! But a bad job doesn't have to ruin your life.

Read on for how to cope with a job that you hate.

Does your job make you want to hide in a corner? There are ways to cope with a job that you hate!
Does your job make you want to hide in a corner? There are ways to cope with a job that you hate! | Source

Accepting Your Reality, Even if Your Job Sucks

When you hate your job, it's easy to slide into a pattern of wallowing and anger--why can't you find a job you love? Why can't you follow your passion? Those feelings are natural, but not productive.

Instead, work on accepting your reality--you have a job you don't like for now. And the "for now" is very important--you won't be at this job forever, and unlike many other unpleasant things in life, this is something you have the power to change!

Yes, right now you have a terrible job--that's a fact. What's also a fact is that you can better use that energy you spent hating the present, and channel it toward building a better future.

Have you had (or are you in) a job you can't stand?

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Using Your Energy to Build a Better Future

There are several ways to use the energy you expend hating your job to instead build a happier future, and focusing on an end result is an excellent way of coping with a job you hate--working toward a goal makes time pass more quickly.

First, consider whether you hate the job or the company. That's an important distinction--perhaps your company overall is great, with excellent benefits and a good reputation. If so, then you can invest your efforts into networking internally, discovering what areas most excite you, and then making a transition to a new team, group, etc.

If you have no interest in the company but don't mind the actual job itself, is there a similar company where you can take your unique skills? Frequently, companies that do the similar tasks are more than willing to poach another company's talent.

If you hate the job and the company, slog through the days and spend a lot of time in thought about what you realistically would like to do--if you're working in banking, you probably can't go be an astronaut. However, you can transition into a realistic career by spinning a certain talent into a bridge--for instance, are you good at communications, people management, numbers, etc.? Whatever it is, research alternative careers and explore potential good fits.

Work getting you down? Don't wallow! Fill your free time with enjoyable activities and set goals to reward yourself for getting through the days.
Work getting you down? Don't wallow! Fill your free time with enjoyable activities and set goals to reward yourself for getting through the days. | Source

Coping Day-to-Day with a Job You Dislike

No matter what lofty goals and proclamations you set for yourself, day-to-day life in a job you hate can get you down. Those feelings of anger, despair, frustration, sadness, etc. don't stop when you leave the office, though--unless you have extraordinarily good compartmentalization skills, they come home with you and can make your personal life miserable.

First, see if you can make changes at your job. Ask to be put on projects that interest you, take a step back from irritating coworkers, and put on a sunny face for your boss even if he or she is in a vile mood.

If that doesn't work (and let's be honest, it's rare that it will), set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you meet them. If you apply for X number of jobs a week, treat yourself to a new outfit, spa day, dinner out, etc. Then, you will be working for the future and looking forward, instead of dwelling on the present.

Fill your personal time with enjoyable activities so you don't go wallow--instead, plan dinners with friends, phone calls with loved ones, nights out at the movies or theater, etc. Take walks, play with your dogs or children, read a bestseller, cook a gourmet meal--anything you like doing will swing your day in a positive direction.

Finally, it's tempting to vent and let off steam--limit that in your personal time. Maybe the first 30 minutes after you come home from work will be your "vent" time, and after that shut it off. If you really feel the need to analyze and re-hash things, a therapist gets paid to listen, won't mind if you whine, and can probably direct you in a positive directions when a spouse or partner is too fed up with your negativity to help.

Finding Gratitude Even if You Hate Your Job

A Job is Not a Life Sentence

The most helpful thing to remember when you're dealing with a job you hate is that it's not a life sentence. It's just a passing phase, and it's one you have the power to change. The job market's tough, but with the willingness to look for a new job and the determination to find one, you will succeed.

Take it day by day, set goals, search for a realistic new position or career, and good luck!


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