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10 Ways to Stay Positive in a Job You Don't Like

Updated on April 15, 2015

Help, I hate my job!!

We've all been in a job we hate, the pushy boss, gossiping colleagues, tedious, boring work and unhappy customers have all made us wish we could be somewhere else each day. Sometimes, we feel so anxious about going in the next day it ruins our free time as well. Don't let yourself feel this way any longer. Make the best out of a bad situation by reading the following ten tips to help you stay positive in your job.

Set yourself a date to quit

Give yourself a realistic time frame to find an alternative source of income and set yourself a date when you will quit your job. Knowing that you won't be in a work place you dislike forever will make it easier during the time you have left. Once you've set yourself a date to quit do everything you can to find alternative work. Join recruitment agencies, apply for jobs, network with existing contacts, or start a night class to get more qualifications. Look for projects or responsibilities that will improve your CV. The more experience you have the more employable you will be for somebody else. Do whatever it takes to move yourself somewhere you'll feel happier. If you want to change your career but are worried about how you will afford it check out my article

How to change careers when you have no money.

Also check out this inspiring article.The author has quit her 9 to 5 job and is not going to work for the next year. She writes about how she has reached this point, what she wants to achieve and practical tips for anybody wanting to do the same.

Perhaps your desperate and can't face another day at your job. If so, check out this article on Why You Can Quit Your Job Today.

A Great Read if you Want to Get Out of Your Job!

Do you want to leave your job? This book is great if you're read if you're overworked and may be able to give you some courage, tools, advice and information to leave your job if it's too much.

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition
The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition

"The Joy of Not Working" will guide you to:

Be more productive at work by working less.

Discover and pursue your life's passions.

Gain the courage to leave your corporate job if it is draining life out of you.

Pursue interesting leisure activities that make a difference in your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Vanquish any guilt you may have about not working long and hard hours.

Be financially independent with less money.


Take on a positive outlook

Sometimes we can make ourselves feel worse in a job we don't like as we dwell on how much we hate the work, our boss, our colleagues etc. Make the decision that for the remainder of the time you are in the job you will make the effort to be 100 per cent positive. Smile as you walk into the office and say hello to everybody. Make a list of all the positive things your job brings you (even if it's just the money!). If you have to do mundane tasks can you listen to uplifting music as you work? Put 100 per cent effort into each of your tasks and take pride in your work. Look at any problems as challenges which you will learn from. If you have a specific problem at work check out this article on six steps to solving a problem. Don't waste any energy moaning or partaking in negative gossiping. It may sound corny but being positive will make you feel better and you will have more energy and enthusiasm for finding alternative work.

Check out these ten ways to be happy at work. Also, find out how to have a positive attitude at work

Change your work environment

Surround yourself with items in your workplace which will help you feel better. Put up a picture of a loved one, friends or your pet. Put up a picture of what is making you go to work, perhaps you are saving for a new car, holiday or are working for your kids. Have a calendar and mark of the days until your next holiday. The screensaver on your computer could be a picture that inspires you or makes you happy. Or have images of your goals and dreams. Or it could be that a plant helps you feel more relaxed. If you can't put pictures up on display in your workplace perhaps you can carry a picture of what's inspiring you to work on your person. Then when you get an attack of the blues you can look at what is motivating you to be there.

If you are allowed, personalise your workspace as much as possible. It can only help you feel better as you walk in each morning to an environment that feels as inspirational, comfortable and as personal to you as possible. Here's an article with a few more suggestions to brighten up your workspace.

Image: twobee /

Recommended reading

101 Ways to Love Your Job
101 Ways to Love Your Job

People expect more out of their work now - not just a steady paycheck, but satisfaction and an opportunity to make a difference with others. Stephanie Goddard Davidson, author of 101 Ways to Have a Great Day at Work now shows you how to take your job and love it!


Take advantage of the company's resources

Every job has it perks. Think about how your company's resources can help you gain new skills, experience and knowledge to help you progress in the future. Perhaps you can use the Internet at lunchtime to look for new jobs. Can you network with contacts for another job before you leave? Go on workplace training to update your skills for a new job. If you're thinking of starting a business in the future can you get together information about your company's suppliers and customers that you can exploit at at later date? Doing this and other things will help you feel like you're moving forward even though you're still in the same job.

Look into transferring departments / locations

Transferring departments or locations can get rid of problems caused by a nasty boss or unhelpful co-workers. Or it may give you the new challenges and experiences you are looking for. It may also help you build up a wider skill base to aid you in a new job search in the future. Sometimes moving out of the status quo also gives us the kick that we need to keep making changes to our lives to make it better. Moving departments or locations may be the first step in a long line of changes that sees you taking responsibility for you life, your career and your happiness.

Give yourself small rewards

Reward yourself throughout the day for doing your job. Do a task you dislike first and reward yourself by doing a task you love. Give yourself a square of chocolate after each hours work. Take a 5 minutes break or walk around the office. You could even put together a plan of the rewards you will earn throughout the day so you have various treats to look forward to. This may help you look at your day at work differently. Finally, give yourself a reward at the end of the day by reading a magazine, watching your favourite TV show, eating your favourite meal or having a soak in the bath.

Also consider giving yourself small weekly awards or awards when you achieve small successes. Read more about achieving more by rewarding yourself for small successes.

Make friends at work

The happiest people at work are often the ones whose colleagues are their friends. Find people in your workplace you like and make a real effort with them. Take a genuine interest in people and they will do the same for you. Ask them about their evening and weekend, their families and work. Offer your help to them. Having a couple of friends to catch up with and laugh with everyday can even help you look forward to going into work. Support and friends at work can really lift your spirits and help you feel better.

Here is an article with some great tips on how to make friends at work

If you find that you dislike your work colleagues, check out this article on 10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult People at Work

Image: Stuart Miles /

Recommended reading

How to Win Friends and Influence People
How to Win Friends and Influence People

If you are having problems with colleagues or your boss then this book can help you drastically improve your relationships with the people you don't get on with. It is full of simple, powerful and practical advice which is guaranteed to help you make friends and build effective relationships with people in and out of work.


Do something for somebody else

Following on from the point before, helping other people will help you build relationships and make friends. Commit random acts of kindness. Make a coffee for somebody or offer to help them out with their work. Not only will this make you you feel good, eventually you will find people will reciprocate. Also if you're focusing on helping somebody else at work you won't be dwelling on how much you hate your job.

Check out the video below for some ideas of random acts of kindness. They are not based in a our work setting but may give you some ideas and just watching the video will make you feel a little uplifted.

Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness


Laughter really is the best medicine. Find things to laugh at and don't take things too seriously. Try to look for the funny side of things when your work isn't going as planned. If you have trouble finding things to laugh at in your job, think of something you found funny the night or day before. Laughter and happiness really are contagious, so if you're laughing other people may join in making your workplace seem a lot happier. Laughter at work also helps build solidarity among colleagues when the chips are down.

Not sure how to laugh at work? Try reading these articles :

Want to relief pressure at work? Try Laughing

Laugh at work, it makes you feel good and more productive

Image: photostock /

Do something enjoyable at lunchtime

Make sure you have something to look forward to doing in your breaks. Read you favourite book, magazine or newspaper. Go out for a walk, sit in the park or go shopping. Take the time to call or e-mail a friend you haven't seen in a while. Even better, meet up with friends who work close by. Listen to music or a podcast on your ipod or computer. Do you work near a library, go and spend an hour reading a book or magazine there. Or, be really creative, people do things like rollerblading in parks near their work. Above all, DON'T work. Remember your lunch hour is an hour off - they don't pay you for it. So make the most of your free time. Additionally research shows that people who take a lunch hour are more productive during the rest of the day.

If you need some ideas of things you could do in your lunchtime check out this article Ten ways to spend your lunchbreak

Bonus Tip

Do your worst task at the beginning of the day.

If there's a particular task you dread doing make it the first task you do that day. There's nothing worse than having something you're not looking forward to doing at the back of your mind all day. No matter how much you try to put it out of your mind and put it off until later it will keep re-entering your thoughts and bring you down. Do your worst tasks first and then you can relax a little and enjoy the rest of the day. Also, doing your worst task first gives you a little lift. You'll be proud of yourself and you'll be so pleased you've done it you will get more done during the rest of the day. Try this technique out, I'll guarantee you will feel better.

Read more about the benefits of doing your worse task first.

Leave your job and start your own business......

If you're looking to leave your job and start your own business you don't need a huge amount of finances to get going which will make it easier to work for yourself. Check out the book below for ideas.

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

This book shows you that it's possible to start your own business from your passion with not a lot of money. The author did a lot of research on people who've started their own business with little capital and shows what they did to get the projects up and running.


A Job is Not the Only Option

Be aware we have all been conditioned that we need a job. But it's not the only option there are lots of ways you can live by working less.

Some ways include starting your own business which has already been mentioned. You can also reduce your living costs by living in a smaller home, not having a car and only buying essential things that you need rather than lots and lots of stuff. Depending on your situation, you may be able to relocate to where the cost of living is cheaper.

Check out this article on 7 alternative to working a regular job you don't like.

What Will You Do If You Quit Your Job?

What would you like to do if you to quit your job?

See results

Do you have any tips for staying positive when you're fed up in your job? Please share your tips below.

Add a tip for staying positive at work

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I hated my old job, so I made the plunge and started a blog which has helped me become my own boss!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great advice and very well written! Thanks for sharing!

    • MGuberti profile image


      4 years ago

      One way to stay positive at work is by choosing to do the job that you love.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      life is not all ways perfect and a job can be the same way.

    • Evelina Sa profile image


      4 years ago from London / Frankfurt / Vilnius

      Well, I think no one should ever stay in the job that they don't like. If you are the best in what you do there will be other companies that will employ you. Never give up :)

    • Invoiceberry Team profile image


      4 years ago from London

      I think the best idea is to be self-employed especially if you find it difficult to adopt to other environments.

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image


      5 years ago

      Changing jobs from one company to another company is really a bad idea. So in order to remain in the same company enjoy work up the fullest.

    • writerkath profile image


      5 years ago

      I like your attitude, Louise. In a field (career niche) where many are looking for new jobs, it's a fact that until something else comes along, we must do our best to make the most out of our current situation.

    • tjhunt89 lm profile image

      tjhunt89 lm 

      5 years ago

      Great article. Here's my tip: begin to see your job and your fellow workers in a new way. "When you start to change the way you see thing, the things you see start to change." I really like the idea of doing something enjoyable for lunch. That's a great idea. Especially the part about not working during lunch. Too many people do this.

    • x10dit lm profile image

      x10dit lm 

      5 years ago

      Very sound advice for the chronically stressed employee! With regard to "Do your worst task at the beginning of the day" there's a book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy... it's got nothing to do with French cuisine...

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Very nice lens. I will add one: if you can't quit - learn to endure, you are stronger than you think.

    • Fit And Fab profile image

      Fit And Fab 

      5 years ago

      These are fantastic tips and I think you've covered it well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Fit And Fab profile image

      Fit And Fab 

      5 years ago

      These are fantastic tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • CircleSquare1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Another well written article.

    • spellbindingsis profile image


      5 years ago

      Work for yourself....everyone has a talent.

    • Tradeshowhobo profile image


      5 years ago

      A lot of people are in this position. The people you work with make all the difference. Making friends can help a lot.

    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 

      5 years ago

      Laughter helps a lot. So does listening to something funny or inspirational on your way to work. Thanks for the lens.

    • TapIn2U profile image


      5 years ago

      Best advice you have here. I love giving myself small rewards after doing something I dislike. Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Informative and uplifting - staying positive at work keeps the rest of your life in line. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens with wonderful ideas. For me I stay positive at work by using my strengths - the things I like doing and that I'm good at - for at least 10 minutes every day.

    • steph-naylor profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Lens! This lens was just what I was looking for

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I just recently had to change communities due to continual changes in ownership and management. My new community has been very supportive and positive. A breath of fresh air especially when you are in the "people" business. I will bookmark this lens to refer back to for reminders. Thank you for sharing such great tips.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good tips! Don't forget to pray. You aren't alone!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      6 years ago

      You've offered lots of helpful tips. Changing our focus from the negatives to the positives can make a world of difference of how we perceive the situation and how we develop as a person. ~~Blessed~~

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Do something good for people you work with.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Do something good to people you work with.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Your lens offers a lot of hope, I just left my job after 3.5 years as my boss was very abusive. Your lens offers hope and let me just say that life is too short to spend it in a negative way. You lens helps. Thanks

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Advices! Thanks for useful info, great lens!

    • makeupbrush profile image


      6 years ago

      Lots of good points here. There are always negatives to focus on if you set your mind that way. But don't forget the little perks you sometimes forget while you are working - I try to remind myself of that.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi,Like your lens. I'm new to squidoo and have two lenses that need likes to be published. Would love your help! They are: Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good Advice.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey, very good lens! I am lucky enough to love what I am doing. But if it would be otherwise every advice you gave is to the point!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If you hate your job do the best you can to be positive while you are there. The last thing you want is for someone to think you are unhappy and then you get a negative comments from a supervisor or boss.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome advice. I really like the idea of doing the worst task at the beginning of the day- I haven't tried that before, but I imagine that it'll lead to a less slow 2:00. Definitely going to start doing that.I think I also will read "Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life." I'm currently trying to improve my work situation, and I'm using the tips from Peter Fogel's "Reboot Your Career" - almost finished with it, so I've been looking for a similar title. Thanks!

    • BusinessSarah profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm not sure I would recommend looking for new jobs on your lunch break -- many companies have browser history tracking software -- but the rest of this is great information!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good lens...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great article! You can also look at a resume sample and do it yourself!

    • marketmasterpro profile image


      7 years ago

      Some really great advice!

    • JeffreyTymczak LM profile image

      JeffreyTymczak LM 

      7 years ago

      Great collection of information and tips. Thanks for sharing. Jeff

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Remember that the recession is still in full swing, so jumping ship may not be the best idea. It may be better to stay put. If you are unemployed, however, try applying at a job site> or two.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A positive attitude help you at work and in your day to day life.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Cool posting, good info. Great Tips, I will be sure to share with my wife. I had a hard time finding a new job until a friend told me about JobFitter USA. They are a free job fiding service that really works.You can check out the Blog by clicking Here:Find Work

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I guess this lens was written for me........ I am in this position right now, just waiting for the right moment to quit. My goal is to be able to work for myself and never have a boss again! Meanwhile I do many of the things you listed here. I always reward myself everyday, even if it's simple things, like having chocolate or a piece of cake. Sometimes I treat myself to a coffee smoothie. I always try to relax after work, usually by watching a good movie or taking a long bath. Good tips!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, I feel like your writing about my life. I've had so many jobs that I've just disliked. I'll remember this next time I get a job and need some really good career guidance. I know it's inevitable that sooner or later you get a job you can't stand to work at anymore, I've had several.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This lens is filled with excellent information and tips to help stay positive at work. The key is look at every difficulty as an opportunity to succeed. Renewing the mind constantly with positive things will really help make it through. Great job!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Definitely informative information. I'll have to pass these tips on to my family and friends.

    • ofdifferentsorts profile image

      Paul Franciskato 

      9 years ago from Junction City, Kansas

      Thanks for the positive information! A positive mindset is a great asset for getting through anything that is unpleasant!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice tips. I am happy with my current job though i was not satisfied with my previous jobs. It is really useful lens.

    • SimilarSam profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Very helpful tips, thankfully i love my current job! :)

    • Lotusland profile image


      9 years ago

      I too have hung in there until it was time to quit. ***** for taking the time to write these coping strategies.

    • grassosalvato86 profile image


      10 years ago

      You've got interesting information here. I personally hated my first job! Thanks for sharing these advices! 5 stars!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Good tips, I know a few people who could benefit from this...I'll have to share it!

    • Recession Proof2 profile image

      Recession Proof2 

      10 years ago

      Cool lens, I'm a little ashamed to admit I've stayed in some jobs I've hated. Thank goodness for the Internet. ~jesse

    • mjrinella profile image


      10 years ago

      Good lens!It's brief, but it gets a lot of info across at the same time.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Lens! We've all been caught in a job we didn't like at one time or another. Surviving until you can move on is all we can do.5 StarsLiz

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I think a great tip would be to discuss your unhappiness with your boss. A lot of time they may have a good solution, or may like your work enough to help solve your problems.Great LensThomasC

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank you for the great lens!I enjoy reading this!


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