Do you ever find yourself thinking, "I hate my job so much"?
You're not alone.
A survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey found that while 73% of employees were happy at work, 27% weren't.
What's more, Gallup reports that 14% of U.S. employees are "actively disengaged" and miserable at work. Plus, 54% of workers are "not engaged," which means they're "psychologically unattached to their work and company."
But just because hating your job is a common experience doesn't mean it's easy to handle. When you hate your job, life can feel pretty miserable – after all, we spend most of our waking lives working.
However, there's hope.
Gallup's survey also revealed that 38% of U.S. workers are "engaged," enthusiastic, and committed to their work and workplace. The question is, how can you become one of these people?
In this article, you'll learn what to do when you hate your job. We'll start with the essentials. Then, we'll explore how to not hate your job and how to leave a job you hate.
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What To Do When You Hate Your Job
If you often think, "I hate my job" or "I hate my boss and want to quit," there are many things you can do to improve or change the situation. To start, here are four essential things to do.
1. Keep Thoughts Like "I Hate My Job" Quiet
It's okay to hate your job, but talking about it openly or posting "I hate my job and want to quit" on social media is a recipe for disaster.
It may be easier than you think for employers to see your social media posts. For example, a CareerBuilder survey found that 70% of employers actively use social media to research potential employees.
Look, once you tell others that you hate your job, you have no control over how that information is shared, and it could make its way back to coworkers or supervisors.
The result? You could get the boot before you're ready.
Instead, keep thoughts like "I really hate my job" to yourself, or share them with trusted friends and family. Stay in the driving seat until you figure out your next steps.
2. Be Professional Even When Hating Your Job
Similarly, when you hate your job, it can be challenging to maintain your composure at work. However, it's essential to stay professional, effective, and courteous.
In the long run, this will pay dividends.
Try to avoid burning bridges. Instead, work to maintain your integrity, preserve relationships, and develop a good reputation.
The author Dave Willis said, "Show respect even to people that don't deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."
3. Don't Just Quit Working a Job You Hate
Have you ever said to a friend, "I hate my job, but I need the money"?
Unless you're independently wealthy, you probably can't just walk out on a paying job. So, no matter how frustrated, exasperated, or angry you feel, don't just quit.
Instead, bide your time and be strategic. Figure out your next moves, then start taking action.
4. Consider Your Options Carefully
Continuing to hate your job is not an option.
As cheesy as the saying has become, there is some truth to "YOLO." The way you feel, what you do, and who you spend time with matter.
As a result, you have only two options:
- Find ways to love your job
- Leave your job by finding another one or starting a business
Regardless of your decision, it's a good idea to learn how not to hate your job.
Why? Finding a new job isn't easy, and building a reliable business income can take time. So, even if you decide to jump ship, it may be a while before you can – plus, it’s important to leave on good terms as you may need a good reference for your next position.
In the meantime, why not try to make things a little better?
Plus, there's always the chance that you can improve the situation enough that you're happy to stay. So, before we explore how to leave a job you hate, let's look at how to love your job.
How To Love Your Job (Read: How To Not Hate Your Job)
There are plenty of ways to go from thinking, "I absolutely hate my job" to "my job's okay for now" – or even "I quite like my job these days."
As the 19th-century American humorist Josh Billings wrote, "Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you do hold well."
There are two key strategies that you can use to stop hating your job so much:
- Work to improve the situation and make things better
- Change your perspective to improve your emotional state
Here's how to cope when you hate your job:
1. Identify Things You Want to Improve
First things first: You need to identify how to be happy when you hate your job. Start by making a list of things that make you think, "I hate my work."
Be as specific as you can.
Take problems like "stressed atmosphere" or "mean coworkers" and try to work out what causes them. For example, a stressed atmosphere may be caused by a combination of a messy environment, constant interruptions from coworkers, poor lighting, and distracting music.
2. Set Goals
Now that you've identified why you hate your job try to develop ways to improve the situation.
Look for small wins. If you can improve ten things just a little bit, it could add up to make a big difference. You could also work with your supervisor to set inspiring (but reasonable) goals to motivate you throughout the workday.
3. Remind Yourself Why You Took the Job
Sometimes it can help to tap into the motivation you had when you initially took the job. Perhaps you need the money, the job is close to home, or the benefits are great.
Aside from creating a more positive mindset, understanding what's important to you can help you choose your next steps wisely.
4. Practice Gratitude
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life," writes the author Melody Beattie. "It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
Take some time each day to write down everything about your job that you're grateful for – from the paycheck to the coffee break.
5. Figure Out What You Love to Do
The author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek said, "Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion."
Take some time to work out what you love to do.
Perhaps you love to be alone and focus intently on a task, or maybe you love to collaborate with other people. Whatever it is, when you know what you love to do, it's possible to bring aspects of that into your day job.
6. Ask for Support
There's no shame in seeking help when you feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed, unheard, taken for granted, or bullied at work.
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, said, "Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of strength."
Consult a trusted coworker, manager, or family member to figure out ways to improve your situation.
7. Expand Your Network
Often, we can feel very alone when thinking things like "I don't like my job" or "I hate my career." However, there are likely other people out there going through the same thing.
Join groups online to build a support network that you can lean on or commiserate with when times are tough.
8. Practice Being Present
Even if you hate your job, feeling productive and in the flow can make the hours fly by.
"If you feel anxiety or depression, you are not in the present. You are either anxiously projecting the future or depressed and stuck in the past," wrote the personal growth author Tobe Hanson. "The only thing you have any control over is the present moment; simple breathing exercises can make us calm and present instantly."
Try to forget about the past and future and focus on the task at hand.
9. Makeover Your Workspace
If your environment makes you think, "I hate my profession," try to think of ways to improve it.
Can you get rid of the clutter and mess? Is there somewhere you can hang pictures of loved ones or inspiring quotes? Perhaps you could listen to productivity music to get in the zone?
Do what you can to feel better about going to work each day.
10. Take Advantage of Perks
If you still find yourself saying, "I hate my job so much," you could make yourself feel a little better by taking advantage of perks.
Your health insurance may cover self-care practices like massage, the company may offer perks like a free gym membership, or perhaps there's a way to get a new computer or comfy desk chair. You could also utilize financial benefits like your employer's 401K match policy.
How To Leave a Job You Hate
If you do your best to learn how to be happy when you hate your job, but you still can't stop thinking, "I hate my job and want to quit," it may be time to make plans to move on.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do," said Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. "If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."
Here's how to leave a job you hate:
1. Diagnose the Key Issues
Whether it's your boss, the environment, or the work itself, make sure you have a thorough understanding of why you hate your job. If you don't, you could end up in a similar position in the future.
When you know what you don't want, it's easier to determine what you do want. Then you can create a business or find a job that you love.
As the Chinese philosopher, Confucius once said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
2. Research Business Options and Start a Side Hustle
There are two ways to replace your job: get another one or start a business.
If you're interested in becoming an entrepreneur, do some research to find out more.
3. Search for Another Job
If you'd rather find another job, start by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you haven't been in a job you hate very long, you may want to exclude it from your resume to avoid awkward questions.
When you're ready, start searching for another job discreetly – you don't want your boss or coworkers to know you're looking for another position until you're ready to leave.
4. Make the Switch
Once you've got a reliable business income or you have another job lined up, it's time to resign gracefully. Give notice and offer to help with transitioning someone new into the role.
(If you decide to leave your job to work on a business full-time, try to save an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of expenses first.)
Summary: When You Hate Your Job, Do This
Waking up every day and thinking, "I hate my job so much," can suck – big time. Thankfully, there's always something you can do to improve your situation, no matter how small.
If you're wondering what to do when you hate your job, start by keeping thoughts like "I hate my job" quiet. Remain professional, and don't quit suddenly without prior planning. Be strategic and consider your options carefully.
Whether you decide to start a business or find another job so that you can stop working a job you hate, you'll likely need to keep your current job for a while longer. In the meantime, try to improve your situation – here's how to not hate your job:
- Identify why you hate your job and how you can feel better about it
- Set goals to motivate yourself and feel empowered
- Tap into the original motivation you had when you first took the job
- Practice gratitude to improve your emotional state
- Figure out what you love to do and try to incorporate aspects of it into your job
- Ask for support from trusted coworkers, supervisors, friends, or family
- Connect with other people who feel the same way
- Practice being present so you can feel more engaged and productive
- Give your workspace a makeover, so you enjoy going to work more
- Take advantage of the perks your company provides
If you're still thinking, "I hate my job and want to quit," consider looking for another job or start a business to become your own boss.
What type of job or business do you wish you had? Share your thoughts in the comments below!