At some point in most people’s lives, we have uttered the immortal words: “I hate my job”. You might even hate your job right now. There are many of us that do. If that is the case and you really can’t stand the job you are doing then you need to know what you can do.
When you hate your job and continue to work in that role it can end up affecting, not only your physical being and mental health, but your very life as well. There are lots of well-documented ill-effects of still working in a job where it is the last place you would want to be. Your sleep might be disrupted and you’ll feel tired all the time, you might get headaches, have appetite problems, you might even find yourself getting sick more often.
There are many different reasons why you might hate your job. It could be the work you are doing. It could be the people you work for. It could be the people you work with. It could be the people you have to deal with in that line of work. It could be that you feel you are capable of so much more and don’t have any job satisfaction because of that. We all have our reasons
“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so?Drew Carey
There’s a support group for that. It’s called Everybody, and they meet at the bar.”
I remember the worst job I worked. It was in a call-centre for a major online grocery company. I was in the complaints department. I spent all day listening to people complain. It was mind-numbingly boring and made me thoroughly depressed. Listening to nothing but negativity all day can really bring you down.
It was a job with a high turnover rate. Once you worked out there it was easy to see why. The management was terrible and it was very clear you were just an easily disposable and replaceable employee, just a number, and a poorly paid one at that.
I was ill a lot and at that stage not only hated myself, but also my life. I stayed there for 5 years.
And that brings me to an important point. A lot of us like to complain about our jobs. We’ll say we hate it. We will suffer the ill effects of staying in that job. But when it comes to actually doing anything about it, that’s another matter entirely.
I get it. I did the same myself. It’s hard to get out of that job you hate when you feel it is sucking all the life and enthusiasm out of you. When you finish for the day, or reach that weekend off you were so looking forward to, the last thing you want to do is go looking for another job. That feels like more work in itself. You get caught in a vicious cycle.
Thing is, if you want to change your job, it is not going to happen by itself. No one is just going to walk up to you asking if you want a job. You have to get active. Put the effort in.
One of the things holding you back could be a fear of change. The fear of the period of instability that will come when you leave one job for another. The fear of the unknown you will have to face when you start a new job. That fear may even be overriding your hate.
There may be many reasons why you stay in a job you hate. But take it from me. It’s not worth it. Your time and life are too valuable to be wasted not doing what you love. And especially by doing what you can’t stand.
Quit your job?
The simple and obvious answer when you hate your job is to quit. Oh, it’s so easy to say. Realistically, it’s only easy to do for those people who don’t have bills or rent to pay, have no other financial obligations, or are fortunate enough to be able to take the risk of not getting other employment or getting another source of income in the near future.
For most of us, we need to have another job to go into, or some other viable means of income, before we can take any such action. We have responsibilities, debts, bills. We live in an economic world. We need money to survive.
Quitting your job is the best answer but you may have to do some things in order to make getting a new, and hopefully better, job possible.
Never leave on bad terms
If possible, you should always leave the correct way and remain professional until you leave. If you have to give a certain amount of notice before you can officially quit, do so. Make sure to follow your company’s correct procedures.
The reason being that any new employer usually asks for a reference. And they tend to want one from your previous employer. Your potential new employer wants to know what type of person they are dealing with so you want to make sure your reference is good.
Improve Your Skills
Improving your skills gives you a much better chance of finding a job you like. Think of what kind of work you would really like to do. Then figure out the ways you can improve your skills to make you a suitable candidate for that job. Increased skills, means more experience, which usually provides increased opportunity.
Take your time over it.
You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you need a job fast. Needing a job asap could make you end up walking into another job that you may also end up hating. Don’t rush the process if you can. Spend enough time job hunting to see all the possibilities that are out there for you. The more time you can spend on this the better your chance of finding something more suitable for your needs.
If you do need a job fast you’ll have to get busy looking up the many online job boards. Or you can even go old school and just get out there and ask directly. Ask friends, family, anyone you know. Call into the places of work that interest you. Even try places you once worked before.
The problem with needing a job quick is that you might lower your standards just to get earning money. If you have no other choice and you need money fast, that’s ok. But it might not be long until your back in the position of hating your job again, so be careful.
Have another job to go into
There is a commonly held belief that it is easier to get a new job if you already have one. This belief was backed up by a 2017 article in Liberty Street Economics which found that ‘the job search process is more effective for currently employed workers than for the unemployed’. Not only that but ‘offers received by employed workers are better than those received by the unemployed, both in terms of the wage associated with them and in terms of their nonwage benefits’.
So getting another job whilst already working is easier and you can potentially earn more money and benefits in your next job because of it. Makes sense to leverage the job you are in now to get the best out of the job you want next.
But what if the problem is that you are not able to quit? What if the job you are doing is because it is the only job you can get?
What to do if you hate your job but can’t quit
Ok, so you hate your job but for one reason or another, you can’t quit. You just can’t leave. Maybe you work in a specialised field that means the nearest job to you would be miles away and would require a great upheaval. Maybe you don’t have the qualifications or opportunity to get something more satisfying. Maybe the pay is better where you are right now and you don’t want to give that up. You could have many reasons why you can’t just quit. So what can you do when you feel stuck in your job?
Find and focus on the positives
Your job might be really bringing you down. There might be so many negatives in it. But there should be some positives in it too. Try and find those positives and think about them. I know for me, in that call-centre job I hated, the thing that kept me going was some of the people I worked with.
Regardless of how bad the job itself was, there were days where it was also a laugh. It might have been because of some really dark humour from those people that hated the job as much as I did. But a laugh is a laugh. Any fun always makes things a bit more bearable. Find your positives and think about them more than the negatives.
Even now I’m not in a job I love. But there are enough positives about it to keep me there. I work with good people, for a good boss, and they have given me flexibility in relation to my single dad duties. There’s always going to be good and bad aspects to your job. Try and focus on the good.
Specify what you hate about it
So you hate your job. But what is it that you hate exactly? You might just think everything. But is it really? Could you be having problems with management? Do you just feel undervalued? Is it the specific role you are doing?
When you find out where your hate is coming from maybe it would be possible to do something about it. Could you get transferred to a different department or role? Is there any way to make your role more enjoyable or satisfying? Finding what you hate about it might mean you can do something to negate that hate.
Put more effort into it
So you are probably thinking, what? I hate this job. The last thing I want to do is work harder at it. I know this sounds a bit counterintuitive. The thing about this one is that when you really don’t like your job you tend to find your attitude towards what you do within that job has slipped. You’re usually in a negative frame of mind.
But what if you worked harder at it? What if you set out to be the best worker in the position you occupy. What if you looked at the company as a whole and looked to see how it could be improved. What if you become known as the person who can find solutions.
The really positive and pro-active person in a job gets noticed. That could change what you do and how you are perceived dramatically. It might even mean your role gets changed to something else more satisfying.
Don’t let your job define you
Ok, so society, in general, has a terrible habit of defining people by the job they do. When you meet someone new often the first question they ask is: Where do you work? What is your job? Honestly, the question really annoys me. I could have a well-respected job that pays well. That doesn’t mean I’m a good person.
It’s important to remember that in most cases your job does not define who you are. You might be working at one of the worst jobs imaginable. But that doesn’t mean you’re not the most caring and considerate person there is. Outside of work you could be the person people like to hang with. You might have someone who loves you because of who you are not because of what you do. Don’t let your job affect your self-worth.
Remember that at least you are working
There is something to be said about having a job in the first place. There are many people who are too lazy to even try and find a job. Be proud of the fact that at least you are working. You are doing what it takes to provide for yourself and maybe your family.
You’re not relying on someone else, or the government, to pay your way in life. You’re doing that by yourself. And the fact you are doing that in a job you hate is even more commendable. It means you are putting the necessities of life before your own selfish needs. It takes a great strength of character to do that. Never forget that.
One last thing
Look, being in a job you hate is not worth it. The emotional and physical damage it will cause you in the long is too big a price to pay. Your health and well-being are the most important thing you have.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what job you are in, it is always possible to do something about it. That job you hate now may only be temporary. There might come a time when you can look back happy in the knowledge that as long as you aren’t doing that anymore you’re not too bad off after all.
It might take a little extra work to get out of it. You might have to use that free time you enjoy to pursue other avenues. You might have to work hard at changing your attitude. But there is always a way out of the position you find yourself in. You just have to find it.
The reality is, you’re not a slave, you’re not bound by chains (except the ones you have fashioned in your mind), you are free. There is always something you can do about it. It might take hard work and effort. It might be scary. But at the end of the day, it is your life. You can do something to change it all. It’s up to you to do it.