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What to do when you hate your job

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What to do when you hate your job, but need it for the income to survive

Job hunters know how quickly the focus narrows and after a while you just want a job. Any job. Few have the luxury early on to consider if it's a job they actually want. That is, until you're at said job and every day feels infinitely miserable. Now what? Hereís what to do when you hate your job.

The reasons why you're unhappy can be as varied as a mean boss, menial work or an annoying environment, but letís not dwell too much on the WHY. The number one thing to remember is that itís naturally easier to get a job when you already have one. So donít quit. Learn to cope temporarily, and set your mind on the actions you need to take to get a better job.

Since the employee handbook probably doesnít cover what to do when you hate your job, check out these tips for making the most of things while plotting your path out the door, i.e. developing an exit strategy.


Be glad to have employment.

In these tough times, itís important to focus on what having your job allows you to do: eat, pay bills, support family and cover basic necessities. Even if your paycheck doesnít cover all of these things, at least youíre able to contribute. If your job gives you health insurance, remember that you have something millions of Americans donít.

Stop complaining.

Ranting about your job or bad mouthing the boss will weigh you down. The truth is, you're not likely to excel, get promoted or make more money when you wear your scowl to work everyday.

Start dreaming.

Use all that energy to start dreaming about what you do want. What would be your dream job at this stage in life? What would you love to be doing in 3 years and how can you take a step in that direction?

Be a shameless opportunist.

If you look hard enough, youíll find ways to develop new skills so it feels less like punching a clock and more like preparing for a better job. Making a good impression on people you work with can even help you land a better job, according to this Forbes piece on job hunting tips. Does the company offer courses or training programs? Are there projects or reports you could take on to learn Excel, PowerPoint or other programs? Pitch some ideas to your boss. If one flies, itíll enhance your resume.

Zero in on the source of conflict.

If youíre unhappy because of a conniving co-worker, the adult thing to do is watch The Office and study how Jim handles Dwight. Then congeal their stapler in their favorite Jell-O flavor, assuming they have a sweet tooth. 

Make a friend.

Work buddies can transform a work day. Just knowing thereís someone to empathize and offer objective advice, and sheís only down the hall, is enough to give you strength when the walls start closing in. Do refrain from constant complaining or she wonít be your friend for long. In return, listening to her will get your mind off yourself.


This is what to do when you hate your job or love it. Get as much out of every experience as possible. Professional connections are an extremely valuable resource at every stage of your career so start building them now. This doesnít mean you have to be buddy buddy. Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn, ask them questions about their work and let them get to know you in the coffee room.

Update your resume so you can apply for better opportunities the moment they come up. Set aside a few hours of free time each week to send out cover letters and resumes. Staying proactive will keep you in a positive state of mind.

Beware of job hopping.

Most of us have had a handful of jobs we haven't enjoyed, but if you hated every job youíve ever had then maybe the problem is not the job. Rather than taking the next job you can get, take some time to reflect and dream bigger. Change industries or consider going in to business for yourself doing what you really love.  

Youíre not stuck, even if it feels that way. If you feel unlucky in work, make your own luck and donít give up. Most importantly, donít burn your bridges. One you line up new employment, write a letter of resignation and give notice. Leave those classic scenes where disgruntled workers march out after making a grand speech for the movies. In the real world, you need good references. 

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