If you hate your job, I’m here to help.
There is a way out. You deserve better. You deserve happiness in a fulfilling career. These 9 actions to take when you hate your job will help you move forward toward that goal.
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1. Stop listening to other people’s advice
When you hate your job so much that you’re actually miserable deep down to your core, you will know it. Nothing anyone says to you will change this. Most people won’t understand it, especially if you are making a lot of money. They will question you and ask for your reasons (and maybe encourage you to stay). If this happens, be polite, but remember to ignore them. They probably mean well, but they aren’t helping you.
Only you know what is best for you, and this is completely separate from what is best for someone else. Always ask what you should do given your past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams (more on that here). It’s your life. Not theirs. Own your life and your choices. Remember that.
Instead of listening to your inner circle, reach out to someone in a job that you would want to have and take that person to lunch. Over lunch, you can pick that person’s brain about making the transition and get the scoop on what it’s actually like to do what you think it is you want to do. You want an uninterested party to get advice from.
2. Disconnect from your job as much as possible (without getting fired)
If you are stressed and miserable at your job, then your health as a person is at stake. Do whatever you can to detach and minimize your involvement with your job. This may mean turning down overtime or saying no to events after work. It may mean finding ways to distress, by exercising or taking up yoga. Consider participating in activities that you like in an effort to bring fulfillment (and a little joy) to your life during this tough transition time. Anything you can do to leave work at work and detach from you job is a good thing when it’s the bane of your existence.
3. Instill solid boundaries
When you’re working under stress, in an environment that isn’t right for you, it is very painful. You may be pushed in ways that you don’t like and don’t understand. While one person may thrive, you may be deeply unhappy in the same setting. A way to mitigate the pain and bring more balance in your life, is to set good boundaries. Say no when you can, and practice not feeling bad about it. Be reasonable but have limits that you stick to. This should help you feel in control of your life, which is satisfying in and of itself.
4. Evaluate why you hate your current job
Before you go in and quit on the spot, take a step back and reflect on your experience with this job and why you hate it so much. Ask yourself how you contributed to your own unhappiness at this job. If you don’t do this, you may end up in another job that you hate. This would defeat everything! Think long and hard about the substantive / skill-based work you do, the environment you work in, and the work-life balance you have (or don’t have). Consider all aspects of your job and be brutally honest with what makes you hate it. Own your share of the process.
Experience alone does not make you wiser. Evaluated experience makes you wiser. (I learned this from Andy Stanley, pastor and author.)
5. Visualize your ideal work day
Once you know why you hate your job and you are determined to change it, the next step is to think about your ideal workday (learn how to create your ideal workday here). There’s no point in quitting and leaving your job if you don’t know where you want to go. To help figure out what you want, take a few moments and think about your ideal workday. What does it look like? What do you do in the morning, afternoon, and evening? Who do you work with? What is your schedule?
6. Commit to leaving
Create an action plan to leave your job, regardless of the cost. Yes, I am telling you that if you hate your job so much that you’re in pain, then you should not consider what you’re paid to work there. Money can buy you contentment but it cannot buy you happiness. That is to say, if you’re content at your job, and you make a lot of money, you should think loooong and hard about giving that up for something that you think is better for you but you aren’t quite sure. Conversely if you hate your job so much that you’re nauseous thinking about going in on Monday, it doesn’t matter what you’re paid. You need to leave – ASAP.
7. Create a plan
Do what you need to do in order to leave as soon as you can. This will be different for all of you. It could mean applying for jobs all night after work, it may mean canceling plans this weekend to organize your application documents and prepare to apply for jobs, or it may mean starting your business. Whatever it is, put your plan in writing and give yourself a deadline.
8. Leave your job on a good note
Leave your job. Quit. Say adios and get the hell out. Don’t look back.
That said, keep in mind that you want to be kind and leave on a good note. You want to leave because you want to leave, not because they want you to leave. It’s important that you maintain your reputation and grace throughout the process (even though we both know they clearly do not deserve it ;).
9. Be your own friend (you are not a failure!)
Let’s face it. Most of us were taught to go to school, go to more school, and get the best job that we can after school. Sometimes this works; other times it doesn’t. You may feel like you’re letting yourself down and letting other people down for leaving something that you were pushed to do. I encourage you to fight back against those feelings. You are not failing at something. It takes great courage to quit. And it’s a really good thing when you do quit. Not every job is meant for everyone. You need to find your purpose and live it out. You owe it to yourself. Life is short. Don’t waste it doing something that doesn’t fit with you. And only you can make that choice.
A Final Note!
There are 9 actionable tips listed above that you can put into action if you hate your job. Remember, the most important thing for you to do is take care of yourself. Find a career that is in alignment with who you are. You only live once, so don’t spend it doing something you hate.
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