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What to Do if You Hate Your Job

No job is perfect. From that hellish part-time gig you had in high school to your ultimate dream position, there will always be a few things you don’t love—and that is completely normal. But when a couple things turn into an entire list, you may find yourself in the difficult situation of hating your job—which can truly become toxic. While quitting is the most obvious solution, it might not necessarily be the best; there are a few other options to consider that can make your situation a little more tolerable.

1. Assess the situation 

Before you doing anything rash (like quitting your job on the spot), it’s important to evaluate your feelings and truly figure out what is it that you dislike. Do some self-reflection and ask yourself the following questions: Do I really hate my job? Is this a new feeling, or is it an ongoing one? Is it the people I’m working with, the tasks I’m asked to do, the culture of the organization or all of the above? 

Career expert and award-winning journalist, Anita Bruzzese, says that the best way to assess your feelings is to get them down on paper: “Make a pro/con list. Get really specific about your likes and your dislikes and go from there. It’s a great way to pinpoint your interests and identify the problem.” Once you decide what the problems are, it’ll be much easier to come up with a solution. 

2. Switch roles

If you’re content with the company you’re working for but not with your supervisor or coworkers, consider changing jobs within the organization or altering your current position to better suit your needs and/or goals. Checking for job postings on the company website is one way to go, but Bruzzese suggests making connections with people in different departments at work. “Start networking [at your company] and ask your boss to cross train to get a better sense of other departments,” she says. Not only does this expose you to different skills, it’s also an opportunity for you to meet people who currently work in a position you’re interested in. 

3. Ask for more responsibility

If you’re unhappy with the projects you’re assigned to, tell your boss and consider asking for more responsibility. We know the last thing you want to do at a job you hate is more work, but trust us on this one. Bruzzese says, “People often feel entitled to things. So when we become unhappy with our jobs, the mentality is usually like, ‘somebody needs to fix this [job] for me.’ But it’s not up to your boss to make your job likeable. It’s up to you…You’re more likely to like your job if you’re constantly growing and developing. You never want to stop learning and growing in your career. You should never feel that way.” 

So if boredom is the source of your unhappiness at work, what is the solution? Challenge yourself and take on more responsibility! Joan Snyder Kuhl, founder of the Gen Y speaking and consulting company Why Millenials Matter, echoes similar sentiments: “Think of everything you do on a daily basis. Have you mastered every aspect of this position? Everything you learn in this position will be an asset in your next position and the one thing that is a given is that there is always something to learn. Work to expose yourself to all aspects of this business while you are a part of it. You never know what projects, business processes and initiatives may interest you or are useful down the road.” 

Becoming bored and stagnant can happen in any job so it’s important to keep your skills and mindset fresh. Attend seminars or courses if your company offers them. Teach yourself a new skill. Watch an online TED talk in a topic that might be beneficial to your career. There are endless (and easily available) ways for you to challenge yourself. 

4. Stay positive

Having a good attitude (which is super hard, we know) in this kind of situation can help immensely. Looking on the bright side of things will distract you from the bad things about your job. One way to remain positive is focusing on all the skills you’re gaining for future jobs. Kuhl says, “Consider how you can capitalize on your current position in order to transition into your next position. Just before your took on this position or when you originally learned about the opportunity, there was something that drew you to accepting. By identifying what drew you to this position, you can focus on all the skills you hope to build and the impact you want to make broadly. It may remind you of your initial goals and ideas that you had hoped to tackle.” Creating new goals for yourself and focusing on the benefits of your job will make you think less of all the things wrong with it.

5. Know when to fold

Even after you’ve done everything in your power to make work more enjoyable and tolerable, it may be time to go. If you find yourself crying every night after work or dealing with any type of sexism or racism, it’s time to start looking into other positions. Bruzzese suggests that when working at companies like these, one should “cut their losses. An environment like that can become very lonely and stressful and not something you want to stay in or be a part.” 

If your situation isn’t as overtly awful as the aforementioned, it might seem a little tricky on how to procede. Ultimately the decision is up to you. “You’re the only one who knows what is making you unhappy. Only you know what you can tolerate,” says Bruzzese. Candace Johnson found herself in a less than ideal situation after she recently graduated from University of Iowa. “My first job out of college was very draining for me,” she says. “The duties I ended up doing were slightly different than what I thought I would be doing. I thought I’d be writing articles and press releases when I really ended up just editing them and scheduling them out on the blog. To add to that, my coworkers were very clique-y. I felt like I was [in] Mean Girls, but instead of high school it was in the office. It made for very long, tiring weeks.” After waiting four months to see if her situation would change and/or get better (it didn’t), Johnson began sending out resumes and eventually found a job she loved. 

When your job becomes too much for you to handle, and you know you have to leave, it’s time to start making a plan.

6. Take initiative

If you’ve made the decision to start looking elsewhere, begin networking at companies you’d be interested in working at. Your alumni directory is always a good place to start! Reach out to people on LinkedIn who have the careers you want for an informational interview. You’d be surprise at how willing people are to help young people in the early stages of their careers. Allison Martins, a 2015 graduate, is currently searching for a new opportunity after realizing her job isn’t for her. “I realized how much I miss writing and that this job is truly not for me,” she says. “I haven’t quit my job yet because I still want to be making some sort of money. Instead I’ve been networking and applying to other jobs. I have also joined a freelancing network.”

There is almost always a way to improve a horrible situation, and it might be much easier than you think. However, every circumstance may not be fixable, and once you recognize that, it’s up to you change your situation and make it better!