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45 percent of US workers do not enjoy their job. Hating your job seems to be a common theme – especially for millennials feeling trapped inside of a 9-to-5 job. Quitting a job that feels toxic and soul-sucking may not always be an option so how do you cope with a job you hate?
Here’s some strategies to make your job feel more likeable…
Figure out why you hate your job.
“I hate my job” is a vague statement. You have to get down to the “why” of your dislike toward your job. If you can get down to the root of the issue, you can probably change it.
For example, if you hate that your boss calls you regularly after hours, you could have a conversation with your boss about boundaries. S/he may not even realize that what he’s doing is not okay to you.
On an internal level, every feeling comes from a thought. When your boss calls you late at night, what is your thought? My boss doesn’t respect my time or boundaries. Then, that thought creates the feeling of frustration and anger. What if you changed the thought? What if instead of thinking that thought, you chose to believe that your boss really values you and appreciates you and that he wasn’t aware of your boundaries because you had never stated them? What feeling does that thought now create? Frustration? Anger? Probably not.
Figure out what tangible things you don’t like about your job, and determine what can be changed. If it can’t be changed, figure out how you can change your thoughts and therefore, your emotions about it.
Practice gratitude at work.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everyone seems to be harping on gratitude these days but it really does work. You see, when you consistently write down a few things you’re grateful for each day, the Reticular Activating System in your brain (aka, your “Prover”) starts looking for things in your day that are good that you can have gratitude for. This means that over time, you start seeing more good things in your day-to-day job than bad things.
Here’s some practical ways to practice gratitude at work…
- Write down 3 work-related things you’re grateful for.
- Send a thank you email to someone.
- When you walk into a meeting, publicly acknowledge someone for something they did well.
- Give someone a high five as they pass you in the hallway.
- Leave a sticky note on someone’s desk thanking them for something they did or are doing.
- When you fail or something doesn’t go the way you want, write out the rest of this sentence: “I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn _____________________.”
- Post a quote or image about gratitude above your workstation.
Take a mental health day.
We’re workaholics. When you’re spending most of your waking days at a job you don’t love, it’s easy to feel emotionally and physically drained. Take a day – or a week – off. During your time off, focus on just recharging and relaxing.
You didn’t hear it from me, but if you have sick days that are separate from your vacation days, use your sick day! After all, you are “sick” of work!
Find meaning in the menial tasks.
A really important aspect of happiness is meaning. We have a need for significance. When you’re completing that menial task – whether it’s working on a dull spreadsheet or fixing a piece of technology – see if you can find some significance in what you’re doing.
For example, taking orders at a register all day is mindless-yet-exhausting work. I can feel like I’m just an insignificant team member taking orders… or I can reframe the situation. Now, I’m providing world-changers (people) with a required catalyst (food) they need to make a difference. I’m creating a source of income that will go to help provide college scholarship given out by my company’s foundation.
Aly, I’ve already tried all that!
Okay, I feel that. Give 4 weeks.
Week 1 Action Items:
- Determine what you tangibly hate about your job. Write out how that situation could be changed or how a conversation could change your mindset or perspective. Schedule a meeting with your manager or boss to see if changes can be made.
- Practice gratitude in an intentional way every day. Write down what you did.
Week 2 Action Items:
- Meet with your boss or manager. Write down what happened and how you felt afterwards.
- Write out all the tasks that feel menial. Figure out how they contribute towards a bigger, more meaningful purpose. Write that out.
- Practice intentional gratitude every day. Write down what you did and/or what you’re grateful for.
Week 3 Action Items:
- Take a mental health day.
- Practice intentional gratitude daily.
Week 4 Action Items:
- Practice intentional gratitude daily.
After these 4 weeks, if you still hate your job as much as you previously did before this, start looking for new job opportunities.