It’s Monday and you keep hitting snooze. If it’s not due to a lack of sleep, it’s probably a sign you hate your job.
We’ve all been there and know that omnipresent thought – I hate my job.
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But the question is… what will you do about it?
You always have at least two options:
- Stay and make it work
Here are straightforward steps to help you take the right actions based on your situation.
Reasons You Are Unhappy At Work
You won’t love your job all the time. No one does. The trick is figuring out what you hate about your work.
During a change in leadership, unrealistic deadlines, or demanding customers, there are times you will hate your work. That’s just how it is. Sometimes the reasons are temporary and will pass, but other things won’t change or go away (like a toxic work culture).
People don’t leave bad jobs. They leave bad bosses.
If you find yourself feeling bored, stressed, or unappreciated, then it’s time to figure out what is causing you to feel that way and identify why you hate your job.
Identify Where The Hate Is Coming From
You don’t want to jump from one bad job to another, so it’s worth figuring out exactly WHY you hate your job so you don’t find yourself constantly thinking “I don’t like my job” again.
Use the questions below to understand the impact of disliking your work on your life.
- Is this job negatively affecting your health?
- Is work preventing you from doing things that you truly want to accomplish in life?
- Is work impacting your relationships with the people you care about?
- Are there parts of work that conflict with your core values and beliefs?
- Is the work environment toxic?
- Do you have conflict working with your boss or coworker?
- Are the demands of the job not what you expect or want?
- Are the company’s goals not in alignment with your values or personal goals?
Consequences Of Being In The Wrong Job
When you hate your job and you don’t take steps to fix the situation, it can negatively impact your well-being and work. Here are some signs that you and your job aren’t a good fit:
- Your work quality drops
- You arrive late to work, leave early or call in sick
- You lash out at work
- You destroy work relationships
- You indulge in alcohol or drugs
- Your family relationships suffer
- You are constantly feeling angry or sad
All of these are signs and symptoms that you are in an unhealthy relationship with your work and you need to make a change before you do long-term damage to your career.
And never, never post your gripes about your job on social media! Recruiters and future employers are looking at what you post when screening candidates.
Too often people don’t realize they are in the wrong job and find themselves fired. You don’t want that to happen to you.
Fix What You Can
There are literally thousands of different reasons why you might not love your current situation, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should quit your job.
However, there are things you cannot fix. Don’t expect that your boss will change or to change the organization’s culture.
The trick is to determine whether it’s worth putting effort into saving your job or is it better to jump ship.
The one thing you can always control is how you respond to situations – your actions. These are some of the actions you can take if you hate your job.
Invest In Your Professional Development
If you are not feeling challenged by the work you are doing, consider taking an online course. Focusing on your own professional development is a win-win. First, you may feel energized by learning new skills. Second, your new skills make you more marketable inside and outside of your current company.
Be sure to see if your employer will cover all or some of the costs involved, but don’t be discouraged if they don’t. If it is a course you are interested in, find a way to pay for it. It will help you in the long run.
Start A Side Hustle
A side hustle lets you do something YOU want to do and allows you to make more money. Both of these things can make you feel better, even if it’s just buying you time before you quit.
You could do gig work like Instacart or Uber or you could set up your own Etsy shop and sell things online. There are so many options for side hustles out there! Just be sure you do it on your own time and without using your employer’s resources.
Stop Giving 120%
If you are giving everything you’ve got to your job, ease back. Maybe you don’t need to work as hard or put in all those extra hours. Give yourself permission to step back a bit and re-energize.
As long as you are delivering good work and meeting expectations, maybe you don’t need to over-deliver all the time. Re-invest your newfound time and energy doing things you enjoy outside of work or spend more time with your family and friends.
Warning: Some companies may expect employees to always go the extra mile or work long hours. Think about whether this is something you want to endure.
And then there are things outside your immediate control. These changes will require a conversation with your boss.
Prepare For Difficult Conversations
I often hear people say that they know their boss won’t agree to their suggestions or will dismiss their ideas. And that might be true. But it’s also possible that a conversation will make things better. There’s no harm in trying, especially if you hate your job anyway. Don’t you want to feel like you did everything possible to make this work?
It’s also possible that your boss has no idea how unhappy you are. Maybe she/he will surprise you by agreeing to your requests.
But before you have this conversation, you will want to plan your message to your boss.
Here’s what you don’t want to do:
- Never blame your boss, even if he/she is the problem.
- It’s not an ultimatum (aka fix this or I’ll leave). It’s a conversation with questions.
- Don’t get emotional. Use indisputable facts and data.
Work is like a relationship, it takes two (or more) people to make it work. That means sometimes having difficult conversations.
Instead, use this framework to approach the conversation:
1. Explain that your current work isn’t meeting your goals/expectations.
2. Next, explain what type of work you are interested in and why it’s a good idea from a business perspective.
3. Finally, propose a solution.
Ask For New Projects
If your dissatisfaction is due to a lack of challenging work, you could ask your boss if there are any projects or work that they need help with. If you want to develop new skills or the chance to use skills, request taking on a project that would allow you to use those skills.
For example, ask if you can take on a new project analyzing customer feedback data that will help improve the systems in place and ultimately result in better customer satisfaction.
If your boss agrees, you will be tested to see how well you perform. Make sure you understand the deliverables, due dates and overall importance of the assignment. You want to provide the very best work possible.
Ask To Work Solo Or In A Different Group
While it may not always be possible, it’s worth asking to work with a different group if you and a co-worker don’t get along,
Be sure to explain to your boss why you think you would be more productive if you worked in a different group so they can justify the change.
Ask If You Can Work A Flex Schedule Or Change Your Schedule
Could it be the hours or the schedule that make you hate your job? With more companies being open to remote or flexible work schedules, this option may be a viable option today.
You could propose an alternate work arrangement on a trial basis (perhaps just for the summer) to see how it works. Sometimes a temporary adjustment may buy you time to find another solution to your scheduling problems or be enough of a change to relieve the stress.
Ask For A Raise
If you feel you are underpaid, bring the facts to your boss’s attention. Gather salary data, present your measurable accomplishments for the past year and ask for an increase in your pay.
Ask How You Can Work Better With Your Boss
This is not an easy question to ask, but it’s often one of the greatest opportunities for personal growth. Simply ask your boss how you can work better together and listen to the answer.
You may be surprised by their answer.
Anticipate The Worst Outcome
Remember, the reason you are having a conversation with your boss is because you hate your job and are looking for a solution.
The best case scenario is that your boss will agree to your suggestions or ideas. The worst case scenario is that nothing happens.
However, there is always the possibility that your boss may not be able to give you what you want. It’s also possible that your boss may suggest you leave your job if you aren’t satisfied.
You aren’t going to quit on the spot. But you will begin putting together your exit plan using the steps below.
The key point here is to be sure you have your backup plan ready just in case things don’t go the way you want.
Plan Your Escape
It’s always better to have a new job lined up before you leave. Always.
However, there are circumstances that may make staying intolerable. Will you be able to look for a job while you are working?
No matter which choice you make, you’ll want to create a plan to help you secure a new job. If you hate your job, follow the steps below and be sure to set a reasonable deadline for securing a new one.
Plan on job search taking at least six months or longer if you are more senior in your career.
Build Your Wish List
The best time to inventory what you want from your next job is while you are working. You have more confidence and feel more secure when you have a job.
Create a wish list of things you would be doing in the ideal job. Next, do some research and find companies that you think would like to work for. You’ll need this clarity to help you uncover your next great job.
Start Planting Seeds
Well before you have your conversation with your boss, you want to start networking with people you know and trust.
Since you don’t want news that you are potentially looking for a new job to get back to your boss, be sure to let people know that you are in a confidential search and that your employer doesn’t know you are looking…yet.
When you are having conversations with people, tell them exactly what you want to do and list some companies you are interested in working for. Providing this information makes it so much easier for them to provide you with relevant leads.
PS: Never bad mouth your current employer or boss.
Never Burn Bridges
You’ve probably seen the viral videos of people quitting their jobs. Nope, don’t do that. And while it may feel deeply satisfying to walk into your boss’s office and scream “I quit”, that usually doesn’t work well for you or your career either.
You want to make sure you do everything possible to maintain a positive relationship with your manager and coworkers. You never know where you’ll end up next and who you work with again. And it would be nice to be able to get a recommendation.
The best way to resign is to write a professional letter of resignation and submit it in person to your boss. Another action item that will show your professionalism is sending a thoughtful goodbye email to your coworkers, inviting them to keep in touch.
Stay or Go – The bottom line
If all you can think at work is “I hate my job”, your first instinct is to quit. But there are many valid reasons why you may want to stick around and try to salvage the situation.
Before you do anything, take time to figure out why you hate your job so you don’t end up in the same situation at another job or workplace!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.