Would you rather wash broken dishes than go to work? If you're nodding with a pained expression, you belong in the overcrowded hate-my-job camp. Just don’t stay too long.
Working a job you hate during your 20s and 30s can lead to overall health issues 10 or 20 years later, according to research presented last year to the American Sociological Association.
Until you find a new position, the first step toward workplace healing is a clear-eyed assessment about the source(s) of your current money-earning misery.
Is your unhappiness aligned with the amount of your paycheck? Or is it a lazy or uncaring boss? Does an excessive workload weigh you down? Have you been wounded by cutthroat colleagues or an unhealthy work culture? Are you dealing with all the reasons mentioned and more? Oh dear, you do have issues.
But before you call in sick, you have another review to complete. The next step is a personal assessment. Be honest about whether you play a role in your unhappiness at work.
You are guaranteed to suffer from the same problems on the next job if you bring them. So don’t.
Once you are clear about what’s not working at work, you can apply that knowledge at the next job, which, hopefully, you'll land soon.
Until you can pack up and bid your boss and coworkers farewell, these additional tips will help you manage the stress of doing a job you despise:
1. Grouse, growl and gripe about your awful job, just unleash all that vitriol in a safe space. The operative word is “safe.” That means no complaining at work and backing away from posting or even hinting that your job is sewer foul on social media. Bend the ears of friends willing to listen—or at least act like they are—to unload frustrations and feel better. Venting helps, just try not to vent at work.
2. Start the day with gratitude and take it from there. This mental exercise can boost your mood, especially when a job drains your soul. Even if you hate your job, there are people who would love to switch places with you. You are employed and have the ability to get to work. Consider yourself winning. Find three different reasons to be grateful each morning to adjust your attitude.
3. Do something enjoyable each day. This gives you something to look forward to, and no—leaving your job doesn’t count. Pick another verb besides exit. Find a fun daily activity to stop you from waiting for Friday to arrive every Sunday night. Living for the weekend is the title of a song, not a lifestyle.
4. Add a daily dose of humor. Smiles and laughter can boost optimism. A good sense of humor can help you manage stressful situations. Laughter can come in the form of jokes, goofy videos, a funny book, sitcoms or your favorite radio program.
5. Avoid slacking. Even if you have one foot out the door, you want to depart on good terms. Knowing you'll eventually leave may provide energy to take on additional responsibilities or learn a new skill, which can make you more attractive to future employers. Also, knowing you did a good job may lift your spirits.
6. Create an exit plan with deadlines. List specific action items to help you meet the goal of new employment. Checking off the tasks, which may include networking or circulating your resume, will help you feel confident and in control of your job-hunt.
7. Leave work at work. Boundaries exist for a reason. If a job makes you miserable, why bring it home with you? Fretting after hours about a crappy job will just extend the workday for free. Instead, focus on making the most of the time you have between leaving your workplace and going to bed.
8. Talk to your boss. Your manager may be noodle-kneed but he or she is also not a mind reader. Take the initiative and speak up about what’s troubling you. Consider it training with pay on how to have a tough conversation at work. Who says your next job will be trouble-free?
9. Focus on what’s good. Does your company have a great reputation, connections and culture? Will sticking around a little longer open doors? Be strategic about capitalizing on what the company can do for your career in the future.
Until you leave your employer, changing your perspective can make all the difference between viewing your job as challenging or hellish.
And consider this: sticking it out with a job you hate will truly make you appreciate and protect one you love.