Temporarily Coping With a Job You Hate

Have you ever worked at a job that you hated? You know, the job that makes you dread waking up in the morning? The one that puts you in a sour mood as soon as you walk in? The job that literally makes you cry the moment you think about it?

The obvious solution would be to just quit. Yet, even though the current state of our economy and job market immediately screams “Don’t!”, if financed correctly and with the right plan, quitting is not necessarily a bad idea. There are several success stories out there which I suggest researching if this is a move you are planning to make. However, for most of us, resigning is still just too much of a risk.

Thankfully, there are ways to temporarily cope with a job you hate. I emphasize temporarily, because I personally believe that one should always continue to evolve as a professional, and that is impossible to do when you hate your job. If you are not pleased with your current position you should do whatever it takes to move on to one that makes you happy.

In the meantime, bellow are three steps essential to getting by at a job you dislike:

1. Think positively

It sounds cliché; however, this is the most important step to take. Changing your frame of mind will not make your actual job better, but it will make your reaction to your job better- and this is just as important. As Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

There are several things you can do to improve your attitude while at work. The first is to not entertain negative thoughts. Take this scenario for instance: You are quietly typing away at your desk when all of a sudden it hits you: YOU CANNOT STAND THIS PLACE!!! You start feeling anger, anxiety, self doubt and a plethora of other self-deprecating emotions. You have two choices. You can play into them and spend your whole day sulking, or you can nip it in the bud right then and there. I suggest the latter. As soon as you start to feel this way, stop yourself right in your tracks. Think about something else, have a (healthy) snack, pinch yourself in order to associate the painful thoughts with actual pain; basically, do whatever it takes so suppress these negative thoughts, before they inevitably become negative actions.

Talking about which, you should never engage in negative behavior. If a group of your co-workers start bashing your boss, for example, walk away. Regardless of your feelings, standing around gossiping is not conducive to anything. Participating in such behavior will only make you more restless and, in turn, make you hate your job even more. Always continue to be a professional. Follow the rules and policies of your company (dress codes, attendance procedures, etc). You will avoid the unnecessary drama that comes from non-compliance and, henceforth, make your work day better. In addition, be polite to your colleagues, hold doors, and say “Good morning.” Smile! It is hard to be in a bad mood with a smile on your face. Having an attitude and being rude will not get you anywhere at work, just like it won’t get you anywhere in life.

2. Use your work resources:

Every job, no matter how mundane, has resources. Use them to make yourself a better professional. Part of the reason many people hate their job is because the work does not pose a challenge. Learning how to curve this boredom can make all the difference. Take on new responsibilities, explore new departments, and approach your daily tasks in a different manner. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself excited about whatever it is you are doing.

A good approach is to participate in trainings. Trainings allow you to gain new skills, skills that can perhaps help you obtain your next job. Furthermore, learn from your co-workers and superiors. Do not ever disregard the lessons that others can teach you. You can learn something useful from just about anybody. You may not like your immediate supervisor, for instance, but you have to admit he/she gives great presentations. Regardless what your feelings for this person are, study the characteristics that you admire in him/her. Emulate their behavior. What can you learn from him/her that will make you a better presenter? A better professional? A better person? Ask if you can make it in this career. Is a job in hospitality for you?

3. Study your company:

If you are interested in the industry that your company is in, study your company in relation to that field. Be well acquainted with the ins and outs of it. Focus on specifics, review the organizational chart, know the history and learn who the top officials are. Most of all, you should know the mission and vision of your company, then decide how you fit in with it. Ask yourself the following questions: What makes your company successful in your field? In what areas can it improve? What can you learn from your company that you can take with you elsewhere in order to be a better and more knowledgeable employee?

If you feel like you do not have enough knowledge or would like to develop your skills and understanding of the global management of a company, you can still take some online classes to get a Master degree in Leadership for example. The program has been designed to help active workers analyze and evaluate the culture of a company, study the strengths and weaknesses as well as develop opportunities. Knowing your company will allow you to be prepared for any unwelcomed changes that may cause stress. In addition, it would allow you to discern the role you play in your company, and thus permit you to have a clearer vision of where you want your career to go next- which will hopefully be to a better place.

Knowing your company will allow you to be prepared for any unwelcomed changes that may cause stress. In addition, it would allow you to discern the role you play in your company, and thus permit you to have a clearer vision of where you want your career to go next- which will hopefully be to a better place.

Working at a job you hate is without a doubt a tough affliction. Thinking positively, using your resources and knowing your company will definitely result in improving your work day and thus your overall work experience. However, above all else, you must remember that under no circumstances should you ever take your problems at work home with you. Keep the job at the job. Do not let it consume your outside life. Your time at home should be used for building yourself. Try your best to improve your work situation, but never ever let the strain of the office cloud your personal growth.

Giovanna Acosta

Giovanna lives in New York City. She has an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Her academic and work experiences coupled with her love for the written word, has led her to start a blog about her favorite topic: work! You can read about her insights as a young professional at Girl At Work.

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