If you hate your job and your career is going absolutely nowhere, you might prefer death over getting up and going to work every day. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch—but you get the point.
All jokes aside, this is a struggle many face on a day-to-day basis. They obviously need to work to make a living, but they’re frustrated and fed up with the rat race.
As a youngster, maybe you had big plans for your life. Perhaps you imagined yourself in a career that made a difference. Or maybe you had lofty plans of climbing the career ladder and earning a six-figure salary. Life doesn’t always work out as planned. And sometimes, we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Fortunately, the walls don’t have to close in on you. You may not have magical powers or the ability to make a million dollars miraculously appear in your bank account, but you do have the power to control your future. If you’re stuck in a job that you hate, there’s plenty you can do to get yourself out of it and finally get ahead.
Complaining about your job or giving your boss major attitude might make you feel better, but it won’t get you anywhere closer to a new job. Here’s a look at five things you can do this week to start paving the way to a brighter future.
1. Take Yourself Out of the Box
There is no rule that says you have to keep yourself stuck in the same box year after year. If you went to college and received a particular degree, you might feel pressured to remain in this field—despite the fact that you want to jump off a bridge every day of your life. Every time you think about changing your occupation, you might receive a new student loan statement in the mail, which serves as a painful reminder of how much you spent so you would be qualified to work in said field. Understandably, you hate the idea of wasting time and money, and if your parents paid for your education, you definitely don’t want to hear any lectures about wasting their money.
There are many reasons and excuses to stay at a dead-end job (or in a field you hate). Just know that change will only come if you take the first step. You need to decide what will make you happy, and what type of job will provide satisfaction and happiness.
Some people say you can’t have it all. And yes, every job has its unpleasant aspects, but hating one or two things about your job is completely different from hating everything about your job.
Your dream job might be an occupation you never considered for yourself. Given the numerous career options available with a single degree, you might find work that’s the complete opposite of what you’ve been doing, yet you’re still able to utilize your degree. But you won’t know about these opportunities until you start thinking outside the box.
2. Don't Talk Yourself Out of Being Successful
It’s funny how some people say they want to get out of a dead-end job, yet they talk themselves out of taking the first step. Before you can move forward with your career, you need to acknowledge ways you’re holding yourself back.
On one hand, you want to succeed. But on the other hand, you’re afraid of succeeding. Do you think you deserve happiness? Are you tired of waking up with a frown on your face and mad at the world? If so, you need to put on your big boy or big girl pants and take a chance with your life. If you’re having the worst time in your current job, your career can only go up from here. So rather than telling yourself you’re not qualified for a particular position or sabotaging your own success, start believing in yourself and do what it takes to make your dreams happen.
After you have a pretty good idea of your next move, what will it take to get there? You might have to go back to school and take a class or two, or you might have to revamp your résumé and pay a professional résumé writer to make the document shine. This isn’t the time to whine or be cheap about spending money. Think of this as an investment in your future—not only your future job but also your future happiness.
3. Shout Your Plans From the Rooftop
There is nothing wrong with a little nepotism in the workplace. If you know where you want to be in your career, and you have friends, family, neighbors or Facebook friends in high places—use your connections.
This doesn’t mean you should expect a job offer when you’re clearly not qualified for a position. But if you can handle a particular assignment and you have the skills and experience, make it known that you’re looking for work and the type of jobs you prefer.
You might be a humble, quiet and laidback person, but if you’re serious about getting out of a dead-end job, this isn’t the time to hide in the background. To get out of your job, you need to schedule interviews. If your résumé and cover letter don’t result in an influx of human resource managers blowing up your phone, then it doesn’t hurt to target your network.
4. Start with Your Employer
Now only should you tell family or friends about your plans to progress in your career, discuss these plans with your employer. Some employers are completely clueless about an employee’s career plan. It’s typically beneficial for a company to promote from within. Current employees already understand the company culture, and there’s less of a learning curve. Yet, many employers hire outside the company because they’re unaware that many of their employees are qualified for open positions.
If you have an entry-level position or work in a department that doesn’t require a lot of specialized skills, your employer may not realize your potential. You may have degrees under your belt and capable of handling many tasks, yet your employer doesn’t know your credentials.
If you’re bored out of your mind and going nowhere in your career, talk with your boss and let him know you’re ready to move up in the company. Make him aware of any skills or education you’ve acquired over the past few years. Your employer might think of you the next time there’s an opening in the company.
5. Go Slow and Get "Half" Out of the Job
When you’re in a dead end job, you want to get out as fast as you can and take back control of your career. But the reality is you need a job to pay the bills and put a roof over your head. Quitting prematurely might be the worst thing you can do for your finances.
If you’re in a dead-end job and you know what you want to do with your life, start small and slowly inch your way out of this job. Let’s say you find a job in another field but you can only find work as a part-time employee with the company. Talk with your present boss to see if you can switch from full-time to part-time. Rather than spend the entire day stuck in a job you hate, you’ll now only spend half the day— so at least the other half of your day goes well. Or maybe you want to start your own company. You can build your company while working full-time, and once your company starts earning a profit, slowly scale back with your full-time employer.
Getting out of a dead-end job might seem impossible, but it can happen. The trick is having a plan and believing that you can succeed. Don’t waste your potential, skills and education on a job taking you on a train to nowhere.
Do you have any tips for how to get out of a job you hate? Let us know in the comments section below!