As much as we like to think otherwise, there are some things in life that are certain: you’ll pay taxes, you won’t live forever and, at some point, you will land up in a job that you despise. Whether it’s because of your awful boss, your toxic colleagues or your constant subjection to the most mundane of tasks, there will always be something to throw you off course.
But what should you do when you hit this job wall? Well, luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled some handy tips on whether you should walk away or try to struggle on, as well as some actionable steps on how to stay sane while you do so.
So, if you’re currently stuck in career hell, read on; this is what to do when you hate your job…
1. Don’t Broadcast It
If Sunday nights are becoming an experience akin to getting punched in the gut, then it might be a sign that all is not well with your job. But turning up on Monday and declaring to everyone just how much you loathe it won’t change anything; in fact, your colleagues will soon become sick of your negativity, especially if they themselves actually enjoy what you all do.
Don’t go pasting your discord all over social media, either, even if you’re confident your boss won’t see it. There’s no telling who will, and if Jill from Accounts decides to pass your latest Facebook rant on to management, you might find yourself being pushed before you even get the chance to jump.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should let your frustrations build up. Venting is healthy – and even recommended. But be sensible: save your qualms and criticisms for your family and friends, where they won’t come back to bite you later on.
2. Don’t Quit Straight Away
When things really start to reach boiling point, it can be extremely tempting to down tools and quit on the spot; this is probably not a good idea, though. Job searches can take time, and unless your financial situation is such that you can afford to be out of work for an extended period, then you may struggle.
It also won’t look great when you eventually apply for a new position. ‘Why did you leave your previous role?’ is an interview favourite of most potential employers and, unfortunately, ‘I hated it’ is not a particularly good answer.
Besides, quitting when you’re angry or frustrated is extremely hasty; you should first consider if there’s the possibility of affecting a change in your circumstances…
3. Identify the Issue
…Which brings us conveniently to our next point. It’s important that you sit down and clarify what exactly it is that you dislike so much about your job and, more importantly, if it is something that you can affect.
For example, if you love your actual work but hate your boss (as many employees do), then there are plenty of options available; these could involve transferring to another department, sticking things out until your boss leaves or finding a similar position at another company. Alternatively, if you feel like you’re undervalued and could earn more elsewhere, actually ask for a raise first. Not every issue is solved by simply jumping ship, and you might be surprised.
Of course, if the issue is more complex, such as realising that you’re in the wrong career, then no amount of salary hikes or management changes are going to help. The same principle applies, though: before you do anything, know for certain what exactly is putting you off, and if changing tack will solve it.
4. Look at Alternatives
Once you’ve realised what’s making you miserable, start looking for practical solutions – discretely, of course. If you like your work but not the company, this might mean snooping on job boards or LinkedIn to see if there are any exciting opportunities on the horizon elsewhere. Alternatively, if you like the company but not the work, it might mean tactfully requesting that your boss put you in a different role.
It’s also a good opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate your career goals. Indeed, you may find that the reason behind your job depression is not even the job at all – it could actually be you. For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a chef but you’ve spent the last three years as an actuary ‘because it pays better’, then the root of your unhappiness shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
As an antidote to your career blues, seriously consider what your passion is and what you would rather be doing with your life, and then research how you can viably make it happen. If that means enrolling yourself in night classes to retrain in a completely different profession, then so be it, but remember: only you have the power to change your situation.
5. Change Your Focus
For many people, job satisfaction is often linked to their general happiness and wellbeing, meaning that if they are stressed at work, then it’s likely to come home with them. If possible, try to avoid this by taking the emphasis off your career and focusing on something else.
For some people, this could mean taking up a new hobby, such as fitness, painting or learning a new language; something, ideally, that takes a lot of time to master and which you can invest yourself in emotionally. Alternatively, a return to education might be beneficial; you could study something out of interest or something that could help to develop your career, such as an MBA. The important thing is to have direction and goals outside of the office that can stimulate and motivate you.
You could also benefit financially, too If you have the relevant skillset, consider taking on a side gig – or go one better and start your own side business. Who knows? You might make such a success of things that you won’t even need your day job anymore…
6. Maintain Your Professionalism
Regardless of what you’re getting up to outside of the office, bear in mind that when you’re inside it somebody is paying you money; therefore, you should still put in 100% and complete your tasks to the very best of your ability. It’s not just a question of professional responsibility, either; if you’re putting no effort into your work, it’ll become even harder to motivate yourself every day, as well as having to cope with the negative effect that a lack of a ‘job well done’ will have on your self-worth.
Your boss won’t be pleased if the standard of your work is notably low, either, and while you initially might not care, bear in mind that you will likely need a reference from them in the future. Which makes the next point equally important…
7. If You Leave, Do it Gracefully
If you do decide to move on, either to a new company or on to a completely different career path, then it’s in your own interest to do so in a classy manner. Make sure your resignation letter is professional – nothing crass or humorous, no matter how tempted you may be – and that you adhere to any requests for the remainder of your notice, such as training your replacement.
It’s not worth wasting any more negative energy on a part of your life that you will soon be leaving behind anyway. Your professionalism and helpfulness will translate on to any reference, and even in the event that your boss is a harbinger of bitterness, your record will speak for itself. Besides, any remaining frustrations on your part will be negated by the knowledge that, finally, your workplace torture is coming to an end.
The most important thing throughout the whole process, however, is to stay positive. Hating your job has the very real and very dangerous potential to severely influence your mental health and wellbeing. And sitting back and doing nothing about it – whatever that something is – will not help you or anybody else. Find out what needs to change, and make it happen.
Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do, and did it work? Let us know in the comments below…