What to Do When You Hate Your Job
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Staying in a Job You Hate Can Cause Physical and Mental Stress
Going to work every day can be miserable when you hate your job. If you dread heading out the door every morning, it's time to make an honest assessment about the specifics of what you dislike about your position and either find a way to change your attitude, or get your resume in shape and start looking for something else.
Narrow Down Your Angst
What, specifically, do you hate about your job? Do you dislike what you do every day, have a problem with your boss or colleagues, have too long of a commute or feel underappreciated or underpaid? If you can pinpoint what makes you unhappy, it will be easier to focus on potential solutions.
Position: If you don't like the work you’re doing, inquire with your supervisor or human resources representative about whether a move into a different role is possible. Also ask if cross-training, job shadowing or other workplace mentoring or professional development opportunities are available to help you learn new skills and position you to advance into a different role.
Personality issues: Working with someone you don't get along with can make the day seem unending. If you have conflict with your boss, a colleague or a vendor, consult human resources and attempt to pinpoint the problem. If it’s a personality clash, an HR rep might be able to help you find common ground with the person you find difficult; if you feel you’re being subjected to a harassing or hostile work environment, your HR department is obligated to step in and take action to protect your legal rights to a safe workplace.
Commute or location: If you have a long commute that adds hours to your already long day, ask your supervisor about the potential for telecommuting, job sharing or work-from-home options that might allow you to make the commute on a less frequent basis.
Issues with clients or vendors: Some industries lend themselves to working with clients who can be difficult. If you hate your job because of the people outside the company you deal with, it's time to have a frank talk with your manager. Perhaps your boss knows of effective coping or handling techniques that can help this interaction become less disagreeable. You may also be able to transfer difficult clients to someone else in the company or take a less hands-on role.
Look for a New Job
While it’s not always practical to find a new job, if you’re miserable, it’s an option worth giving serious consideration. Start attending business networking functions, update your resume and consult a head-hunter to find out what’s available in your industry. Connect with former colleagues or managers and let them know you’re in the market to make a move.
Note: If you’re burned out in your industry, consider job retraining or going back to school to learn a new skill or trade. To help ensure that you don’t end up hating another line of work, take stock of your strengths and interests and pursue opportunities that will be fulfilling.
Many people stay in dead-end jobs they have because they need the paycheck. Don't add more stress to your life by quitting a job you’re financially dependent on without having another option lined up. If you truly can't stand your job and feel it’s in your best mental health interest to leave, make a plan for saving enough “cushion cash” to cover you while you conduct a job search.
Note: Consider asking for a short-term leave of absence before leaving your job completely. You might just need to recharge.
Quitting a Job You Hate
No matter how great the urge, resist the temptation to tell an employer or colleagues why you hate the job when you quit. It's fine in an exit interview to give constructive feedback to a human resources representative about the parts of the job you found difficult or undesirable, but don't burn bridges by expressing anger or resentment.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.