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So, you hate your job.
The Sunday scaries are a weekly reality, and you dread Monday all weekend long. When you're not at work, you're complaining about it – and you can hear yourself driving your friends up the wall. When your hatred for work has consumed your life, one obvious answer probably stands out: You have to quit, right? Well, not necessarily.
You took this job in the first place for a reason, and while it might not be everything you wanted it to be, you may still be able to change your experience instead of ending it.
Watch Your Words
Even after your shift, you're talking about work: all your incompetent colleagues, traumatic experiences and the ways in which your job is ruining your life. And when you're out with co-workers after work on Fridays, it's more of the same: cocktails and complaints. Try not doing that anymore. Constant trash-talk about your work environment may only feed into the cycle, especially when you and your coworkers are in it together.
Dr. Amy Cooper Hakim told Cosmopolitan that while venting can be therapeutic, it's not actually going to change anything about your job, and after a certain point it might actually make things worse.
"When you need to get it out, speak to an S.O. or a friend outside work," Hakim said, recommending against venting with your employees. She also suggested setting a time limit on your vent sessions to keep them from consuming your whole social life.
Shine a Positive Light
Just as constant trash-talk can perpetuate negative situations, failing to identify the positive aspects of your job can cause you to forget about them altogether. Redirect your co-worker work-bashing sessions with discussions of new, exciting projects, or some recent achievements you're proud of. Consider documenting those achievements, as well, to set you up for success moving forward and beef up your employee value in case you're vying for a promotion.
"When you look for something to be grateful for, your workday becomes so much better," Hakim told Cosmopolitan.
Create Intentional Free Time
Now, you might get home after work every day and stare at the ceiling, replaying negative experiences from the day over and over in your mind. Find a better way to spend those hours after work. Forbes contributor Liz Ryan suggests getting active after work, such as going bowling, hitting the gym or playing croquet with some friends. Blowing off steam through physical activity can work wonders.
Do the same with your weekends, and turn those periods of time into real treats. Take a long, picturesque bike ride, as Ryan recommends, or snuggle up with a book and a bottle of wine. Plan time to connect with friends and family. Generally speaking, invest more energy in the parts of your life that aren't work-related, to remind yourself how much more there is to life than working.
Get Out of Town
After-work hours and weekends aren't your only personal time – if you've been burnt out at work for far too long, chances are you have some vacation hours in the bank. Stop ignoring them. Employees in the U.S. tend not to use their vacation days, and as the Muse points out, "working an endless stream of 40-plus hour weeks with no break could make anyone want to quit their job." The same might go for you.
So take a vacation. And while you're on it, keep screen-time (at least work-related screen-time) to a minimum, and make sure your colleagues know not to bother you unless it's absolutely necessary. This time could help you unwind and leave you feeling refreshed and relieved – or clarify whether you need to leave altogether. Either way, it's worth a shot.
Talk to Your Boss
Chances are, your employer wants to know how you're doing in your position – and if you're not doing well, your employer would want to help you. If you're building a long (and growing) laundry list of grievances and complaints, but haven't actually aired them to your boss yet, you're not doing anything to help yourself. And until you speak with your boss and hear out their response, you can't say you've tried everything.
Talk with your boss about how much you hate your assigned responsibilities, or how much you can't stand your teammates on this current project, or the fact that your heavy workload has consumed your waking hours for week after week. Your employer may be able to delegate tasks or move around responsibilities to make your job a little easier and more enjoyable.
Brenna Swanston is a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She previously reported for the Sun newspaper in Santa Maria, California, and she holds a bachelor's in journalism from California Polytechnic State University.