How to Survive a Job You Hate

Not all jobs are going to be your favorite. One of the first things you’ll learn when you first graduate college and enter the workforce is that there’s no such thing as the perfect job. Even if you’re absolutely in love with what you do, odds are you’ll still find a few things about your position that you could do without.

The most obvious solution is to leave the job you don’t like and find a position that suits your goals, interests, and aspirations. However, that’s not always possible. Maybe this is your first office gig in a field you’re looking to advance in so it’s better to suck things up for the time being to get your foot in the door. Maybe you count too much on your income to leave right now.

No matter the reason, you don’t have to accept hating your job as a death sentence. There are a number of survival skills that help ease the strain of working at a job you don’t like.

Busy employees in office

1. Reevaluate Your Feelings

First, you need to take a deep dive into what it is that’s eating away at you every day. Odds are you didn’t choose this job thinking it would be a poor fit, yet here you are. Think about what it is exactly that’s leaving you feeling unhappy. According to a recent report by Mental Health America, less than 20% of Americans never think about getting another job. That means you aren’t alone with your dissatisfaction.

What is it that makes you dread waking up in the morning? Do you hate your boss? Do you have no passion for the work you do? J. T. O’Donnel, the Founder of WorkItDaily argues that most people feel pressured to take jobs based on how it will make them appear to others. In other words, we choose our jobs not based on our personal preferences, but rather on the reputation of certain positions.

When we base our careers on what looks best on paper, we end up in positions that leave us feeling unmotivated. It’s up to you to decide what it truly is that makes you happy, whether that comes with a fancy title or not. Nobody else has to live with this decision but you.

2. Stop Overworking Yourself

When you’re in a downward spiral, it’s easy to keep taking on more and more of a workload. It’s almost like you’re trying to drown yourself in your own misery. Instead, stop this burnout in its tracks. The best way to free yourself from a job you hate is to find a healthy work/life balance. Your job does take up a lot of your time during the week, but not all of your time.

Allow yourself to make the most of the time you have. Maybe you can cut back your hours at the office. Maybe you stop volunteering for extra projects that bring you down. The more you can focus on getting your work done so you can enjoy the things you love, the happier you’ll feel. Create staff schedules that work around your needs. Don’t feel like you need to put up with overworking yourself.

Employee doing presentation

3. Shift Your Workday

While it’s unlike you can completely swap your position for something else, that doesn’t mean you can’t still shift what it is you do every day. There are always new projects and new skills to learn no matter what type of work environment you’re in. What makes your workday feel good to you? Do you love organizing meetings? Do you enjoy working on organizational projects?

Find what it is that makes your day better and do more of it. Talk to your boss about ways you can put your skills to good use. Show initiative by stepping up to the plate in different areas. Sure, you might not like sifting through spreadsheets, but maybe it’s worth it if you know you get to spend your afternoons pitching clients or in one-on-one sessions.

Nobody likes to work a job they hate. If you feel stuck in your routine and aren’t sure of a way out, follow these tips above. In the meantime, create a plan for leaving your current position. Make sure you keep all of things you don’t like about this job in mind so you can find a better fit in the future.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, there are plenty of resources available online, such as How to Start a Business: A Complete Playbook.