In a Job You Hate? Three Top Tips to Survive Work that Doesn’t Work for You

It’s hard if you’re stuck in a job you really hate and I do sympathise. Most of us at some stage in our lives find ourselves with work we have to do rather than work we would choose to do (it may be a stepping stone, we’ve got none of right qualifications yet, got to pay the rent/mortgage, need to be in that location, recession, etc). It can be soul destroying so you need to take a few steps to make sure you are in control.

It you find yourself in a role where circumstances mean you have to stay put you can make it better for yourself. Here are three tips to try:

Tip One

One of the (admittedly few) plusses of being in a role you hate is that it helps you clarify what you don’t want for the future and that’s valuable information. Take some time out to really identify what ticks you off about your current job. The following is a list of questions taken from my book When Work Isn’t Working.

Ask yourself, is it:

the task, the actual work you have to do?

the ethics of the organisation? Do they sit well with your personal values? If they don’t, you’ll never be happy

the pay or salary or bonus scheme?

lack of prospects?

too much emphasis on advancement?

the attitudes of other workers?

your current manager?

the location?

too easy for you/undemanding?

too much of a stretch at the moment

Tip Two

Stop your internal message to yourself about how much you hate what you’re doing. Did you know that there has been much research on what makes you miserable and dwelling on what makes us miserable makes us… err… miserable! It’s not easy but ask yourself honestly if moaning about work has almost become habit. If so, you’ve made a great little ‘misery neural pathway’ in your brain which you strengthen every time you mutter ‘I hate my job’. Reflect on whatever the reasons are that you’re staying and mutter that instead. ‘This job pays my mortgage’. It’s not exactly uplifting but it will do less damage than the alternative.

Tip Three

When Gallop undertook a survey of what made employers happy having a best friend at work came in at reason number 10. If you can, find a kindred spirit to help you through this period at work. If not, then do try and make sure that you are seeing enough of your good friends outside of work, and not just to grumble about work (remember point two)! Also pretty high in the list was having the opportunity to do something well every day. It may not be what you would choose to do but are there elements of your current role that you can really get to grips with and be super brilliant at? If there are, try it out. You never know what you may learn that will serve you in good stead for the day when you have a job that really isn’t like working!

These article below are on related topics and you may find them helpful:

Do You Have a Career or a Job?

Your Career Plan – Got One?

Essential Career Advice for Women – Equal Pay

3 Essential Questions for Professional Women

Thinking of expanding your training business? I can help you. To find out more, click here.

PS A good friend gave me that poster for my birthday. Don’t you just love it!


Posted on January 4th, 2013 by

2 Responses to “In a Job You Hate? Three Top Tips to Survive Work that Doesn’t Work for You”

  1. Pam Gordon says:

    Dear Jane
    I am a follower of you on twitter and read the newsletter and website. I really would like to do a RenewYou course with you, but cannot make the Bristol event. Could you let me know of future events as I think I need to get a new direction/sense of perspective within my current working life.
    Many thanks in advance.

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