It’s 7am. The alarm clock is blaring as you are jarred from your slumber. You wipe your eyes, still dazed and disoriented. You incoherently slap the top of the alarm clock. Just five more minutes. You need these five minutes. Not just because sleeping is so wonderful. It’s because you cannot stand the thought of going to your job even one more hour let alone a whole day. It’s impossible. You’d rather be beaten. After all, it feels like you’ve been beaten every day when you leave work so what’s the difference?
Can you relate to that? If so, you’re not alone. I would venture to say that all of us have felt this at one point or another and if you haven’t, you’re one of the lucky ones. So what, then, do we do about the fact that we loathe our job so deeply but need it so badly to keep up the lifestyle that we’ve grown accustomed to, even if that lifestyle is just getting by? Well there are a number of things that you can do to make the most of your situation. And I’m not talking just getting by, although frankly getting by is sometimes all you can do in certain situations. In this post, we’re going to explore what it’s like to live this reality and some steps that you can take to improve your situation or your perception of it.
Accept that your job sucks. It’s the worst. Well maybe not the literal worst, but because it’s your struggle and your feelings are valid, you get to view it as the worst. Sometimes accepting this can be so powerful. For so long, I was in this job that I hated but I had convinced myself that the job itself and the work environment around it wasn’t truly bad, it was all something that I had concocted in my head because this job wasn’t right for me. I saw others around me that liked the job. Hell some of them loved it. So the job couldn’t have actually been bad. It was just me being crazy. Plot twist, that wasn’t true. The job sucked. And even those people who seemed to outwardly love it, knew that it sucked. They had just come up with ways to deal with that mentally that were superior to the methods that I was using to cope. And that seems so dark, but sometimes we can only be expected to cope. There are jobs out there that no one should have to do ever but alas we find ourselves in them anyway. And they pay the bills just like great jobs do. So we think that we’re trapped. But we’re not. I think the most valuable advice that I can give you here is to accept that your job might actually suck and that it’s not just you. If it is just you, then you can work through that. But if you try try and try as you might and you can’t work through it, the problem probably isn’t you. And that’s okay.
Let’s face it. The struggle is real. Too real. But there are some things that you can do to claw your way out of that struggle and that, in and of itself, is sometimes the most powerful tool in overcoming a job that you hate. If you can somehow know that, even though you’re stuck in this terribly awful career, you’re working towards something better or something that will make you happy, then you have taken control of your own destiny and you have the peace of mind of knowing that you aren’t truly stuck. I think that’s one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to a dead end or crummy job. We decide that even though we hate it, we are stuck there. So we find ourselves in this perpetual state of dread and misery when, in fact, we aren’t really stuck at all. No matter what your financial situation or your educational background, there are always steps that you can take to prepare yourself for something better. The first step is deciding what you want to do. This one has always been challenging for me. I suffer from crippling indecisiveness, especially when it comes to making long-term decisions. If you find yourself in my boat, take a long hard look at what truly makes you happy. What brings you the most joy? Are there potential ways of making a career out of it? If so, you’ve found something that you can work toward. And even if it doesn’t work out or you decide later on that you’re not so fond of it, it will give you something to look forward to while you’re still in that crappy job of yours. It’s not enough to just have that thing though, you have to take it a step further. In fact, you have to take steps every day, no matter how tiny they are, to put you closer to achieving that dream career. If it’s specialized skills that you need, look for free resources that can help you gain the knowledge and skills necessary for the position. YouTube is a great resource for this. There are books and podcasts about everything available to you at your disposal. iTunes U offers courses on a wide variety of subjects. Don’t let the fact that you may not have a degree in your desired field stop you from learning everything that you can about it. Even if you don’t have the educational requirements for your dream job, you might be hireable in a related position that will get your foot in the door if you are able to talk the talk and you have a genuine understanding of the subject matter. You might want to do something artistic. If that’s the case, practice your craft routinely. You may be bad at it at first, but over time, you will improve. And each time you practice or you learn more about whatever it is that you want to do, you will be taking positive steps in the direction of achieving your desired position or career. You will be amazed at how effective this is in taking your mind off of the fact that you can’t stand your current job. Because you won’t feel like you’re going to be stuck forever.
Another easy way to overcome the job hatred blues is to change the way that you approach your job. Maybe you don’t love it, but if you can challenge yourself to become the best at it, you can hyper focus your concentration and take your mind off of the big picture, aka hating the job as a whole. Focus on the particular tasks at hand and doing each one of those minute little tasks as efficiently and passionately as possible. If there’s a lot of drama in your workplace, and that’s your big stressor, remove yourself from the drama. I know that sounds a lot simpler than it is, but it is doable. When everyone is all wrapped up in the drama, take yourself out of the equation. Don’t discuss it. You don’t have to be standoffish to do this, either. You can be silent on a specific topic, or at least vague in your commenting on it, without being standoffish. This is a lot easier if you are a naturally positive person. Putting a positive spin on something that people are complaining or grumbling about can be effective. And you can do it without being ‘that person’. The key there is to understand that not everything is rosy all the time. But some things aren’t as bad as others make them out to be. Find a complaining balance. Don’t complain about everything but don’t expect everything bad to just go away, either. You are in control of how you respond to things, and of the power that you give to certain circumstances and situations. React in a way that will cause as little stress as possible for you. There are no established rules for navigating a hostile work environment, but it can be done if you have the right mindset.
I hope that this post has encouraged you to try and make the best out of your bad job and to work your way through dealing with it for however long is necessary. Have you ever been in a job that you despised? Do you have some advice for those going through this? Let me know! I’ll be glad to share.