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So You Hate Your Job: Here’s How to Make Things Better


Very few of us will make it to retirement age without ever having a job we can’t stand. Sometimes, the work itself is boring; others, it’s the manager that’s dragging us down. No matter what the reason, there are steps you can take to improve your situation, even if you’re temporarily stuck where you are.

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(Photo Credit: mickyc82/Flickr)

1. Network, network, network.

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Over at Levo League, Maddy Douglass tells us about the four months she spent working at a boutique in her hometown after passing the bar exam but before striking out into her chosen field.

The job itself was obviously a far cry from her dream job, but the professional connection she made with the boss helps her to this day.

“The owner of the boutique was so friendly, welcoming, and complimentary while I worked there. I think she appreciated that, though I had a law degree, I put everything I had into the job when I was on duty,” Douglass writes. “She could see that I didn’t take the situation lightly, and that I treated her store and customers with courtesy and respect, even if it wasn’t the job I had imagined having at that time. Because of that position, I have a new professional connection in the form of my former boss, and it will never hurt you to have more professional connections. In fact, she even checks up on me on Facebook from time to time!”

2. Develop your work ethic.

Douglass’s networking connection evolved because she was willing to put everything into a job that wasn’t her ideal gig. Do whatever you do as well as you can. Working hard is a learned skill, and it requires practice. By showing up every day, both physically and mentally, you’re preparing yourself to make things happen once you get the professional opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

3. Look for chances to change your job.

Sometimes, it isn’t the company itself that’s the problem, it’s the role you have within the organization. By picking up new skills and keeping your ear to the ground, you can evolve into a job that better suits your talents and goals.

4. Be honest with yourself.

Dr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University, tells Jacquelyn Smith at Forbes that unhappy workers should perform a self-assessment to determine whether it’s really their job that’s making them unhappy — or some other part of their lives.

“Brooks says you should start by asking yourself: Why do I hate my present job? Is this a new feeling or have I always disliked it? Is it the people I’m working with, the tasks I’m asked to do, the culture of the company?” Smith writes.

5. Plan your exit strategy.

Making a plan for moving on, whether it’s to another role in the company or outside the organization altogether, serves two purpose: 1. it gives you practical, actionable steps to take in order to move on, and 2. it makes you feel more in control of the situation.

If you can remember that you’re not stuck forever, you’re going to feel a lot better even while you’re doing a job you hate.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Road trips sound good… Better than thinking boring things at work!


I understand about giving it all mentally and physically to make a good impression, earn respect, etc. However, what happens if your brain tends to take road trips on it’s own when you are doing a not very mentally challenging, repetitive task? I’ve had this problem since grade school. Teachers would say to my parents – “Your daughter is very bright, we just wish she’d stay with us in class.”  Even my best attempts in such situations result in my… Read more »

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