We have all had really bad days at work. Sometimes these can be so awful that you leave work in a rage vowing never to return. “I hate my job,” you tell yet again to someone close. And they are like: “OK, you should quit then!”.
But let’s be honest: quitting a job you hate when you don’t have any other option lined up isn’t wise. Especially in the current uncertain climate.
What you can do though, apart from updating your resume and cover letter, is try to change your immediate attitude towards the job you have. Here’s what to do when you hate your job, but cannot quit just yet.
Ask Yourself: Why Do I Hate My Job So Much?
Let’s be honest: even the always-smiling Joanne from the next cubicle is probably having her fair share of bad days. And that’s fine. Everyone feels like throwing in the towel when things get stressful.
But you can’t let emotions take over your judgment. The decision to quit a job is a major one and should not be taken in haste. So before you hand in that resignation letter, try to figure out what exactly makes you utter the “I hate my job” phrase over and over again.
Because you can’t find a better job unless you can articulate what exactly makes you so miserable in your current position.
1. I Hate My Boss!
You love your job but your relationship with your boss isn’t the easiest. As we wrote in our comics series, bosses can be jerks for a lot of reasons. The most annoying types:
- Try to micromanage you
- Are too tough/authoritative
- Make unreasonable demands
- Overlook you for promotion
…and the list can go on and on. Surely, working under a bad manager makes your work life difficult. But is it a good enough reason to quit the job you otherwise love? Not always.
When you hate your job because of a pesky boss, you actually have several alternative options to fix that.
First of all, you can approach the line manager standing above your boss and voice out your concerns. If this isn’t possible, then talk to your HR department to see how they can help. You might be not the only one complaining! If that’s the case, your boss might be called in for a “talk”, sent to a training program, or otherwise prompted to correct their behavior towards you and others.
Alternatively, you can always ask for an in-company transfer. Inquire with HR if there’s an option to get assigned to another manager/team or assigned to a new department. Again, this could help get the ‘boss’ problem to go away.
But if neither of those things is possible with your current employer, you should surely seek a better workplace. No one is obliged to keep working in a toxic environment!
2. I Feel Taken Advantage Of
It’s easy to hate a job when you feel overworked, stressed out, and still pushed to do more and work even harder. If you feel like it is always you who is handed the most difficult tasks or asked to stay the longest, or otherwise prompted to go harder, it’s easy to grow very unsatisfied with your job.
Try to get to the root cause of your feelings:
- Does your boss overload you with work?
- Do you say yes to every request for help coming from teammates or work colleagues?
- Are you asking for extra help when you need it?
- Perhaps, you have trouble managing your time effectively?
If the reason is your boss and their workload allocation, approach them directly. After all, they might not be fully aware of your struggle or just play along with your silent consent to take over extra chores.
To keep the conversation productive, try this:
- Remind them of your role description if they are handing you over tasks that are somewhat beyond its scope.
- Provide them with a walkthrough over your current schedule and explain how much an average task takes you to complete.
- Work together on creating more realistic task/project estimates.
- Explain that if they want to get more work done in the future, they might want to hire an assistant/junior person to help you with that. You’d be also glad to train them.
A good leader will listen to your concerns and help you work out a better schedule.
If it’s your colleagues who try to pass over their work on you, start saying ‘no’ more often. Just be transparent and say that your plate is already full and you cannot help them. Or, suggest approaching your boss together, to work out a better schedule for both of you.
Lastly, get more mindful about how you spend your time. Do your time management skills need a bit of polishing? Or perhaps you are too bogged down with menial work, meetings, and emails.
If that’s the case, here are some simple (but highly effective) rules that can help:
- Limit your email/chat communication to 2hs morning/evening.
- Plan non-meeting days to do some deep work.
- Try working in productivity sprints of 90 minutes each.
- Create simple workflow automations to curb menial tasks.
3. The Job Is Too Boring!
Once you have learned just about every aspect of your role, a job can start to feel pretty monotonous and unfulfilling. It can feel like you are just going through the motions each day without getting much satisfaction out of your mechanical actions.
Instead of looking at this negatively, try to think that you are now so good at your job and you are so on top of everything that it has become too easy for you. Is a new job really the answer here?
Being bored can lead you to look elsewhere, but what about looking in-house first?
Most companies offer extra training and career progression opportunities. You can also ask for extra responsibilities at work to add a bit more of a challenge to your day. This way you can learn a few new skills and gear yourself up for a promotion.
On the other hand, if you are bored with your company or the industry as a whole, indeed it might be time to look around for a new job. Update your resume, polish your LinkedIn profile, and start applying to jobs you find more relevant to your ideal career path.
If you are not sure about quitting immediately, you can also get yourself a part-time gig. A side-hustle can be a great avenue for channeling your creativity, passion, or interest in something else than your main line of work. And who knows — maybe you’ll turn your side passion project into a full-time work opportunity for yourself!
4. I Hate Going to Work Because of Commute
Everyone gets frustrated or overwhelmed when trying to navigate busy roads, buses or trains, and streets full of fellow commuters. Your travel to work and home can add potentially hours to your working day, making you miserable.
Remote work has become the norm for a lot of industries. So try to negotiate a flexible work-from-home arrangement with your boss. Perhaps, you can come to the HQ for only several days a week.
If remote isn’t really an option for your profession, ask about some flexibility around your working hours. Maybe you can leave an hour later or earlier for work for a few mornings a week to avoid the rush-hour traffic. You can compromise by staying later or leaving early by one hour on these days and by doing this you will also be avoiding the worst of the traffic home. Most employers will be accommodating to such asks.
Finally, try to change your attitude towards the commute itself. If you are going to work by public transport, take advantage of your journey by:
- Listening to interesting and educational podcasts.
- Mastering a new language via an app.
- Getting your nose deep into a good book.
- Or just using the time to pre-sort your agenda for the day.
We all have those bad days when we just want to vent about hating our jobs for one reason or another. But don’t act rashly!
Approach your feelings constructively. Sit down and make a list of all the things you enjoy about your job. Include all the bonuses that you may not immediately appreciate such as nice work colleagues, potential learning opportunities, promotion prospects, catered lunches, etc. Putting things into perspective this way can help prevent just one or two bad things from clouding your whole judgment.