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So, I hate my job.

Unless you're one of the lucky few, at some point you've had a job that's been hard to handle.

Whether it was a micromanaging boss, a gossipy co-worker, a hostile work environment, or an unrealistic workload, there are countless reasons why you may be chanting the mantra, "I quit," under your breath every day.

First of all, I'm sorry.

It's terrible to be stuck doing something that you actively can't stand. If it helps at all, you definitely aren't alone. In my experience, the "I hate my job blues" is an equal-opportunity aggressor. It strikes all industries, all job functions, and at unpredictable times in your career.

So, what can you do?

Depending on your situation, you start assessing what's keeping you there, a.k.a. is it time to quit.

If that answer is...pride or fear or complacency, than it might be time to dust off your resume, refresh your LinkedIn profile, and start setting up informational interviews. However, if the answers are more like health insurance, bills, and familial obligations, you might have less flexibility in your next steps.

That brings us to the next question. What can you do if you need to stay at a job you hate?

Luckily, there are a couple things still within your control.

1) Can you identify the parts of your job that are the worst? Is there anything you can do to decrease them?

Maybe you really dislike working on projects with a specific co-worker, but or maybe you can't stand it when your boss emails you on the weekend. Depending on the work environment, you may be able to maneuver things to decrease the number of times the bad things occur. Either by addressing it head on, or making subtle adjustments that limit the likelihood of being caught in that position.

2) How much time are you currently spending at work? Is it possible to either decrease that amount or introduce other things to your life that you enjoy, and that are non-work related?

Sometimes the amount we are working is a problem in itself. When you don't like your job but it's still taking all of your time, it's easy to feel beaten down. In these cases, it can be helpful to try and steal back moments, 3-5 minute breaks where you do something you enjoy (go get a coffee or tea, listen to a song, do a mini-meditation, write a haiku...).

Another thing you can do is to try and shift your focus. When things are bad, they tend to feel bigger than they sometimes are. If possible, you can try reintroducing things that you love (or used to love) back into your life. That way, it doesn't feel like all you're doing is working at a job you hate.

3) What helps you diffuse some of the stress?

There are moments where you're going to be stuck in a crappy situation. During those times, its essential to find ways of releasing some stress. Whether it manifests as a furious need to clean your apartment, standing TGIF drinks with coworkers or an almost animal need to watch the new Marvel series, let yourself sink into the moments that help you relax.

Additionally, build in times where you can connect with your partner, friends, or family (you can vary things if you're worried about overloading someone) and vent about your job. It can be healthy, and necessary to have someone validate how you feel. However, keep an eye on how you feel after talking about it. It's easy to fixate on difficult things that we can't change, so it may be helpful to give yourself 5-10 minutes that are all about work, and then move on to other things.

And then?

4) What would enable you to leave?

Finally, whenever you have the capacity, you should start thinking about an exit plan. Even if it's not possible now (or in a year or even two) it can be helpful to know that somewhere, the door away from your job is out there, and that you're taking steps toward it.


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