So let’s get this clear straight off the bat – if you’re sitting there thinking, “I don’t like my job”, “I hate my job”, “I hate my job so much”, “I really hate my job”, or any other variant of a thought about you really not liking your job, then know that my intention with this post is to really get to the core of what you’re feeling and give you some drive and determination to do something about it.
This is not going to be some blog post that skirts around the subject of you hating your job. This is a serious matter. You likely spend most of your time awake at your job. It’s pretty crucial that you don’t hate your job.
Because you cannot live hating your job!
I mean, really. You cannot spend your life hating your job. Imagine being in this job you hate for the rest of your life. However long that is. What if you have 50 years left of work in you? Are you going to spend those 50 years hating how you spend most of your waking day? And, heck, on the other side of the coin – what if you have 1 year of work left in you? Are you going to spend the final year of your work life doing something you hate, and go in to the next stage of your life regretting how you spent the time before it? I really, really hope not.
Because you were made to feel more alive than you feel at the job you currently hate. I highly doubt you were put on this Earth to sit there loathing what you do, thinking to yourself, “I want to quit my job, I want to quit my job, I want to quit my job”. Don’t you think that’s a waste of your time? Don’t you think that’s a waste of your life?
I do. I think you were made to feel more alive than you do at the moment. You were made for more than sitting there hating your work. You were made to do something you enjoy. You were made to be alive.
Like you, I’ve been in the situation of feeling stuck in a job I hated. I have been there a few times. As you may know from reading my blog, I have known for a while that I want to be a Film Director, but I spent years working random jobs that had nothing to do with that goal, mostly because I was scared about going after it. I was stuck in dead-end jobs, living a life that wasn’t my own, and hating every minute of it. It wasn’t until I got real with myself and realised that I had to change things that I finally managed to get out of that mindset and do something about it.
So know you are not alone, but also know that there is a way out. There is a light! If you choose to move towards it.
So let’s get going and answer the question of what to do when you hate your job. And, be under no illusion, this situation isn’t going to change itself. So read on, and allow yourself to start thinking outside of this job you hate.
Do You Really Hate Your Job?
Do you dislike another area of your life?
We should probably establish from the outset whether you really hate your job. We’ve all been there – having a day, week, month, year, years, where you are simply down about life for various reasons. If you are down about life, it’s usually because your life circumstances don’t match what you envisioned, what you think they should be. So maybe other areas of your life aren’t living up to your expectations; maybe your life love, family life, social life, or your place and meaning in the world around you.
This is really important to establish from the outset. It might be that you actually do like your job, you just don’t like other parts of your life right now. The way to fix that is probably not to quit your job, because you could end up losing something you actually like.
I would highly suggest looking inwards, meditating, and talking to someone, preferably a professional counsellor. Counsellors are trained to help you think about things in ways that you might not naturally. When you are stuck in a loop about how you feel, they can help you find ways out that you might not be able to do by yourself, or that a friend or partner is not trained to do.
Whatever way you approach it, just make sure you think about this properly.
Have You Just Stopped Liking Your Job Temporarily?
Did you used to like your job? Can you see yourself liking it again? Then maybe you are just having a temporary blip. Perhaps you feel like you are stagnant, not moving forwards. Perhaps you have a new boss and you don’t like the new work environment.
The good news is that these things are fixable. You need to figure out what it is that made you stop liking your job and take steps to address those things. Perhaps you can look for ways to take on more responsibility, maybe you can shift in to a different department, or maybe you can become friends with your boss and make things smoother on a day-to-day basis.
And if you don’t like your current workplace but like the field you are in, you have the positive to lean on that you can move to another company or job in that field.
Could You Like It? Do You Want to Like It?
Another useful question to ask at this point is if you want to like your job. Sometimes, if you are not connecting with something, but know you actually want to, then it is just a matter of working through this and finding a way to connect or reconnect with it. One way of doing this is to think about things you like about your job, why you wanted it in the first place, and so on.
On the other hand, if you realise you really don’t want to like your job, then that is also a massively useful eye-opener, because it probably means you shouldn’t be working in that job and you might want to think about leaving.
Yes, I Really Hate My Job
Okay, so you’ve worked through the questions above (or, maybe you didn’t, because you know without question that you hate your job!), and have come to the conclusion that, “yes, I really hate my job”, you really don’t want to be there anymore, and all you can think to yourself is, “I want to quit my job”. Well, let’s figure out what to do next.
Do You Know Why Your Hate Your Job?
Before start looking at alternatives, you should think about why you don’t like your job. Is it because you don’t like working for someone else? Is it because you don’t like the field you are in? Did you just fall in to this job? Is it because you always wanted to do something else and have been denying or avoiding it?
If it helps, make a list… In fact, make a list. This will be useful to come back to when you start looking at alternative jobs to do.
I don’t like my job because…
I hate my job because…
I want to quit my job because…
List all the reasons, get them all out.
Now, maybe in that list we can pull out some key things that will help you in any future job search. Maybe you are seeing that you prefer to work alone but are forced to work in groups. Maybe it’s the opposite – maybe you are stuck working along and you are a people person. Whatever they are, these are useful things to know.
Do You Know What You Want to Do Instead?
If you know what you want to do instead of your current job, then you are in a great position. Be grateful! So many people have no idea what they want to do with their lives. They go from job to job wondering if there is something out there for them but having no idea what that is. If you know, that is a great starting point, because you know where you should be looking.
Or perhaps you know you always wanted to start your own company, but felt you never had the time or drive to go after it. Well, maybe after some introspection and after realising you hate your job, that idea to start your own business will come back to you.
If you don’t know what you want to do instead, then now is a great time to find out. What you absolutely do not want to do is simply move in to another job that you end up hating! What would be the point of that? No, instead, you need to find out what you like.
So, ask yourself if you have a passion. If you do, your answer could be very simple – maybe you should start looking in that area to see if there is something you want to do.
Now, I have always been in the fortunate position that I have always known (at least generally) what I wanted to do – that has been my passion for as long as I can remember. So I fully appreciate that some people don’t have that passion they know about. If that is you, that is okay. What you need to do is get out there and have experiences. By going out and trying new things, you will discover what you are like, what gives you energy, what you are fuelled by. Those things may not turn in to passion, but they will at least point you towards something you can enjoy. It is incredibly important to explore, to try new things, and when you find something you think you like, explore more around that area.
I know this seems basic. But the basics works. Go out and try anything and everything that you can, but particularly try things that you feel drawn to, even if only marginally. This will start answering your question about what you might want to do instead of your current job.
What If What I Want To Do Doesn’t Pay Well?
If you discover or know what you want to do, but it doesn’t pay well, then, frankly, you need to figure out just how committed you are to doing the thing you want to do. The reality is, it can be really hard to not make that much money in pursuit of what you want to do. Trust me. In fact, ask my wife. Every single day I bring up to her my fears about money vs what I want to do with my life. But I have to go after film directing, so I don’t really have a choice.
Are you prepared to be paid less than you might like in order to do what you want? It’s not a problem if you say “no”, but you really need to think about that. Perhaps you realise that you value your income over doing something that you love every day. Maybe you value what you can do with that money. Maybe that money gives you things in life that you value, and, without that money, you might not have those things. It is okay to feel that way. But make a conscious decision about it.
There are things you can do in order to make not having as much of an income just that little bit easier (see below). And, remember – you can always try it out for a time and back out if you find you don’t get on not making too much money doing what you love.
If you’re saying to yourself, “I hate my job but it pays well” or you’re thinking, “I want to quit my job by it pays well”, then you need to think about how much you value having a high-paying job vs enjoying what you do every day. If you are desperately unhappy for most of the day, and the only thing you like about your job is that you get paid well, then maybe you would be happier with a lower paying job that you actually like. I am not telling you what to do, here. Only you know what will make you happy. But that is what it is about – happiness. If you are unhappy in your high paying job, is it really worth it? That’s what you need to ask yourself. And really think on it.
You Need a Plan
So, you’ve realised you are in completely the wrong job and you know what it is you want to do instead. Well, now you need a plan for how to leave your job.
Should I Quit My Job? Two Options: Leave Now or Leave in the Future
There’s no getting around it – if you hate your job and all you can do is think about quitting your job, then you need to get out of there sooner or later! You just need to figure out which it is; sooner or later? Because you cannot go on like this.
You can either leave as soon as possible and dive head first in to finding a job in the area you want to be in, or you can take some time over it. There are positives and negatives to each option.
If you quit outright, then the clear negative is the drop in income, and the sudden feelings of loss you may have. But then benefits will be that you have plenty of time to go after what you want and to try new things. Some people also thrive in desperation and emergency situations. If you create an emergency situation of not having a job, then perhaps that will propel you to find something to replace it with – just make sure it’s something in the area(s) you know you want to try.
A plan for a new job – skills, learning, networking
If you’ve identified a field you want to move in to or something you at least want to try, it would be a good idea to put yourself in the best position you can to do that. Rather than quitting your job outright, you could start by amassing skills and knowledge in the field you want to go in to. If you want to be a programmer, for example, you could learn code in your spare time. If you want to be an actor, you could take evening acting classes. If you want to be a photographer, perhaps you take photos at weekends and events for free or for a reduced rate until you get a portfolio together.
There is also a great phrase out there that goes something to the effect of, “if you are applying for the job, you’re already too late”. The idea being that most jobs are filled before even going out to the job market. If you know people in the field you want to get in to, then you will hear about positions early, and be in a good position to put yourself forwards before they go out to the public. This can be invaluable and save you a lot of pain and/or panic of job-hunting in the future.
A plan for your own company
If you’ve decided you want to start your own company, you can also do things to help with this venture in your spare time. It will require a lot of work. You will have to work mornings, nights and weekends, but you will start getting somewhere with it. And you can do this without quitting your job and income if that is the route you want to go down. This is also a good way to see if you would really like running your own company, without the risks associated with finding out you don’t actually like it.
If you have decided you want to burn the boats and go at it without the security of a consistent paycheque, there are still things you can do before that point that will put you in a good position: meet potential clients, make prospect calls, build a website… I.e., start to look like a professional.
The point is, you don’t necessarily need to quit your current job in order to start going after what you actually want to do. And if you are going to quit your job as soon as possible to go after it, there are still some things you can do to lay some good groundwork and get a foundation ready before you do.
As with any goal, it’s really important to set dates and deadlines, otherwise you run the risk of never fulfilling your goal of quitting your job that you hate so much.
Unless you have buckets of money coming in from elsewhere, you’re going to need to set a goal for savings that you can use as a buffer if you are going to quit your job before finding another, or if you are going to start your own company and have a period of a drop in earnings. So figure you what you need and write it down.
Make The Process Quicker – What Do You Really Need?
If you want to make the process of leaving your job quicker, one thing you absolutely can do to help is ask yourself how you can cut back. Do you really need that expensive phone contract? Do you need to buy the branded food, or could you buy the supermarket-own brand food? Could you drink less alcohol (becuase it’s really expensive!)? Heck, can you live off rice and beans?
Really think about where you can make cuts to your expenses that you can deal with and won’t make you utterly miserable. And know that you can handle more than you might think. It might not seem like much, but this exercise could cut your monthly bills down by hundreds of pounds/dollars/currency of choice, meaning you can save more money more quickly and, thus, quit your job sooner.
Set a date
Now you know what your expenses are, you should be able to figure out how quickly you can get your savings to where you want. Once you know that, set the deadline. Put it in your calendar. Then, every time you want to spend money on something you don’t need, know that it is keeping you in the job you hate, longer!
Skills, Portfolio work, etc
If you’ve had a think on skills or level of portfolio you should or could have that would help you with your new career choice or with your company, then set dates and deadlines for when you want to have what level of those skills.
For example, maybe you want to be a web designer. You might say you need to design 10 solid websites before you can go out on your own as a freelancer. Set a deadline for when you want to do that by, then get to work finding people you can design websites for for free or for a reduced cost.
Perhaps you want to become a doctor. Are there books you can read that would prepare you for exams you may have to take in order to get in to university to study medicine? Set deadlines for when you want to know that material inside-out.
The Day You Quit Your Job
Ultimately, these other dates and deadlines will help you to see when you might be able to quit your job by. Now, it’s really important that you don’t let up on yourself, here. Don’t give yourself way more time than you actually need, because you will just fill it up. Make the deadline tight. Make yourself work for it and have to put real time and energy in to it.
Look at your calendar and pick the date you want to quit by. Write it in there… And then get excited!
You Must Be Prepared to Do the Work
You must go in to this with your eyes open – it is not going to be easy. It’s hard to go out and do something you are not used to. It’s hard to give up what you know and go in to the unknown. But you know it’s what you want and have to do because… well… you hate your job, and you can’t go on like that!
It’s going to be hard getting new skills, it’s going to be hard to build your business from scratch, it’s going to be hard working morning and night, it’s going to be scary quitting what you know, it’s going to be difficult having less money for a while. But you have to, because that is what is required to get out of this situation that you hate.
Do it in your own time, do it around your job, do it every morning and night, at weekends. Know that it will be worth it. It will be worth it when you quit your job that you hate. It will be worth it when you don’t have to go to work thinking about how much you hate it. It will be worth it!
Take The Leap of Faith
You may be getting to the end of this post and still be in absolute fear. But know that you have got this! You can do this! You have probably done much harder things before.
It may be scary, but, at some point, you have to do this. At some point, you have to take a leap of faith and believe that you can and will be happier if you quit your job and go after what you want in life.
It’s a leap of faith, sure. But, what’s worse? Sitting there for the rest of your working life hating your job (and then living in regret after), or going in to the unknown and actually going after something you want, finding something that will make you happier, going in style, being the person you want to be and being a positive example to people around you?
And if you really want just a little out, don’t forget that this doesn’t have to be permanent – you can always go back to what you are doing now. One question that I learnt from Tim Ferriss that I find useful is to ask yourself how easy it would be to get back to your current position. If it’s pretty easy, then what you want to do to shake it up is not that risky. Maybe that is the case for you. Maybe it would actually be pretty easy to go back if you needed to.
You Were Made For More Than Hating Your Job
I know it’s hard. I know there are probably many fears coming straight at you right now. I know it’s scary. But living a life of fear is a sure-fire way to live a life that doesn’t fulfil you and makes you miserable.
Take the energy that you have in hating your job and turn it around in to something positive. Use that energy to discover what you want to do with your life, or, if you already know what that is, use the energy to finally go after what it is you want.
You were made for more than living a life where you hate what you do for most of the day. You were made for more than simply hating your job. You were made to be alive! Get out there and live! Go out and find what you want to do with your life, go after it with passion, and start living your life to the full! That’s what you were made for!
And, one last thing to remember that is absolutely crucial: This situation will not fix itself. You must fix it. You can fix it. And you can fix it NOW.
Recap – What to Do if You Hate Your Job
Here are the steps you should take if you hate your job.
- Figure out if you really hate your job.
Or do you just dislike another area of your life that is making you think that? Have you just stopped liking your job temporarily? Could you like it? Do you WANT to like your job?
- If you really do hate it, figure out why you hate your job.
Understanding what you dislike about your job will help you to figure out what you want to do instead.
- Figure out what you want to do instead.
Without knowing what you want to do instead, you could find yourself in another job you dislike. So take some time to find out what drives you, what you enjoy, and what you might want to do instead.
- Get a plan.
Figure out how you are going to get the skills, education, network that you need in order to do what you want to do instead of your current job – whether that is for a new job or your own company.
- Set targets.
Have targets for how much money you need to save in order to leave your job. Figure out what you REALLY need in order to quit. Set targets for any skills, portfolio work, etc, that you need.
- Set a date.
Set a date for when you want to quit by. A date will help focus you.
- Take the leap of faith.
You are ready to quit your job and move on to something that fuels you!
One thing that that I thoroughly recommend doing – especially if you feel lost – is to define yourself. The process of defining yourself – to make a clear statement of who you are and who you want to be – can focus your mind to make decisions in the future that really move you towards your goals.
You may have got to the end of this post and realised you want to go after your dreams, which might not be your current job. If so, this post on whether you should follow your dreams could be useful for you. And this is the post for you if you’re worried it’s too late to go after your dreams.
If you are looking for some quick advice on dealing with regret, I encourage you to check out these best quotes on regret.
If you know you hate your job but you really don’t know what you want to do with your life instead, that post is for you.
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